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 in a Buddhist wedding (I have no idea at what point in the ceremony we were pronounced “man & wife”.) and so my abrupt learning curve about Thai culture began. Later, we started our Thai pillow business, House of Thailand.
I travel often throughout Thailand searching for fabrics for our Thai pillows. I go to the Pillowmaking Village in rural Isaan (Northeast Thailand) 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. Thai pillows and Thai culture are inextricably linked. You can’t make Thai pillows without knowing Thai people and their culture.
Thai pillows have been made for hundreds if not a thousand years. They are a direct link to a time long past.
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 tourists never see Old Siam, even though they may walk right-bye. 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. If you’re looking for the hottest, new Bangkok bar, happy hunting, but you’ve come to the wrong blog. If you want inside info on bar girls of Pattaya, well, you probably already know more than I do.
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 input appreciated) So come along if you like on this cultural journey, and I’ll help you find Old Siam.