Klong Thom Art Museum

Klong Thom Art Museum

Around 5,000 years ago, the Krabi region was just beginning to be settled. It was a burgeoning place, closed off from the outside world. There was no "Thailand" as we know it today - tiny camps or small villages were scattered throughout the region.

Because the region is rich in mineral resources, numerous semi-precious stones have been found throughout the area, and each village has generally been gifted with several different kinds of gems found nearby. Different regions will always use what they have at their disposal and turn these things into art.

Klong Thom Art Museum

Most of what people made from these stones were different forms of beads, and each part of the region had its own particular shapes and designs based on what could be found in that region.

As trade became easier and tribes began to move from place to place or traders themselves traveled throughout the region, beads from one region began to be used as currency.

In Klong Thom, where the soil is full of sulfur and calcium carbonate, beads were studied and created the most. Those beads were often transported through the region, and many of them were found in the river bed in the Klong Thom area of Krabi, as this is a mineral-rich region of Krabi.

As time passed, the region changed, and beads as a form of currency were abandoned in favor of more modern metal monetary currency. Beads were set aside and their creation as a craft became a lost art.

It was not until the late 1900s that the riverbed around Klong Thom became an excavation site for archaeological purposes. Before that time, locals knew about the beads and that many ornaments had been buried in and around the riverbed, but they thought they should be left in place because of superstitious fears. Once government officials began excavating the region, they found beads of all varieties, made from a wide range of materials such as bone, glass, wood, claw, gold and silver.

Klong Thom Art Museum

This has led archaeologists to believe that it was not only a jewelry producing region but also a trading port. Given the province's proximity to India, the straits of Malacca and China, and judging from other artifacts found in these archaeological excavations, it is widely believed that Klong Thom played an important role on the sea trade routes Europe-China.

Nowadays, Klong Thom is home to popular tourist attractions like the Emerald Pool or the hot springs, but did you know that it also has its own museum, the Klong Thom Museum? in 1982, the monk Arthornsangvorrakit began collecting all the beads he could get his hands on and displaying them in his home at Klong Thom Temple for the locals to see.

Gradually, thanks to donations from local authorities and individuals, there was enough money to improve the temple and museum. In 2006, with the help of the mayor of Klong Thom, Piriya Srisuksomvong, and Arthornsangvorakit itself, the Klong Thom temple (Wat Klong Thom) was fully restored and opened as an official museum with beads and other historical relics found in the region.

The temple is an impressive sight, as well as a quick but informative way to learn about the history of our region.

If you are interested in visiting Klong Thom Temple, you can find it on Google Maps or simply follow Route 4 towards Koh Lanta - just after the hot springs and Emerald Pool you will see the striking temple on the left side of the road.

Phone: 075-622-163
Opening hours: daily from 08:30 to 12:00, from 13:00 to 16:30.
Closed on Wednesdays.

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