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 Pha Khao Ma, also known as the loincloth 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 will like to buy Pha Khao Ma, I will recommend visiting Mea Tiw’s shop. She has 43 years of experience in the woven fabric business, and she is the best person to talk to if you want to buy Pha Khao Ma. She is known for her psychic ability to predict the future of her clients based on their choice of loincloth.
Steps in making woven fabric
I was told by Mea Tiw that this Pha Khao Ma I have chosen is one of the most expensive clothing in her shop. This loincloth that I am wearing has a very detailed and complicated design of the Phaya Naga. Nāga is a mythical serpent-like creature, believed by locals to live in the Mekong river. Just what or who are these bewildering creatures? Let’s try to get a cultural grasp on these serpent-like creatures. Thai folklore believes the Phaya Naga to be semi-divine, demi-creatures to possess supernatural powers. Particularly in northeastern Thailand, where Khemmarat district is situated, many people believe that the Nāga is responsible for the unnatural occurrences in the rivers.
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 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 Khemarat Walking Street
To be honest, the first time when I heard that we will be visiting Khemmarat Walking Street. I was thinking like, “Is this going to be another “blah” night market? Or is Khemmarat Walking Street going to be interesting”?”
WOW is the best word to describe Khemmarat Street. It must be the best walking street I have ever visited during my years of travel around the globe. I am not kidding, and I shall let the photographs do the talking.
I am so happy to meet all the famous people in the Khemmarat community at Khemmarat Walking District. It was such an eye-opening experience to see so many visitors coming from all parts of Thailand to eat, drink, and shop at Khemarat 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: