Have you decided to visit Khemmarat for the first time? That is the best idea of your life to get off the beaten track and explore this beautiful village. I am sure many travelers will face this issue when they plan to travel to Khemmarat. The outside world is still not connected to the Khemmarat district of Ubon Ratchathani yet. When you try to Google “Khemmarat,” there is not much information available on the internet. Or should I say you will not be able to find anything at all?
Khemmarat at a Glance
The Khemmarat Community
The Khemmarat district is a small village on its own, located some distance away from the provincial capital city, Ubon Ratchathani. Khemmarat means a happy land situated along the Mekong River. It is a district in Ubon Ratchathani well-known for its dialects and the diversity of Thai culture.
Me and my Thai teammate Ar Lhao
Here are some tips from this Singaporean girl who visited the Khemmarat district for the Thailand Village Academy’s blogging competition. 44 finalists from 17 countries are selected to create travel stories for 22 villages across Thailand. Together with my Thai teammate Ar Lhao, we were in Thailand for 10 days to explore the provincial capital city Ubon Ratchathani and Khemmarat district.
Let me help you with this complete travel guide to Khemmarat, Ubon Ratchathani! In this travel, I will share useful information and tips on how you can plan your trip. This includes “Best Things To Do In Khemmarat,” “Where To Stay,” “What To Eat” and many more.
Best Things To Do in Khemmarat District
1. Learn about Khemmarat's local culture
Thai textiles is a way of life for the people in Thailand and are unique to the Thai culture. One of the primary local produce in Khemmarat is woven fabric and is an integral part of Khemmarat’s culture. You can see many locals wearing Mudmee sarong in their day to day life. Traditional Thai fabrics are beyond fashionable and are famous throughout the world.
Mea Tiw is the lady behind in this picture.
If you like to buy Mudmee sarong, I will recommend visiting Mea Tiw's shop. Mea Tiw has 43 years of experience in the woven fabric business, and she is the best person to talk to if you want to buy Mudmee sarong. Besides, she is well known in the Khemmarat community for her psychic ability. Most of her clients are amazed by her accuracy in predicting their future based on their choice of the sarong.
Steps in making woven fabric
Shopping for Mudmee fabric is a great way to experience a part of "Old Thailand," and since I am here in Khemmarat, I need to buy an authentic set of Mudmee fabric home. There are so many great pieces of Mudmee clothing in Mea Tiw's shop, and it takes me a while to decide what is best for me. Mea Tiw told me that the sarong I have chosen is one of the expensive pieces in her shop. This sarong that I am wearing has a very detailed and complicated design of the Phaya Nāga.
2. Dried Banana
Bananas can be harvested in Thailand year-round. There are many different types of bananas in Thailand, ranging from the small, sweet to large bananas. In Khemmarat’s culture, dried banana (glûay) is the most popular product of the community. The bananas will go through a 5-day food preservation process to make dried bananas before packaging for sale.
We also got behind the scenes with Ma-Ma to find out the banana preservation process. According to Ma-Ma, her homemade dried bananas are also exported to other parts of the world, such as Japan and South Korea. She shared with us that the banana is known as “the fruit of the wise men.” It is an ideal snack with high nutritional values. It costs 20 baht for a small pack of dried banana and 50 baht for a pack of dried banana. The dried banana packaged in a paper bag for export is 40 baht.
"Baai Sri" Tray-Making
Baai Sri Suu Kwan
Khemmarat's Walking Street
There are numerous traditions that the people of Khemmarat still practice today. One of them is “Baai Sri Suu Kwan,” a very famous blessing ceremony in the Khemmarat’s culture. Special guests are paid tribute by the Elders through a uniquely Khemmarat welcome. There is singing, dancing with music in the traditional style while the guests received the sacred threads, or “Sai Sin” as known in Thai from the Elders. The “Sai Sin” is tied to the wrists with blessings from the Elders in this welcoming ceremony. The people of Khemmarat celebrates “Baai Sri Suu Kwan” blessing ceremony on important occasions as well.
Baai Sri Suu Kwan
Janyong's Home Stay
I was very fortunate that we were invited for a traditional "Baai Sri Suu Kwan" welcome ceremony at Janyong's Home Stay. You can read my post "The Khemmarat Ways of Life" to learn about our "Baai Sri Suu Kwan" experience here.
"Baai Sri Suu Kwan" is very important to the people of Khemmarat and plays a significant part in Khemmarat's culture. And of course, we have to learn how to make the "Baai Sri" tray that is used in the blessing ceremony of "Baai Sri Suu Kwan".
Janyong's Home Stay
Ma-Ma and Me with our "Baai Sri" Tray
During my trip to Khemmarat, I call these beautiful ladies of Khemmarat as 妈妈 (Ma-Ma means Mum in English). They treat me like their own, and I feel so much love and warmth from the Ma-Ma. The Ma-Ma say I am like one of them too and I can make beautiful "Baai Sri" Tray. What do you think of my "Baai Sri" Tray? Is my "Baai Sri" Tray S̄wy (means beautiful in Thai)? Your answer can only be Yes!
2. Eat, drink and shop at Khemmarat Walking Street
When I first heard that we would be visiting this Walking Street, I was excited and intrigued. True enough, WOW is the best word to describe how I felt about this walking street. It has got to be the best night market I have visited in my years of travel around the world. If you have a chance to experience the walking street once, you will undoubtedly be impressed and would like to come back again.
The greatest highlight of your visit to Khemmarat Walking Street is the cultural song and dance performances. On every Saturday, the Thai Folk Dancers will gather at Khemmarat Walking Street to give a high dance performance. The dance performance is truly unique to the Khemmarat district of Ubon Ratchathani, and such lively atmosphere can only be found here.
I am so happy to meet all these famous people in the Khemmarat community. Not only that, but I was also able to add them on Facebook. You will be surprised to know that many of the locals are good at using social media. It was such a wonderful experience to see so many visitors coming from all parts of Thailand to eat, drink, and shop at Khemmarat Walking Street.
Ar Lhao, Irene, Guide Nort, Photographer Jean, Photographer Boy and Driver Peb
Support #TeamUbonRatchathani! This beautiful village deserves its attention in the world. Let’s help to promote the Khemmarat District, Ubon Ratchathani together. I hope when you are reading this post, you can help to like and share with your friends. Khemmarat community deserves its attention in the world, and this is the time for Khemmarat to shine. Come and be happy with the Khemmarat community and have lots of fun like us.
Support Khemmarat, Ubon Ratchathani!
Come to Ubon!
My #TheVillageStory Posts on Ubon Ratchathani:
- Let's fall in love with Ubon Ratchathani: https://readme.me/p/25708
- Finding Happiness in Khemmarat: https://readme.me/p/25962
- The Khemmarat Ways of Life: https://readme.me/p/26163
- All Mums of Khemmarat: https://readme.me/p/26271
If you like to read the Thai version of our journey in Ubon Ratchathani, here are my Thai teammate Ar Lhao's posts: