(This is an excerpt from my newest book, Offbeat Thailand. More on that in a minute.)
Ayutthaya sword village: Buy a machete at wholesale prices
84/4 Moo 3 Tachang, Nakornluang, Ayutthaya, 13260
Admission: free. Hours: best visited from 10am-5pm. The home of sword and weapon-making for hundreds of years, the Arunyik village is still the source for knives, machetes, and plenty of other traditional Thai sharp edges today. Said quickly, it sounds like ‘ironic’, which has nothing to do with this area but is fun all the same. This was the village that made the weapons when Ayutthaya was the Thai capital. It’s about a half hour outside of Ayutthaya, and is great for a day trip out of town. Look for the Arunyik Craft Museum as a good place to start, open from 10am-4:30pm most days. If it’s closed, peek inside the heavily-tinted windows before moving on. Meander down the main road by scooter or foot – either way, follow the horseshoe-shaped bend in the river, to see several different shops over a few hundred meters. Note that these knives are sold and displayed without any sort of guard to protect you from the blade – and these are sharp knives ready to use as soon as they’re cleaned. Dozens of varieties and sizes means there’s something for every purpose or need. Everything from a blade the size of a scalpel to a sword you’ll need two hands to handle are around. Note these are seemingly hammered out, sharpened, handled, wiped off, then put into bins or boxes. Functional over fashionable, perhaps, although there are plenty of ceremonial pieces around as well. Polished, engraved, and inlaid with mother-of-pearl, these are clearly meant for the display cabinet over everyday use. Be sure to reach the 2.5 meter tall fork and spoon for a fun photo. These are in front of the Phoethong Aranyik Handiwork Co. Ltd., makers of fine silverware and silver dishes. Where the rest of the village has a focus on weapons, this shop offers a number of wedding or birthday presents. They’re expensive, compared to the more raw offerings around town, but aren’t really meant to compete with them. The overheard sword marks the village, though it’s basically the only sign there’s anything to see in the area. Pick up some kitchen knives while you’re around, or give that machete a feel if you can fit it in your checked luggage.
Start from the Ayutthaya train station – the road in front of the station is route 3053. Head north, going out of town, until you come to a T. Turn left to route 32, go a little over a kilometer, then turn right onto route 3063. Stay on route 3063 for about 18 kilometers – route 3063 turns into 3008 – stay straight as you pass route 329. While on route 3008, look for a large white arch coming up on the left – take the following left, then the first left. Stay on the main road and you’ll see the overhead knife in about 3 kilometers.
Presenting Offbeat Thailand, version 2.0 (formerly A Guidebook to Offbeat Thailand):
Explore Thailand’s weird, wonderful, and offbeat side.
Ask yourself: do you really want to go to the same touristy places as everyone else? Or would you rather return home with some unique stories to tell and some awesome pictures to brag about? One Weird Globe guides are your key to enjoying a city or area. Get off the beaten path and head to some awesome places most tourists have never heard of.
This isn’t just a list of places to go…
One Weird Globe’s mission is to make travel awesome, and to set you up to succeed. That means giving you plenty of info to prepare before you arrive:
- Icons – know at a glance if it’s free, safe for kids, easy to find, etc.
- A brief intro to the city / country
- Recommended hostels / hotels
- What to bring, how to get around, how to connect to the internet, safety warnings, and more
- A location index, a category index, and an alphabetical index
Oh, and plenty of specific directions.
Revamped and updated for 2016!
Buy now and start exploring the awesome side of Thailand.
A few early reviews:
“Although I have been in Thailand for many years, Chris always seems to discover a place that I have never heard about before. That is why I was happy to hear that he had written an e-book on some of the weird and wonderful places that can be found around Thailand. If you want to get off the beaten track, then I highly recommend A Guidebook to Offbeat Thailand as an easy guide to some of Thailand’s more bizarre and unseen attractions.” — Richard Barrow, famous Thai blogger “Take a walk on the weird side with this informative and easy-to-use book that’s equipped with handy GPS coordinates and plenty of tell-tale pics.” — Jim Algie, author of “Bizarre Thailand: Tales of Crime, Sex and Black Magic” “Thai culture is often described as “elegant,” and while this is certainly true, it also has an endearingly quirky side that can be a lot of fun to explore. Chris Backe’s Guidebook to Offbeat Thailand is the finest travel guide to date that specifically hones in on Thailand’s quirky and offbeat destinations. With insightful words, great photos and precise directions and maps, it’s a user-friendly and thoroughly researched collection that’s a must for travelers who want to go beyond the predicable in Thailand.” — David Luekens, Travelfish.org
Just a few of the places inside:
- The museum of elephants carved from wood
- The biggest collection of Batman stuff in Thailand
- The museum where the chicken bowls are made
- The park where paper really is made from poo
- The island where you can eat deep fried flowers
- The museum of Counterfeit Goods: try to tell real from fake
- The creepiest-looking forest in Thailand
- The Thai Film Museum: a glimpse back in time, through movies
About One Weird Globe guidebooks
One Weird Globe guidebooks offer an comprehensive looks at a country. These are perfect if you prefer to do the planning yourself. You get recommendations to what to see and do, where to sleep, and most importantly, how to get there with clear directions and GPS coordinates. See also One Weird Globe introductions (great for a general overview of the country) and itineraries (great if you prefer having things planned out for you).
About the author
Chris Backe is the blogger behind One Weird Globe, a popular blog about offbeat destinations and life as an expat. His mission in life is to make travel awesome, and to set you up to succeed while traveling. He’s lived in Korea, Thailand, Colombia, and traveled to weird destinations across Europe. He’s also the founder of the Choose a Way series, the interactive travel guidebooks that put you in charge. He’s been seen in Atlas Obscura, io9, Fark, Mental Floss, Groove Magazine, and many other publications. When not traveling or writing, he enjoys swing dancing and a good game of Cards Against Humanity.
Also published on Medium.