Local Crafts and Products

handicrafts - nipa palm weaving

Handicraft cooperatives

After the devastating tsunami of December 2004, many villagers established handicraft cooperatives to provide supplementary income and to aid their economic recovery. Many of the women members were widowed by the tsunami, and found comfort and support in the close-knit cooperatives. New skills and opportunities improved confidence and gave hope in times of need.

You can join handicraft groups for an interactive workshop in Ban Talae Nok and Muang Kluang, and you can visit sarong weaving groups in Ton Kloy and Ban Na.

handicrafts - batik making

Ban Talae Nok Batik and Herbal Soap Cooperatives

handicrafts - soap making

Many of the women in Ban Talae Nok village were left widowed by the tsunami. To provide vital income and a support network, the ladies started the Ban Talae Nok Tsunami Soap Cooperative with the assistance of several national and International aid NGOs. After months of training and development, the ladies started to produce fragrant handmade soaps made from cinnamon, lemongrass, saffron, and cloves. The soaps come in a variety of shapes and sizes; some beautifully presented in polished coconut shells and are available direct from the villagers or via Thai Craft, a fair trade organization based in Bangkok.

After the success of the soap group, some members decided to expand into making Batik. After successful application for funding, the group set up a small work shop space in each of their homes, so that they could continue to care for their children in the comfort of their own home. The highly-gifted ladies draw intricate designs onto cotton, which can then be made into sarongs, handkerchiefs, bags and clothes. Batik products are available direct from the group.

It is also possible to join the batik and soap groups for an interactive workshop.

Contact: Ladda Ardharn (Pink)
Telephone: +66 (0) 83 643 4220

Bak Jok Moken Boat Group

handicrafts moken boat group

The village of Bak Jok was completely destroyed after the tsunami and many residents had to relocate to the mainland while their homes were rebuilt. Many had lost their boats, and had no immediate source of income to provide for their families who survived the wave. North Andaman Tsunami Relief (NATR) asked a few of the villagers to make replica Moken Sea Gypsy boats as a thank you to their key donors. The intricate wooden model boats gained a lot of interest and the men decided to form a group making the model boats. Boats can be made to order and are available via Andaman Discoveries.

Contact: Thamrong Chompusri (Tui)
Telephone: +66 (0) 87 917 7165

Pak Triam Tie Dye Cooperative

The village of Pak Triam was located on a sandy peninsula that was split in two by the tsunami of 2004. The whole village was relocated to the mainland with the assistance of an International aid organisation. Part of their recovery package included training in the art of "Matyom" (tie dye), a centuries old traditional Thai craft. With continued development support from individuals, the group began to produce high quality garments using natural dyes made from mangosteen fruit and local flowers. Sarongs, bags, baby slings and shawls can be purchased directly from the village. Items can be made to order according to your preference. It is possible to participate in an interactive workshop to learn about the group and the tie dye process.

Contact: Rohkeema Tohpoh (Gee)
Telephone: +66 (0) 87 277 1160

Koh Surin Moken Sea Gypsy Handicrafts

handicrafts - moken crafts

Moken men are highly-skilled artisans and handcraft traditional Moken "Kabang" houseboat models. The women of the community hand weave beautiful baskets, cases and mats from pandanus leaves found on the island. Natural dyes create vibrant pinks, purples and greens, making these items an ideal lightweight gift to take home. The Moken products are available direct from the villagers or at the National park Head Quarters on the island. Purchasing Moken handicrafts are an ideal way to help the Moken, much better than giving money directly which may encourage begging.

Muang Kluang - Basket Weaving and Scarf Knitting Groups

handicrafts basket weaving

Thailand artisans are renowned for their weaving skills, creating beautiful baskets, mats and containers from reeds and palm leaves. The Muang Kluang Basket Weaving Group are no exception, creating durable yet visually appealing items from locally sourced materials. It is also possible to join the ladies for an interactive workshop in the art of weaving.

Many Muslim women wear knitted and crocheted hats and headbands while at home or underneath their beautiful headscarves. The Muang Kluang Scarf Knitting Group hand knit headbands and scarves for sale in the village and at national craft fairs. These items are available in a variety of patterns and colours, and make an ideal gift for somebody back home. You can join the ladies to learn how to knit and try your hand at making your own headscarf, in an interactive workshop, under the careful instruction of the ladies.

Contact: Wilawan Sebsabay (Jo Jo)
Telephone: 66 (0) 89 287 0471, 66 (0) 77 842 117