Pottery studios, shops and museums line the streets of Dan Kwian, a rural town set along the Moon River some 20 kilometres southeast of Khorat city.
Harvested from the Moon, the clay used here turns to a distinctive rusty orange-red after being fired in the kilns.
Long ago, members of the Kha ethnic minority group from the Mekong River basin noticed the potential value of the clay and taught the local people how to shape and fire it into all sorts of ceramic vessels, tiles and ornaments. Dan Kwian became an important stop for merchants who loaded up on ceramic wares to be sold for profit in Ayutthaya or the Khmer cities.
Whereas many other ceramics production centres faded centuries ago, Dan Kwian has stood the test of time. Visitors can watch potters working their wooden wheels before browsing an immense array of pieces for sale. Many items are kitschy and disappointing, but poke around and you’ll find some impressive larger vases along with detailed reliefs and tiles used in temple decoration. This is also a great place to pick up a clay mortar and pestle for making som tam.
The small Dan Kwian Museum displays antique ceramics along with old ox carts and farm equipment. A homestay is also available if you love pottery and are taken with the small town vibe. If you have a vehicle, it’s relatively easy to hit Dan Kwian on the same day as Pak Thong Chai.
How to get there
Dan Kwian is located 20 km southeast of Khorat city off Highway 224. Buses depart frequently from Bus Terminal 2 in Khorat. Expect to pay around 400 baht round trip for a taxi or tuk tuk.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 7th September, 2016.