Sunday, January 10, 2010

Phum Riang silk village

Phum Riang in Chaiya district, northern Surat Thani province, is a small Muslim fishing town, which however is famous for the hand-woven silk products. Like many me, shopping for handicrafts, especially textiles, isn't my favorite kind of activity, but when we went to the main shop in the town last time after a short look around my mother-in-law led to the back exit of the shop right into the working area of the weavers.

Since it was on the day after Songkhran, only very few workers were there, so I could look around without worrying to disturb them by my curious looks, photography or by simply standing in the way. Still I could see the dyeing of the silk, the rolling-up of the freshly dyed silk, as well as one loom in action weaving some clothes. Yet since it was very tightly packed in there it was not easy to catch the loom on photo.

As we had to travel there on Songkhran - in evening my mother-in-law had her annual school reunion nearby - and therefore the main street was full of the youth playing with water, thus I did not dare to stroll around the town for other sights to keep my camera dry. Which is actually a pity as Phum Riang is quite a significant town despite its present remoteness. Phum Riang was the seat of the province Chaiya, before it was merged with Kanchanadit in 1899 and the seat was moved to Bandon, the present day city of Surat Thani. When the railway was built, the new settlement Talat Chaiya was built. I am not sure which year the district administration moved from Phum Riang to Talat Chaiya, but today the only office left in Phum Riang is the municipality administration.

I doubt any of the old administrative buildings still survive after about 100 years, but at least the historical temples still are on my list of places to visit when I return there next time.

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