Art of weaving & singing: Tai Lue in northern Thailand (with videos) | Bangkok Post: learning


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Art of weaving & singing: Tai Lue in northern Thailand (with videos)

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Chiang Rai is full of ethnic diversity, including the Tai Lue people, known for their weaving and traditional clothing.

People of the Tai Lue ethnic group living in Chiang Rai, dressed in their colourful traditional dress for festivals.


Art of weaving: Tai Lue in northern Thailand

The Tai Lue (or Tai Lu) are a Tai ethnic group who speak a Tai language, Tai Lue, related to the Thai language. 

Tai Lue are Buddhist like most Thai people are and share many of the same customs and traditions of Thai people such as building pagodas made of sand during Theravadan Buddhist New Years (Songkran).

Tai Lue live in the Golden Triangle area that stretches over many countries from Chiang Hung (or Chiang Rung or Jinghong) in the Sipsong Panna (or สิบสองปันนา or Xishuangbanna) region of Southern Yunnan, to Maesai, Chiang Khong and Chiang Kham in Thailand, to Muang Yawng in Burma and Muang Sing in northern Laos.

As for history, the mother of King Mengrai (1238–1317) the first king of the kingdom of Lanna in Chiang Mai and northern Thailand was a Tai Lue from Chiang Hung. Borders between countries or states did not exist then as they do now. 

For the history of the Tai Lue and Tai in general based on Chinese, Tai and Burmese historical sources see two papers in the SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research: 1. Intra-dynastic and Inter-Tai Conflicts in the Old Kingdom of Moeng Lü in Southern Yunnan by Foon Ming Liew-Herres here and, 2. Crucible of War: Burma and the Ming in the Tai Frontier Zone (1382-1454) by Jon Fernquest here.

Here is the video and transcript of a guided tour through a wonderful little museum in Chiang Khong that gives people a taste of Tai Lue culture. If you are interested in learning more attend one of the Tai Lue festivals in Maesai and especially the annual Tai Lue festival (งานประจำปีไทลื้อ) in Chiang Kham each which is a gathering of Tai Lue from all over Thailand.


Chiang Rai, home to the Tai Lue ethnic group, is well-known for its vibrantly colourful embroidered clothing.

A visit to Si Don Chai Village in Chiang Khong district reveals a history of new clothing and textile traditions, giving you an up-close look at the stunning creations.


The village's Lue Lai Kham museum founded by a local Lue man, gives you an overview of the groups clothing tradition, its history and culture


The Lue people of northern Thailand migrated from Sipsong Panna, a region in southern China, there are at least six big Lue communities in Chiang Rai, they are devoted Buddhists living simple lifestyles in wooden stilt houses and are reknowned for their cotton and silk weaving skills


The second floor exhibits an array of beautiful Lue clothing with .... from cotton flower giving a soft texture which is warm in winter and light in summer. 

There are many designs, flowers, vines, birds, animals, simple geometry and intricate flowing water styles, weaved using tapestry techniques.

Although they no longer wear traditional clothing today, clothing turns into intense competitition during festivals, when Lue ladies can be spotted in black blouses, wraparound skirts of colourful fancy patterns and white head wraps


Cloth weaving and needlework is a necessary skill Lue women must learn from a young age.

The process from planting cotton to completing a woven piece of cloth is often a lifelong task that inspires folk songs and poetry

Once a year, a day before the end of Buddhist Lent, usually in October or November, Lue women will stay up and weave all day and all night. X


At the rear of the property, there is a souvenier shop and a veranda overlooking the unspoiltlandscape. 

For a complete Lue experience you can spend a night or two at the local guesthouse or homestay where you will be accomodated in beautiful guestrooms


Activities like cooking and weaving classes can be arranged for you to learn more about the Lue villages way of life. 

The Si Don Chai Village runs alongside highway 1020 about 13 kilometers south of Chiang Khong district


Weaver using weaving loom to make traditional Tai Lue cloth.

Tai Lue matrons in traditional dress.

The beautiful mountainous and green northern Thai landscape of Chiang Khong in Chiang Rai province.

Tai Lue traditional cloth.

Young Tai Lue women entering the village gate wearing traditional clothes and headdress.

The golden triangle area where Thailand, Burma, Laos, Burma and China come together and where the Tai Lue live.


annual : happening every year - ทุกๆปีด, ประจำปี

array : a group or collection of things or people, often one that is large or impressive - การจัดเรียง, ขบวน

based on (verb): information or facts used to make a story, calculation, judgement or decision - ตั้งอยู่บน,ยึดเป็นหลัก

blouse : a shirt for a woman or girl - เสื้อครึ่งตัวของสตรี

border : the official line separating two areas, regions or countries - เขตแดน อาณาเขต

community : the people living in one particular area - ชุมชน

cotton (noun): a plant grown in warm countries for the soft white hairs around its seeds that are used to make cloth and thread - ฝ้าย, ต้นฝ้าย

creation : the act of making something new - การสร้าง

culture (noun): the customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organization of a particular country or group - วัฒนธรรม

custom : an accepted way of behaving or of doing things in a society or a community - ขนบธรรมเนียม

devote : to spend a lot of time or effort doing something - อุทิศ,สละ,ใส่ใจ

district (noun): an area of a country, town or province, especially one that has particular features - เขต, อำเภอ, บริเวณ, แขวง

embroider : to decorate cloth with a pattern of stitches usually using coloured thread - เย็บปักถักร้อย, ปัก, ปักผ้า

