Kratip is the Thai name for container, a variety of which can be found in any traditional Thai house, especially in the North and North East of Thailand. These typical Thai objects are made in various materials such as nipa palm leaves, palm leaves, sugar palm leaves, but are often made of bamboo.
According to its function its name will change, for example “Kratip Kao” is for containing sticky rice, “Kratip Maak” for chewing betel and “Kratip Lod” for sewing tools such as bobbin and cotton. But Kratip Kao is the container we are more likely to see in everyday life in Thailand.
Kratip Kao contains sticky rice and is usually made of bamboo stripes weaved into various sizes and stacked vertically to help retain the heat and make the sticky rice soft, warm and dry because the steam from the rice will slowly slip out between the stripes. Kratip also consists of a covered round base, the body of which is surrounded with sugar palm stalks or bamboo to give added strength. The container is often finished with a rope to tie to the body to carry around or hang.
These beautiful items are truly unique in shape, size and design; they are all hand-made and there is no way to mass-produce them. Each Thai rice container is carefully hand-assembled and treated over several days by local artisans whose craft has been handed down from generation to generation. In many cases, entire villages are engaged in the process with different families focusing on different parts of the production process.
Besides being household items, kratip are beautifully made in a variety of creative designs and make an ideal decorative souvenir. You can definitely find attractive Kratip Kao in Chiang Mai at the famous Warorot market: in the back alley of the main building is one shop with so many different containers and accessories made of bamboo, you can be sure to find something nice.