Photo: Exquisite.

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Baan Don Kaidee porcelain village

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Baan Don Kaidee is proof that a traditional Thai craft can survive and flourish in the modern era. Located 40 kilometres west of Bangkok in Samut Sakhon province, the colourful village offers a homestay and classes along with exquisite Benjarong porcelain wares that are handmade and sold on site.

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The art of porcelain first reached the Ayutthaya kingdom from China around the 15th century. Traditional Chinese nature scenes painted in blue on glossy white wares were popular then and remain so today, but the Thais developed their own designs. The distinctively Thai style most-often practiced in Baan Don Kaidee today is known as Benjarong, or “five colours.”

Tea drank from elephant teapots supposedly bring good health. Photo taken in or around Baan Don Kaidee porcelain village, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

Tea drank from elephant teapots supposedly bring good health. Photo: David Luekens

Using several variations of china made partly from the ashes of cattle bones, the artists paint each piece using only the five primary colours as a base. The village's signature diamond patterns are often painted in sea green to symbolise the province’s sea-faring tradition (one of Thailand’s largest fresh seafood markets is down the road in Mahachai). Complimentary colours, gold leaf and depictions of flowers or animals are often woven into the designs. On the pricier pieces, you may spot detailed scenes of the Buddha giving his first sermon; the Hindu god Ganesha; or Hanuman, the monkey-king from the Ramayana epic, to name a few.

After an artisan finishes the raw design, a clear glaze is applied before the piece is heated in a kiln for 10 hours at 800 degrees Celsius. If properly kept, the brilliant glow and intricate details can remain in tact, without fading, for ... Travelfish members only (Around 500 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
The easiest way to reach Baan Don Kaidee would be to charter a taxi in Bangkok; expect to pay at least 1,000 baht for a return trip. You could also take a train from Wongwian Yai Railway Station (near the same-named BTS station) or minibus from Sai Tai Mai Terminal to Mahachai Market in Samut Sakhon city, then arrange a tuk tuk or motorbike taxi for a roundtrip to Baan Don Kaidee for around 300 to 500 baht (the village is 20 kilometres north of town). Or you could take a songthaew from Mahachai to Krathum Baen and catch a motorbike taxi for a roundtrip from there, but, while cheaper, this option would be tough if you don't speak any Thai

Baan Don Kaidee porcelain village
Soi Thetsaban 4 off Highway 3190 (aka Sukonethawit Rd), south of the Tha Jeen River, Krathum Baen district, Samut Sakhon

Location map for Baan Don Kaidee porcelain village

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