Welcome to Ban Chiang
Ban Chiang, Thailand – Ban Chiang is known as one of the five UNESCO Heritage sites in Thailand. Located about 600km away from the capital city Bangkok, Ban Chiang is a renowned archaeological site in Nong Han District, Udon Thani Province, Thailand. The village attracted enormous publicity due to its attractive red painted pottery.
I was invited by Thailand Village Academy to visit Ban Chiang Cultural Tourism Community in Udon Thani Province as a travel blogger guest to share my experiences on this blog. The purpose of this showcase trip is to visit the winning village, Ban Chiang Cultural Tourism Community. It was the village that the Foreign national winner Mr. Jian Le Tan represented for during the Thailand Village Academy’s blogging competition. We had an insight into the tourism activities of Ban Chiang, and it was a great opportunity to know more about their daily life. In this travel guide, I have compiled a list of 5 surprising facts to know about this historic village Ban Chiang.
How to get to Ban Chiang
From Bangkok to Ban Chiang, Udon Thani
There are various options to choose from, such as train travel, coach service, or flight. The fastest and easiest option is to take a flight from the capital city of Thailand, Bangkok. Numerous daily flights are operating from Bangkok to Udon Thani. Flights to Udon Thani depart from both Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang Airport and will arrive at Udon Thani International Airport. Flight durations take about 1h 5min. To book seats, check out Nok Air, Asia Asia or Thai Airways. When arriving at Udon Thani International airport, you can then take a taxi to Ban Chiang.
HOME TO ONE OF THE WORLD’S EARLIEST BRONZE AGE CIVILIZATION
Udon Thani is home to one of the world’s earliest bronze-age civilizations, at Ban Chiang. Ban Chiang is a renowned archaeological site in Nong Han District of Udon Thani Province in Thailand. The village is considered as the most important prehistoric settlement that has been discovered in Southeast Asia, which marks a significant stage in human cultural, social, and technological evolution. Furthermore, the village has an interesting story of how its archaeological sites were discovered.
“Oops, I tripped!”
In 1966, a visiting American student named Stephen Young was walking through the village of Ban Chiang. He accidentally tripped over an exposed tree root and fell on top the rim of a clay pot that was partly buried in the village path. He then noticed more pot rims are eroding out of the dirt path. The pots were buff in color with striking designs in red were slowly being exposed to the surface by erosion. His tumble set into motion archaeological expeditions to Ban Chiang and this led to the discovery of Neolithic and Bronze Age culture dating back to 2000 BC.
That amusing “oops” fall leads to the revealing of a lost ancient culture. UNESCO recognized ban Chiang in 1992 as a World Heritage Site for its cultural value. Thailand is home of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and Bang Chiang Archaeological Site is in the list. Does that sound like a great reason to visit Ban Chiang?
Visit Ban Chiang National Museum
If you love history and want to know more about archaeology, you will enjoy a visit to Ban Chiang National Museum. The museum has a vast collection of archaeological artefacts on display which visitors will be able to see the old way of living 5,000 years ago. The museum’s exhibits consist of works from the ancient civilizations with detailed English explanation.
Ban Chiang National Museum is divided into 2 sections. The first section is an opened museum with permanent exhibition that shows the process of excavating the ancient remains under the earth. In the ancient days, most of the earthenware were buried with the corpse.
In the second section, the visitors will learn about the story and culture of Ban Chiang before the historic time. Besides, you can see ancient tools, household items, artefacts, and pottery items which are over 4,000 years old. One of the interesting sights in the museum is the display of 3,000-year-old human skeletons. It is a great learning environment, and I can learn from the information boards like the average life expectancy of human being was only around 30 years during the ancient period.
Tambon Ban Chiang, Amphoe Nong Han, Chang Wat Udon Thani 41320, Thailand
Daily from 8.30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
THB 30 for Thai / THB 150 for foreigners
FASHION GALORE IN BAN CHIANG STYLE
It is my first visit to Ban Chiang and what captivates me is their beautiful traditional blue outfits. Traditional Thai Fabrics are beyond fashionable, and they are the kind of beauty that transcends time. The Ban Chiang community has capitalized on their weaving skills as a source of daily income as well as to keep these art forms alive.