especially : more with one person, thing, etc. than with others, or more in particular circumstances than in others - โดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่ง

ethnic group : a group of people with the same language, culture and history, usually a minority, not the largest group in the country - กลุ่มชาติพันธุ์

exhibit : to put something interesting in a museum or other public place so that people can go and look at it - จัดแสดง

exist : to be real; to be present in a place or situation - มีอยู่

fancy : unusually complicated; intended to impress other people - ไม่ธรรมดา, งดงาม, วิเศษ

festival (noun): an event that is held to celebrate a particular thing or activity - เทศกาล

floor : one "story" or level in a building - ชั้นอาคาร, ชั้นของตึก

flow : (of a liquid) to move continuously in one direction - ไหล

folk song : the old style of music performed by ordinary people in a country or region of a country - ดนตรีพื้นเมือง

found : to start an organization, company, political party etc - สร้าง, ก่อตั้ง, สถาปนา

gathering : a party or a meeting when many people come together as a group - การรวมตัว, การประชุม

geometry (noun): the shapes of things and how they are related - เรขาคณิต

guided tour : a tour of someplace given by a guide who brings you to places and explains them to you -

historical : about history; about events that really happened in the past - เกี่ยวข้องกับการศึกษาประวัติศาสตร์

history (noun): all the events that happened in the past - ประวัติศาสตร์

in general : including the most important aspects of something; not exact or detailed; overall - โดยทั่วไป

inspire : to give people a particular feeling or a desire to do somethng - จุดประกาย

intricate (adj.): having a lot of different parts and small details that fit together - ที่ซับซ้อน, อย่างประณีต

lifelong (adj): lasting or existing all through your life ตลอดชีวิต - ตลอดชีวิต

lifestyle : the type of life that you have, for example the type of job or house you have or the type of activity you like doing - วิถีทางการดำเนินชีวิต, ลีลาชีวิต, รูปแบบการดำเนินชีวิต

local : in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ท้องถิ่น

migrate (verb): to travel to a new place to live temporarily - อพยพ

museum : a building where objects of historical, scientific or artistic interest are kept - พิพิธภัณฑ์

necessary (adj.): essential, needful, something that you must do or have - จำเป็น, ซึ่งเลี่ยงไม่ได้, ซึ่งเป็นที่ต้องการ, สำคัญ

overview : a description or picture of the main features of something - การดูคร่าวๆ, การอธิบายคร่าวๆ

pagoda : a temple in S or E Asia in the form of a tall tower with several levels - เจดีย์

pattern : a regular arrangement of lines, shapes, colours, etc. as a design on material, carpets, etc - ลวดลาย

poetry : a piece of writing using beautiful or unusual language arranged in fixed lines that have a particular beat and often rhyme - บทกวี

process : a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result - แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ

region : a large area of land or space, usually without exact limits or borders - ภูมิภาค, ขอบเขต, แถบ, บริเวณ

reknowned : famous; very well known - มีชื่อเสียง

related (adj): connected with something/somebody; referring to something/somebody - เชื่อมโยงกับ

reveal : to let something become known - เปิดเผย

silk : a type of fine smooth cloth made from silk thread - ผ้าไหม

simple : easy to understand; not complicated - ง่าย,ไม่ยุ่งยาก, ไม่ซับซ้อน

skill : the ability to do something well, usually as a result of experience and training - ฝีมือ, ทักษะ

skirt (verb): to avoid talking about something unpleasant; to avoid having to do something unpleasant - หลีกเลี่ยง

source : a place where information comes from; someone who gives information - แหล่งข่าว

state : country - ประเทศ

stilt (adj): of a set of posts that a house is built on to raise it above the ground or above the level of water - เสาค้ำ

stretch (noun): a continuous area of land or water - บริเวณที่แผ่ขยายไป, บริเวณวงกว้าง

stunning : very impressive or beautiful - สวยตระการตา น่าตะลึง

Tai Lue : a group of Tai people who live in the Golden Triangle area in Southern Yunnan in Chiang Hung and Burma in Muang Yawng and Laos in Muang Singh - ไทลื้อ

task : something that you have to do - งาน, หน้าที่; ภารกิจ

taste : to try something out to see what it is like -

technique : a method of doing something using a special skill that you have developed - เทคนิค, กลวิธี (เฉพาะด้าน)

textile : involved in making woven or knitted cloth - สิ่งทอ, ผ้า

texture : the quality of something that can be decided by touch - เนื้อ

tradition : a very old custom, belief, or story - ประเพณี, ขนบธรรมเนียม

traditional : things (buildings, clothes, music, customs, etc.) that have been part of a country or society for a long time - แบบดั้งเดิม, เป็นประเพณี

transcript : a written or printed copy of words that have been spoken - บันทึก

up-close : very near a person or thing -

vibrantly : lively and exciting - ซึ่งมีชีวิตชีวา

weave : to make cloth, a carpet, a basket, etc. by crossing threads or strips across, over and under each other by hand or on a machine called a loom - ถักทอ

well-known (adj.): famous, everyone knows about it - ซึ่งมีชื่อเสียง, ซึ่งเป็นที่รู้จักกันดี, เป็นที่รู้จัก, เลื่องลือ

wonderful : very good, pleasant or enjoyable - ดีเยี่ยม

wrap : to cover something completely in paper or other material - ห่อ, คลุม

wraparound : tightly fitted around something - ล้อมรอบ


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