Some 5,000 years ago Krabi was only just beginning to be settled, it was a burgeoning place which limited outside reach to the world beyond. There was no ‘Thailand” as we know it today, there were little scattered encampments throughout the region, small villages if you will. As the region is rich in mineral resources there were numerous semi precious gemstones found throughout the region, each village down the pinesula which is Thailand tended to be gifted with a few different types of gemstones found locally around them. So different regions would use what they had locally at their disposal and shape them into art. At the time most of what they made from these stones was various shapes of beads, each region again would have it’s own distinct shape and design based around what could be found in the region.
Once trade became easier and tribes moved from place or traders moved throughout the region, they would often trade with beads from their region for another bead of a region, using the beads as a form of currency.
In Klong Thom as the soil is such in Sulphur and calcium carbonate this region was a hotspot for bead discover and creation. These beads were transported through the region bed most of the beads were found in the river beds in the Klong Tom district of Krabi as this is the mineral rich region of Krabi.
As time went on and the region changed and beads as a form of currency were left behind in favour of a more modern metallic currency of coin the beads were left aside and creation of these beads as a craft became a lost art.
It wasn’t until the late 1900’s that the riverbeds around Klong Thom began to be excavated for archeological purposes. Before this time the local villagers knew of the beads and that there were many buried in and round the riverbeds but felt that they should be left to rest under fear of superstition. Once government officials began excavating the region they discovered beads of all varieties made from a wide array of materials such as bone, glass, wood, claws, gold and silver. This led the archaeologists to believe that this was not only a region of ebad making but also a trading port. Given the provinces proximity to India, the straights of Malacca and China as well as other artefacts found at these archaeological sites is is widely accepted that Klong Tom played an important role in the Europe-China sea based trade routes.
Nowadays Klong Thom is home to the ever popular Emerald Pool and Hot springs, but did you also know about the Klong Thom museum? in 1982 the monk Abbot Arthornsangworrakit began collecting all of the beads he could get his hands on and putting them on display at his home at the Klong Tom temple for the local villagers to see. Slowly through donations from local authorise and private citizens the money was raised to better the temple and improve the museum. In 2006 with the help of the mayor of Klong Tom, Mr. Piriya Srisuksomwong and Abbot Arthornsangworrakit there was a full restoration of the Klong Tom temple (Wat Klong Tom) and an official museum was opened to showcase the beads and other historical relics found in the region.
The temple is an impressive sight and the mecum is a quick yet informative visit learning about the history of our region.
If your interested in visiting the Klong Thom temple can be found early on google maps or just by following route 4 towards Koh Lanta and just past the run to visit the hot springs and emerald pool you will see the dramatic temple on the left hand side of the road.
Phone number: 075-622-163
Working hours: Daily from 08:30 – 12:00, 13:00 – 16:30. Closed every Wednesday.