Ban Phai, Isan

 Ban Phai (55 km from Khon-Kaen)


This time, we take a little tour in a small corner of the countryside of the great Isan country.
When I stay in the region, Ban Phai, a small town located 50km south of Khon Kaen, is a place where I often go because it is the place where people come to shop and shop.

I like to cross the very local market, rich in colours and smells, and the atmosphere is very typical.
Welcoming and friendly, the people we meet here are always interested in foreigners and as soon as they can, they try to exchange some impressions: they like to know where you come from, what you do, if you love their country, their food... many questions often cannot be avoided, but their joy is often multiplied when I try to exchange a few sentences in Thai to their great surprise.

Walking through the rice fields, contemplating these green landscapes, crossing paths with one or the other farmer, taking a look at the buffalos as they are called here, are always very pleasant moments, as are crossing the small village where I have been going regularly for years, seeing people "tinkering" with objects or even making silk under their house.

Located about 450 kilometers northeast of Bangkok, the Khon-Kaen region in Isan country is a vast flat country, with many rice fields...

Typical and traditional landscape in the Isan country... large green areas often as far as the eye can see.

Water, water... rice is very demanding...







In Ban Phai, (50 km south of Khon Kaen) the tuk tuk,
as everywhere in Thailand are there, ready to take you wherever you want.

Aesthetically, they have nothing to do with it, neither far nor near,
with those of Phuket or Bangkok....

One of the main streets of Ban Phai, where the sellers stand....



















Traditional images of a deep Thai market, the real one....

The inside of a small hall... quite messy, quite thorough,
with all the smells that a market can have....





This is the kind of smile you deserve when you get closer....
If the language barrier often represents a certain handicap...
the smile is universal and does not need an interpreter.

Back to the small peaceful village, which is 20 kilometers from Ban Phai....



Small sandy alleys, clean and quiet.

Some of them "work" on bamboo to make baskets... that they will sell to Ban Phai

Others take care of the farm animals...

... and then, the silk!
The silkworm caterpillar is very well worked in these small villages.
First, we feed him...

Ces chenilles de vers à soie, sont âgés de 20 jours environ

The next stage is the transformation into a cocoon....

A little later, the cocoons are "smothered" in boiling water

The chrysalis must be killed without damaging the cocoon.
To find the end of each yarn, the cocoons are constantly stirred with a piece of bamboo.

It is quite simply the artisanal manufacture of local silk.

In very hot water again, the silk yarn will be dyed,
in order to be able to create coloured fabrics.



Drying of the silk for a few hours... before going to weaving

Patiently, for hours, we'll hang little pieces of paper,
and then re-soak in dye broths

Most of the houses in these small villages are on stilts....
and the looms are underneath, in the shade, in the middle of chickens, dogs...

And always with a smile and a joie de vivre!

The final stage: we cut the pieces that have different patterns... we roll them...
then head to the Ban Phai market to try to sell them...

Meanwhile, children on school holidays take the opportunity to walk around.
A good little ice cream in the water in these hot weather, it's always nice....











Paysage familier... les routes encombrées en fin de journée par des troupeaux qui regagnent leur ferme...



This is one of the aspects of Thailand that I like.
I will not be able to live there full time, I admit, but to visit it, from time to time gives me a certain pleasure, far from the stress, noise and pollution of big cities.
I love Phuket...... for its climate, for its beaches and its paradisiacal islands lost in the middle of nowhere... but Phuket is not the real Thailand.... 
The real Thailand is up there in the north!
So if one day you really want to dive into deep Thailand, go to Khon-Kaen, Udon Thani, Chiang Mai.