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 weaponry. 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.
The Arunyik Craft Museum seems the best place to start, though it was closed on our visit. Opened in 2012 (B.E. 2555), it’s supposed to be open from 10am-4:30pm. If it’s closed, peek inside the heavily-tinted windows – there didn’t seem to be much more than a basic display with few signs…
What makes this place great is the relative lack of tourists. It’s still pretty unknown, and the prices reflect that obscurity.
Welcome to Aranyik village – said quickly, it sounds like ‘ironic’, which has nothing to do with this area but is fun all the same.
From the museum, hop off the motorbike (or tuk-tuk) and begin meandering down the street. The main road follows the horseshoe-shaped bend in the river, and over the course of several hundred meters offers several different shops. Above is one of several stores, and the first you’ll likely come across. 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.
I’m no knife expert, but the 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 is here – and elsewhere. Note these are seemingly hammered out, sharpened, handled, wiped off, then put into bins or boxes. Functional over fashionable, perhaps, although those are around as well:
Polished, engraved, and inlaid with mother-of-pearl, these are clearly meant for the display cabinet over everyday use.
Shapes, sizes, and handes galore.
For all your home defense needs…? Or just for farming or cutting weeds down?
A bit further on is a treat, and one of the only indications that the area has any tourist inclinations. Presenting Phoethong Aranyik Handiwork Co. Ltd. – makers of fine silverware and silver dishes.
These strike me as the sort of finer things you’d get someone for a wedding present or perhaps a nice birthday present. 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. It’s well off the beaten path, and while there might be some day trips arrangeable from Ayutthaya, it’s a half-hour excursion on a motorbike. Pick up some kitchen knives while you’re around, or give that machete a feel if you can fit it in your checked luggage.
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Name: Ayutthaya Knife Village / Ayutthaya Sword Village / Aranyik village
Address: 84/4 Moo 3 Tachang, Nakornluang, Ayutthaya, 13260 (GPS: 14.50167,100.65150)
Directions: 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.
Hours: the village is technically never ‘closed’, but you’d be best off visiting from 10am-5pm.
Website: www.phoethong-aranyik.com (the aforementioned silverware shop
Ratings out of 5 ratchaphrueks (What’s a ratchaphruek, or how do I rate destinations?)
Ease to arrive:
Worth the visit: