The residents of Ban Baat inhabit the only remaining village of three established in Bangkok by Rama I (King Phraphutthayotfa Chulalok; r 1782–1809) to produce bàht, the distinctive bowls used by monks to receive morning food donations. Tourists – not temples – are among the customers these days, and a bowl purchase is usually rewarded with a bowl-making demonstration.
As cheaper factory-made bowls are now the norm, the artisanal tradition has shrunk to one extended family. You can observe the process of hammering the bowls together from eight separate pieces of steel, said to represent Buddhism’s eightfold path. The joints are then fused with melted copper wire, and the bowl is beaten, polished and coated with several layers of black lacquer.
To find the village – today just a single alleyway – from Th Bamrung Meuang, turn down Soi Ban Bat, then take the first right.