Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Public Organization)

10 Creative Tourism Routes – Learning the Cultural Heritage of Southern Esan

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          Creative tourism routes focusing on the cultural heritage of Southern Esan reflects the traditional lifestyle of each region, providing opportunities for preservation and sustainable development.

          Cultural roots are accurate reflections of each ethnic group’s identity. Each region of Thailand is characterized by unique traditional, cultural, and local skill heritages preserved throughout the generations. The Southern Esan region consists of Nakhon Ratchasima, Surin, Buriram, and Sisaket provinces. These provinces consist of unique cultural identities, such as arts, performances, handicrafts, and folk games. All of these features accumulate to become priceless, intangible cultural heritages of the nation.

Understanding the Definition of Intangible Cultural Heritage

          The term “Intangible Cultural Heritage” became prominent in the arts and culture industry when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) supported 40 sections of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage on 17 October 2003 at Paris, France. The Cabinet also approved Thailand’s membership in the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Cultural Heritage Support and Preservation Act (2010) was implemented and officially announced in the Royal Thai Government Gazette (133rd edition, Chapter 19A) on 1 March 2010. Section 4 of the Cultural Heritage Support and Preservation Act (2010) states that cultural heritage receiving protection under the act must possess one or more of the following characteristics:

          1. Folklore and Language
          2. Performances
          3. Social Traditions, Ceremonies, and Festivals
          4. Knowledge and Guidelines pertaining to Nature and the Universe
          5. Traditional Craftsmanship
          6. Folk Games, Sports, and Martial Arts
          7. Other Characteristics according to the Ministry’s Regulations

Creative Tourism Routes focusing on the Cultural Heritage of Southern Esan

          The Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Public Organization), or DASTA, values the importance of cultural heritage. The organization perceives the richness of cultural heritage in Southern Esan, disseminated throughout the generations. To support the sustainable development of the region’s cultural heritage, DASTA and related organizations underscored the following 10 creative tourism activities of Southern Esan:

          1. Korat Song Performance, Muang District, Nakhon Ratchasima Province: Learn about the traditional Korat Song at Sala Loi Temple, which holds the urn of national heroine Thao Suranari. Workshop participants will enjoy wearing the ancient Thai “Jong Kraben,” or tucked loincloth. The instructors will teach the basic principles of singing the Korat Song in the traditional dialect. After several rehearsals, participants will be able to dance and sing the Korat Song on stage.

          2. The “Thousand-Year Ram-Tone” Performance at Ban Makah, Muang District, Nakhon Ratchasima Province: Participants can enjoy learning how to play the Tone (rhythmic instrument) and perform the dance. The workshop is followed by a tour of the majestic Prasat Phanom Wan is in Ban Makha, Muang district, Nakhon Ratchasima province.

          3. Dan Kwian Pottery Village, Ban Dan Kwian, Chok Chai District, Nakhon Ratchasima Province: Learn how to craft Dan Kwian pottery starting at clay preparation, sculpting, and firing clay. Participants will have the opportunity to craft their very own pottery.

          4. Pha Phu Akkanee, Ban Charoen Suk, Chalerm Prakiat District, Buriram Province: Workshop participants can enjoy learning how to use natural materials, such as volcanic soil, to dye cloths with lasting colors. Participants will learn how to use leaves and tree bark to create various cloth colors – eventually making their very own tie-dye as souvenirs.

          5. Hang Krarok Silk Workshop, Ban Sanuan Nok, Huai Raj District, Buriram Province: Enjoy a tour around Ban Sanuan Nok Community, followed by a workshop on raising mulberry trees and silkworms. Visitors will learn how to extract and weave silk into clothing products. Moreover, visitors will learn how to make accessories from silk with intertwined colors, such as earrings and necklaces.

          6. Thai Massage at Ban Kok Yai – Khao Kradong, Muang District, Buriram Province: Visitors will learn about various types of herbs at the garden before soaking their hands and feet in water to rebalance the body. Enjoy a relaxing Thai massage and a workshop on making Thai herbal compress balls.

          7. Elephant Camps at Ban Khun Chayathong, Chompolburi District, Surin Province: Enjoy feeding, bathing, and taking photos with elephants. The camps raise elephants without using bullhooks.

          8. Kuy Cultural Workshop at Ban Alue, Samrong Tab District, Surin Province: The tour of Ban Alue community starts with worshipping the “Pu Ta” Shrine and a foretelling ceremony involving boiled chicken chin. Enjoy the “Klae Mo – Klae Ao” dance performance and make you own Sand Ginger Necklace.

          9. Kanop Ting Tong Performance (Praying Mantis Dance) at Ban Poh Gong, Chua Pluang District, Surin Province: Study the historical background of the Kanop Ting Tong performance and wear the outfit of the dance. Practice dance moves which involve hopping and postures resembling the praying mantis. Moreover, visitors can learn the basic Cambodian-Thai language and write Cambodian messages on a wooden surface to craft souvenir keychains.

          10. Kantruem Performance at Ban Dong Man, Muang District, Surin Province: Study the historical background of the Kantruem performance; wear the “Jong Kraben” while practicing Kantruem dance moves. The instructor will associate the dance moves with healing, since the Kantruem dance postures were designed to stretch muscles to alleviate soreness and support good health.
          These are the creative tourism activities of Southern Esan – another interesting tourism route designed to preserve and strengthen region’s cultural heritage while developing the local economy.

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