28

Photos: Thailand

sat-market

Have you ever been to a place so amazing that you can almost physically feel your mind being blown?

My first experience of this was moving to New York City when I was barely 18. Coming from a somewhat dreary California suburb, I’d never really experienced the buzzing vivacity of a big city like New York. It felt so completely alive. I was like Dorothy entering the colorful world of oz.

Though I’ve been to many beautiful cities and places since, I don’t think anything has compared to the novelty of that feeling. Not until I arrived in Bangkok.

First, the food. Oh, the food. Many places in the world have great food, but Thailand is like a whole other planet, that’s how advanced their food culture is. There is food everywhere you look, people are eating everywhere you turn, and it is all incredible. We often brag in portland that the food here is great everywhere, even in bars. Bangkok runs laps around all of that. If you follow me on twitter or Instagram, you know how blissed out I was there.

I think food says a lot about a culture. In this case, it seems to reflect a certain warmth, openness, and vivacity. There are hustlers and tricksters, to be sure, but for some reason the city seems to lack a certain meanness of spirit that you find in other big cities. People don’t give you the hairy eyeball when you walk down the street. I’ve never felt such a conscious feeling of not being judged.

The temples astounded me. In the last year or two I have been learning a lot about Buddhism, and specifically practices of Theravada Buddhism, and being able to simply sit in these temples and contemplate the ideas I’ve absorbed felt restorative and strengthening. I can’t tell you how beautiful they are.

I should probably just let my photos do some of the talking.

Bangkok

temple-foo-dog

temple-05

temple-04

temple-03

temple-02

temple-01

pink-bowls

monk-cannon

hotel-rabbit

floral-tile

coconuts

animals-shrine

cat-grass

No one told me there would be these awesome and distinctive cats everywhere! All the kitties in Thailand seemed to be small, wiry, extremely short haired, and often without tails. It was hard to tell which were feral, actually, because they were all so friendly and laid back. They obviously get a lot of food from people.

Chiang Mai

lanterns

I liked Chiang Mai even more than Bangkok.

chiang-mai-sunset

birds

food-market

food

fabric-piles

fabric-neon

fabric-purchases

The markets in Chiang Mai were absolutely incredible, and where I bought all of my fabric souvenirs. The fabric on top is probably my favorite, four meters of a gorgeous hand woven cotton-silk ikat. If I had more room in my suitcase, I would have brought home enough for a whole fabric store, that’s how much selection there was.

Like what you read here? Subscribe to our blog via email so you don’t skip a stitch! And sign up for our weekly Snippets email for even more sewing tips and tricks.

On , Agneta said: | mrsbaoblog.blogspot.com

Asia is great isn’t it?! :D
I’ve been living in Taiwan for more than 6 years now, I absolutely LOVE IT! :D I’ve also been to Hong Kong many times and we even have a house in Thailand, but Taiwan is my favorite place in Asia. I would be happy to invite you to come here and if so, I would really enjoy showing you the 2 big fabric markets here in Taipei. :D

/Agneta

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Oh, thank you! I hope to take you up on that! There are numerous places I want to go in Asia that would make a trip to Taiwan pretty easy, I imagine (Japan, Shanghai, and seeing more of southeast Asia). Other than Australia, all my top choices are in Asia right now.

On , Agneta said: | mrsbaoblog.blogspot.com

yes you should! :) and while in Taipei I’d be happy to have you stay in our home, but there are so many other places to discover in Taiwan with such a beautiful nature and absolutely wonderful people, it’s so safe that people can leave their handbag at a coffee shop while going to the bathroom, what’s not to love about these friendly people? :)

On , Sewing Sveta said: | sewingsveta.blogspot.com

So bright pictures!!

On , Gem said: | typegemsy.com

What gorgeous photos! I was born in Thailand even though I’ve lived in Canada almost my entire life, I still miss Thailand every so often… and not just because the food is so delicious! A trip every few years isn’t enough! Actually my parents recently moved back to Thailand and I was lucky enough to have them send me some silk from Chiang Mai to sew my own wedding dress this past summer.

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

That’s wonderful! I kept thinking how many of the silks would make incredible wedding dresses.

I forgot to mention that we also visited Queen Sirikit’s textile museum and saw many of her gorgeous outfits. It was fascinating, the way she fused traditional textiles and modes of dress with a very high fashion European aesthetic. The dresses by Balmain were just incredible!

Anyway, it made me think how beautifully these textiles marry with different dress styles!

On , Lynn said: | americanagefashion.com

You have a wonderful eye! I really loved the photos…and of course the fabric.

On , Helen Made said: | helenssewingadventures.blogspot.co.uk

Wow amazing photos. Asia is definitely on my list of places to go now!

On , Corinne said: | sewtopia.blogspot.com

Breathtaking, exotic, ethereal. What a wonderful experience. Thanks for sharing these photo’s. Is there an Asian influence if pattern or fabric in your future?

