Ban Bat Community

The Ban Bat community is the first and only community where the locals still earn a living making monk's alms-bowls.

The alms-bowls from Ban Bat are entirely hand-made following to the monk’s disciplines. This community was founded since the Ayutthaya era which was one of the eras where Buddhism was very prosperous. The villagers in Klong Bart Pra district at Ayutthaya worked as craftsmen who made monk's alms-bowls. After the Ayutthaya city was fell in 1767, they moved to live near the walls of the Rattanakosin city.

Later, King Rama I established Bangkok as the capital city. In 1783, the city plan was revised. Because of the loud noise caused by the making of monk's alms-bowls, the community was then moved to the Main Poon junction, the current location.

Most of the villagers kept making monk's alms-bowls until 1971. A bad luck struck them. The government allowed building factories to produce monk's alms-bowls. The alms-bowls from conveyers were a lot cheaper than theirs. So most of the retail shops changed to buy the alms-bowls from the factories. The only customers left were forest temple monks who were really strict to the disciplines. Many villagers had to quit their job because of insufficient incomes. The hand-made alms-bowls almost disappeared from Thailand.

But then the sky was opened again. In 2001, Chanchai Wamasiri, the director of Pom Prab Sattru Pie district, started to preserve the hand-made alms-bowls by bringing tourists to see the techniques. So he gathered five groups of the alms-bowls makers who are still working till today. Many families open their house to welcome tourists to see how they make alms-bowls. The unique characteristic of Ban Bat’s alms-bowls is they sound like a big bell when being knocked. This sound will always be heard everytime we enter this community. It is like a communal anthem, inviting tourists to find the source and reach this cultural legacy.

Apart from the monk’s alms-bowls, Ban Bat also has a Thai dancer band which was famous when Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram was the prime minister. The villagers in the past also wrote almost 100 Thai dance songs which were patented and published.

The locals of Ban Bat believe a hermit Khon head lives a sacred being that protects the community. At the center of the community, there is a shrine of พ่อปู where everyone pays respect to and arranges an annual ceremony during Songkran’s days.

Important people

Aunt Aree –

If we walk into the community, Aunt Aree will greet us with a friendly smile. She is very diligent because she believes what she is doing is not only for earning a living but also she gets to serve Buddhism everyday.

Aunt Krissana –

The alms-bowls of Aunt Krissana’s shop have exquisite patterns unlike others. Also, Aunt Krissana is a talented storyteller. She loves to tell historical stories of the community. And she is a member of the Ban Bat Thai dancer band.

Uncle Amorn –

He is the most famous alms-bowl maker among the tourists. Everytime someone passes by and stops to look at him while he is working, he always enjoys telling them how to make an alms-bowl. Uncle Amorn know many stories about the communities and he never gets tired of telling them.

P’Pao -

She is another one who inherits the wisdom of making alms-bowls. She also creates pattern paintings on the alms-bowls to make them even more beautiful. Many tourists buy them as souvenirs.

Uncle Lek –

The heart of this middle-aged man is filled with music. Uncle Lek is the drummer of the Ban Bat Thai dancer band that still passes on the cultural legacy to the children in the community. His drum skills are amazing.

P’Ann –

She is a daughter of Aunt Gai. Although she is a new generation, she voluntarily preserves the wisdom of making alms-bowls. P’Ann takes care of management works and arranges the work schedule for the alms-bowl makers.