Twenty-years ago, I never would have thought that I’d be considered an expert in Thai fabrics and pillows. But twenty-years ago, I had yet to meet my Thai wife, Jenny. We were married at Wat Thai here in Los Angeles, and so my abrupt learning curve about Thai culture began. Later, we started our business, House of Thailand.
We travel often throughout Thailand going on “fabric safaris” and travelling to the Pillowmaking Village to oversee the making of our pillows and mats. I work and deal with Thai people and their culture everyday, whether in the U.S. or here in Thailand. Over the years, I’ve seen Thailand change. It’s economy has grown and Thai people are now very much influenced with Western ways. But the “old Thailand” can still be found. I call it “Old Siam”.
What is “Old Siam”? It can be a 100-year old Thai house that people still live in; a traditional lunch or dinner; an old wooden loom still being used to produce the finest silk fabrics; the ruins of an ancient temple; an old-style Songkran Festival; a forgotten country path that leads to an old wat. The list is endless.
Most people choose not to see Old Siam and prefer the non-stop cavorting of Bangkok or Pattaya. My experience is mostly with rural, traditional Thailand, although I do business and stay frequently in Chiang Mai and Bangkok.
My wife and our business have allowed me (a farang) to “pierce the cultural veil” and peek into traditional Thai life. This blog is a view into simple, Thai life. If you’ve never been to Thailand, this blog is an excellent primer if traditional Thai culture interests you. If you’re a seasoned Thai traveller, we can compare notes. (Any and all imput appreciated) So come along if you like, and I’ll help you find Old Siam.