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I mentioned this in my comment to Gem above, but I found Queen Sirikit’s wardrobe at the textile museum hugely inspiring! 1960s high fashion mixed with ornate Thai textiles, which I’m sure had tremendous influence on the whole “exotic” look that became so popular in the west in that era.

On , Ginger said: | gingermakes.wordpress.com

Oh my gosh, that fabric is amazing!

On , MB@YarnUiPhoneApp said:

Gosh, that fabric looks amazing. I think I should get some ikat fabric in my life if only to make a pair of stylish shorts like I’ve seen in Lucky Magazine. Are you sure you couldn’t have shipped some of your finds back? I know that’s what I would have done…..if it was affordable.

On , Maggie said: | stitch-n-thyme.blogspot.com

Everything looks so lively and vibrant! And that fabric is beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

On , christine said: | christinehaynes.blogspot.com

Absolutely amazing and overwhelming! Thanks for sharing Sarai!

On , Teresa said: | crinkledreams.com

Southeast Asia is mind-blowing, for sure. Living in Vietnam for a few months completely changed my view on everything. I was lucky enough to spend some time traveling through Thailand, Malaysia, China and Hong Kong, with my mind being blown in each country, each city. Love, love, loved it. Glad you went and that you shared the pics. Absolutely beautiful, Sarai!

On , Vicki said: | anothersewingscientist.blogspot.com

I have the exact same blue ikat fabric, but I had it made into a wrap skirt in Laos. I don’t wear it as much now, so I’m thinking about refashioning something from the beautiful fabric. I’m sure you must have had a wonderful time – how could anyone NOT love Thailand?! Did you get a chance to try kanom krok (cocoanut pancakes sold on the street)?

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

YES! I’ve had them many times before (when we lived in Berkeley, there is a Thai temple that does a huge brunch on Sundays), so we looked for them everywhere we went. Finally found some in Chiang Mai and bought several even though we were stuffed from dinner!

On , Mugsy said:

Wow. Just…wow! :)

On , Carie said: | spaceforthebutterflies.blogspot.com

Oh wow! What gorgeous photos – I love the wall tiles in Bangkok, and the fabric is just stunning.

On , Qui Pardue said: | thegarmentfarmer.wordpress.com

Lovely photos Sarai, and the fabric is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.

On , Amanda said: | symondezyn.wordpress.com

Those photos are so surreal – having never been outside of North America, I long and dream of when I can experience such exotic places firsthand. I can only imagine how amazing it must have been!! The fabrics in particular are awe-inspiring… even in a photo you can really tell how luxurious a hand they have :) Thank you for sharing your experiences :)

On , Tina said: | vintagelovingal.wordpress.com

Wow! I have always wanted to travel to Thailand & these photos make me even more anxious to see it for myself. Your photos are really great, the colors & textures you captured are magical.

On , Anne Howe said: | downshiftingpath.blogspot.co.uk

Sarai can see how they city and all its colour would act as inspiration. Wonder what you will create out of the lovely fabrics.

On , Belinda said: | turquoisepolkadots.com

It looks like you had a blast on your holidays! Thailand is on my bucket list and you’ve inspired me to move it up the list. Your fabric purchases are gorgeous – can’t wait to see what they become :)

On , Madeleine said: | ragstocouture.com

My god. THE FABRIC!!!

Beautiful photos too!

On , Caramia said: | caramia-ill.blogspot.ca

Ahhhh looks amazing! I can’t believe those fabrics…. ugghhhhhh I wanna go there sooooo bad! Looks like you guys had a great trip! Hope 2013 treats you well!

On , Cara said:

I love your photos and I love Chiang Mai too. It has a cooler climate and it’s not as bustling as Bangkok.

On , kbrosews said:

Glad you enjoyed Thailand. I bought over 50 yards of fabric in Chaing Mai – and have cut none of it. So silly, but I love having it. One of my goals this year is to finally make something after 10 years. My brother works about an hour out of Bangkok and we are visiting him this year so maybe I’ll have more comfort that I can get more!
Visited the same brother in Taiwan 3 years ago and I must say that Taiwan is wonderful! Taipei is incredible – bought fabric there but have acutally ussed it already. You may have had this in Thailand, but many Taiwanese people will want to try out their english on you. So much fun and you meet so many wonderful people. He lived in a smaller town outside of Kaiushung (sp?) and we were a real novelty – one time I stopped traffic while downtown talking to my husband on the phone. He asked me what the ruckus was and it was people slowing down to stare at me. It’s the blonde hair according to my sister in law, who is from there. We stayed with her dad on the trip.
Got to spend 4 days alone in Hong Kong on the same trip and I enjoyed every minute. Spent an entire day looking at fabric and didn’t have to worry about anyone being bored.
I love visiting that area – so exotic, food is fab, I feel safe and everything is just so darn interesting. Am so glad you loved it too!!

We’re sorry, comments for this post have been closed.