The women of Ban Chiang community proudly brought out their remarkably beautiful pieces of traditional costumes to show us. Each kind of textile differs, from pattern designs to weaving and dyeing techniques. These textiles require a high level of skills and great attention to detail. All the invited guests to the Thailand Village Academy’s Ban Chiang showcase trip got to show off our styling talents and dress up in Thai traditional clothes.
We are so spoilt for choice, and all the outfits look so lovely. I finally decided on this jacket in beautifully soft violet color. The sweet violet jacket looks super chic when paired with my warm pink maxi skirts. The traditional outfit of Ban Chiang community seems to be in indigo-blue. Most of the clothes on display are dominantly blue, but I especially like how versatile the locals are to adapt to the present fashion trends.
The locals are very open-minded to cater to tourists’ taste to have versatility in their designs yet keeping to their own cultural identity. The Thai textiles are also used to produce other fashion accessories or daily necessities such as bags, pouches, purses, and hand towels. One of the best ways to blend in easily with the locals is to dress up like them. Be sure to buy the local textile costume when you are here in Ban Chiang!
GET CREATIVE WITH POTTERY MAKING
Ban Chiang is best known the exquisite pottery discovered in huge quantity amount. The pottery industry is a distinct part of this community’s heritage, and you can find many craft shops in Ban Chiang to buy souvenirs home. Ban Chiang’s pottery has its unique distinctive designs of red and cream swirls to black patterns. The material is also used to create many different types of products.
Get creative and start making your unique pieces with the art of pottery making when you are in Ban Chiang. However, for ladies, before you sink your hands into the clay, it is good to trim your fingernails as short as possible. When throwing on the wheel, your nails will dig into the mud. It was a disastrous moment for my well-manicured nails, but still, I enjoyed myself. I guess that explains my weird expressions.
One reason that makes pottery making fun is that you can create whatever you want. There is nothing more satisfying than making your pottery instead of buying some manufactured work off the shelves. During the DIY workshop, I also had a chance to try painting the pottery in Ban Chiang style. The distinctive characteristics of Ban Chiang pottery are the unique red and cream swirls and black patterns. My painting is nowhere close to the Ban Chiang style. I do not think that I have a flair for the arts, but overall it was still a fun experience.
FLAMBOYANT THAI PHUAN DANCE
When we first arrived at Ban Chiang community, we were welcome with a Thai Phuan dance performance. Some of them play tall-narrow drums, and the musical performance is accompanied by the Thai Phuan dance that Ban Chiang is known. All this is the Thai Phuan’s warm and friendly way of welcoming the visitors. The traditional Thai Phuan dance was first introduced by the Thai Phuan people when they migrated to Ban Chiang many years ago. Thai Phuan dance is defined by their flamboyant and unique hand movements all performed in harmony.
Photo credit: Official Ban Chiang Community Facebook Page
Photo credit: Richard Barrow
Photo credit: Chow Traveller
MARVEL BY THE BEAUTY OF LOTUS TEMPLE, WAT SANTI WANARAM
One of the best tourist attractions of Ban Chiang, you have to see this temple to believe the grandeur, beauty, and elegance of the place. It is the only temple in Thailand that is shaped like a lotus flower floating in the middle of a large lake, making it a unique sight.
Photo credit: Richard Barrow
It is an impressive sight with the lotus-shaped temple standing at a high of 20 meters and has a diameter of 20 meters. It consists of 24 lotus petals. Within the temple, the ordination hall is tranquil and magnificently decorated with murals that follow the story of Buddha. It also has a white Buddha statue prominently installed. You have to look up at the dome ceiling that is rather splendidly grand and beautiful.
Photo credit: Official Ban Chiang Community Facebook Page
The dynamic backdrop of the lotus-shaped temple is an excellent place to capture your picture-worthy moment or for your instagrammable #ootd (outfit of the day). Be more than ready to channel your Instagram goddess self and stir up some travel envy to check in this new hot Instagram location of Ban Chiang.
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