A Cotton Safari to Pasang

Botique in Ban Daun Lueng.
Within the township of Pasang, you find Ban Daun Lueng, a village filled with cotton shops and botiques. The perfect destination for a cotton safari and it’s only 45 minutes from Chiang Mai. The store above is one of dozens you’ll find here.

In Northern Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai and Lamphun provinces, cotton is king.

Yes, there is top-quality brocaded Thai silk being woven in Lamphun, but overwhelmingly when you hear the clacking of old wooden looms in the North, it’s cotton fabrics being produced.

Jadee-Cotton
Cotton is king! One of my favorite shops is Jaydee Cotton. Don’t forget to bring your curtain measurements. You choose the fabrics and they’ll make your curtains.

There is no better place to shop for quality cotton fabrics and apparel than in the town of Pasang. Pasang, located in Lamphun Province, lies about 35 kilometers southeast of Chiang Mai and has a long tradition of cotton weaving.  In fact when you shop in Chiang Mai at the big tourist markets such the Night Bazaar, Thanon Kon Durn (Walking Steet Market) or Anasorn Market, most of the cottonwear sold by the vendors was woven and made in and around Pasang.

Ban Daun Luang Cotton Shop
The shops are tucked away on most of the village streets. Way better selection and prices than in Chiang Mai. The general fashion sense in the village is “boho hip” with a little (or a lot) of Hill Tribe style thrown in.

 

The Cotton-Craft Village of Ban Daun Luang

Ban Daun Luang
This road leads to the cotton-craft village about a half mile down. This gate is easily visible from the main highway (HWY 106) and is your marker for finding Ban Daun Luang

Within the township of Pasang at its southern end, there is Ban Daun Luang which has now become the center of cotton weaving and apparel making in the area.

Here you’ll find dozens of small and medium size stores that sell not only Thai-style apparel such as shirts, skirts, sarongs, scarves, pants, jackets and hats, but also rugs, placemats, pillows, curtains, pillow covers, bedspreads, mats, purses, handbags and just about anything else that can be made from cotton.

Boon Muang Cotton Botique
Boon Muang Cotton Botique is one of the oldest stores in the village. I’ve been coming here for over 17 years. Until a few years ago, only the locals knew of this village and its great shopping. Now word is getting all around Thailand.

The clothing botiques you’ll find by strolling through Ban Daun Luang are just the tip of the iceberg. These establishments are also wholesale manufacturing businesses with most of their products being shipped to Chiang Mai, Bangkok and the southern beach cities to sell to the tourist trade. If you go to Phuket and buy a “Hill Tribe” style purse or a pair of fisherman pants, the odds are very high that it was made in or around this tiny little village.

Storefront in Ban Daun Luang
Assorted sarong and other Siamese apparel on display.

The Village Weavers

Ban Daun Lueng Weaver
This Daun Lueng weaver is producing the fabric from which Buddhist monks robes and satchels (yahms) will be made.

In back of the botiques and stores, out of view of customers, you’ll often find women weaving cotton on old wooden looms. You may have to ask the botique owner if there is any weaving going on that you can see and they’ll readily take you back to the looms.

Cotton weaving in Pasang, Thailand
The weavers often work in back of the stores or at home. They don’t mind at all if you take a close-up look at their work.
Handwoven Shirts at Ban Daun Luang
Shirts hang from the looms they were woven on. How cool is that!

An experienced weaver producing a simple fabric (no brocades or complicated pattern) can produce 8-12 meters per day. Their shuttles (a device that carries the horizontal thread across the fabric) can be a blur as it moves so quickly across the fabric.

Don’t be shy about approaching their looms for a close look. The weavers are proud of their traditions and skill, and are happy that you’re interested in their work.

Prices

dng_17
A small pillow shop along the main road through Ban Daun Luang. The store owner was selling this style pillow for 100 bt./ea. (Thats about $2.80/ea.)

Selection and prices are phenominal! Prices can be 50% lower than what you’d find at the Chiang Mai street markets and the selection is much better. You’re shopping at the source. Bargaining is expected. Be prepared to pay the “farang price.” (To learn more about “farang prices”, please read my blog entry here.)

Getting There

Map of Ban Daun Lueng near Pasang, Thailand
Ban Daun Luang is adjacent to the old Lamphun-Pasang Rd. (HWY 106 south from Lamphun City) It’s about a 45 minute drive from Chiang Mai.

It’s about a 45 minute drive from Chiang Mai to Pasang. The best and easiest way is to hire a driver for the day from Chiang Mai. They will know how to get to Pasang and may even know where this small village is located. A few tour operators have day trips to Lamphun and Pasang and these often will go to Ban Daun Luang. (Tour buses have started showing up at the village on weekends, so you know it’s becoming well known.)

From Chiang Mai: Take Highway 11 (a major freeway) south to Lamphun. Take HWY 1147 west into Lamphun City (You are now in Lamphun Province.) HWY 1147 will intersect with HWY 106 which is the old Lamphun-Pasang Road. Take HWY 106 south to Pasang. You will pass through Pasang, but keep going. Just before you come to a major intersection with HWY 116, you’ll arrive at the entrance to Ban Daun Luang on the right side of the road. This entrance is about 50 meters from the intersection with HWY 116 and is marked by a very large arch which spans the small paved road. (See photos of this entry-way marker!) Proceed down this road for a half mile and you’ll begin to see botiques and shops appear on both sides of the road. You’ve arrived. The area is honeycombed with shops, so just start exploring the village.

Personal Note

My wife and I live part of the year in Pasang. My wife was born and raised here and we live in the old family home her father built. Pasang puts on a wild Songkran festival in April.

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