Memos from Asia

Old meets new—and more—at Mallika Village, Thailand

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Thailand – 8 January 2017: rowboat selling fruits in the floating market

Old meets new—and more—at Mallika Village, Thailand.

Kanchanaburi, Thailand. September 9, 2019: Buildings of “Mallika City R.E. 124” a heritage, retro-city reflecting the real past Siamese lifestyle

Looking back, where could you have been if it weren’t for the COVID-19 pandemic? Have you considered traveling to another country? Have you arranged a meetup with friends or a family reunion? Maybe you’ve pictured your summer getaways or pegged your back-to-school inspirations. The year 2020 could’ve been an excellent year for us to explore and better ourselves. But with half the year that’s passed by us, it’s just as bittersweet as it is serendipitous to be reminded of our what-ifs when we’re all stuck at home, struggling to keep ourselves level-headed. But maybe we could turn these what-ifs into why-nots as we go through our postponed dates and manage to squeeze in one more travel inspiration for you.

Imagine a place that breaks the bonds of time with its rich history that goes on, a town that continues to enrich, relive, and sustain its people’s culture. Imagine a trip to this place where old meets new. If we have Intramuros, Vigan, and Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar here in the Philippines, it’s all here and all good in Thailand’s Mallika Village.

A Look at Ancient Siamese Life in Mallika

July 9, 2017: Views from City Tower of Mallika City

The picturesque settlement of Mallika is situated in the town of Kanchanaburi by the west of Thailand. Accessible via train from Bangkok, Mallika Village boasts of its retro-city ambiance that reflects ancient Siam’s pristine image. The whole village sits along the Chao Phraya River and fully encapsulates the rich Siamese lifestyle in history through its well-restored structures and preserved cultural mementos.

Not only that, but even the people are fully engaged and enlightened towards further bringing back the past life in Siam—that, and more, as we entice you further with four reasons to add Mallika VIllage to your next getaway list.

The village is home to the Thais’ architectural heritage and cultural aesthetic.

Kanchanaburi, Thailand. September 9, 2019: Buildings of “Mallika City R.E. 124”

The word mallik itself means “jasmine”, and being home to over a hundred species of jasmine, Mallik Village prides itself in its jasmine garden that’s truly eye and nose candy. Also, with the well-restored architecture, exploring the settlement becomes a unique learning experience.

The houses themselves—the Reuan Diao (the commoner’s home), the Reuan Khaka Bodi (the noble’s home), and the Reuan Pae (the floating house), among others—describe the lifestyle of different Thais during the reign of King Chulalongkorn especially when slavery was abolished. The people learned to fend and provide for themselves and their families. The openness and intricacy of the spaces invite people of all ages to go back in time and relive the ordinary Siamese experience.

Karnchana Buri, Thailand: January 20, 2019: Life near the river.

Another architectural highlight is the Sephan Han or the “Turntable Bridge, ” built to allow boats to pass through the river. It also houses many local stalls and must-tries. To top it off, all of these can be viewed in the City Tower, which was formerly used as a prison tower and now provides the best scenery of the whole settlement.

Mallika Village emanates the traditional Thai lifestyle first-hand.

That includes cuisine, clothing, and well-preserved culture. Somehow, its seclusion from the city helps maintain its exuberant aura. The village even uses the country’s ancient currency or Satang which you can use to buy products across the local markets. Fear not, for you can have your Thai baht exchanged for Satang, and you can also exchange it back to Baht if you have spare change (though we doubt you’d still be able to get change with all the village’s wonders!)

To add to the point, the locals always do their best to introduce its visitors to the village’s well-preserved traditions and make it a part of the tour to educate and immerse them in the process—from arts and crafts to food and fashion, even entertainment!

Mallika Village lets you experience the Thai tradition from the ground up.

Kanchanaburi, Thailand. September 9, 2019: Buildings of “Mallika City R.E. 124”

While we’ve mentioned a unique, first-hand experience when you check the village out, you may want to prepare your guts a little. We’re talking about farming and livestock here, cooking and setting, weaving and pottery, and everything else that the locals have been doing. This is done not only to educate but also to promote and preserve the locals’ culture and industries.

Kanchanaburi, Thailand. September 9, 2019: Beautiful garden of “Mallika City R.E. 124” a heritage

Here, you’re not only ensured of farm-to-table goodness or artisanal crafts but lasting memories and unforgettable experiences that make these items truly worth treasuring. You may get your hands dirty, but in a healthy and fun way, but what’s a better way to be a tourist than try what’s out of your zone?

The Mallika Village houses rich artistic talent that transcends time.

We have talked about how all the products here are proudly handcrafted with exquisite skill and attention, but here we’re talking about the local music and performance scene. And just as how the nobles would often invite singers and dancers during special events, cultural presentations are held at certain times in the village, where guests can fully join in the interaction and learn the performances themselves. This tradition has been passed down between generations, contributing to promoting and conserving one of the country’s most prized treasures.

In the evening, a show featuring local dances and traditions will commence. Enjoy watching and learning about Siamese history while trying out their local dishes and delicacies. Although this is an add on to the experience, you should give it a try as it’s the cherry on top of the cake. It completes the whole go back in time experience that Malika Village is trying to provide.

A place to share Thailand’s history and culture

There’s much more to discover in the little town and its people. Time and testimonies have shown how they continue their mission to promote Thai history and culture, yet keep their identity intact as a cultural heritage. There’s so much more to share about it, but we’d prefer to save the thrill of it when you plan your next getaway. However, after this pandemic, the world changes; there’s always a pristine side of history and our identity that we can look back and enjoy. And with Mallika Village, this old meets the new, and more.

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