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The art of soap carving in northern Thailand

Saturday, October 19, 2019, 08:53 GMT+7
The art of soap carving in northern Thailand
Hand-carved soap is sold at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre

Nestled between many Buddhist temples in the northern Thai city of Chiang Rai sit shops owned by artisans who have spent their lives perfecting the art of carving soap into flowers.

Located in a small corner of a bustling night market in Chiang Rai, Mrs. Ow’s hand-carved soap stall attracts a healthy crowd of tourists every evening.

Ow claims to have spent the past 20 years perfecting her craft, learning from nothing but her own trial and error.

Every night, the middle-aged owner delicately performed crafting soap in front of curious guests drawn towards the shop thanks to the soap’s alluring fragrance.

Mrs. Ow carves soap into flowers at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Video: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre

Each of the uniquely scented soap flowers takes about an hour to finish, and is stored inside a wooden box beautifully decorated by Ow herself. 

At room temperature, the soap can retain its scent for up to two years, Ow said.

The soap come in two sizes and cost between THB180 and THB360 (US$6-12) apiece.

Hand-carved soap is sold at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre
Hand-carved soap is sold at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre
Hand-carved soap is sold at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre
Hand-carved soap is sold at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre
Hand-carved soap is sold at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre
Hand-carved soap is sold at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre
A beautifully decorated wooden box is used to store hand-carved soap at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre
A beautifully decorated wooden box is used to store hand-carved soap at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre
Hand-carved soap is sold at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre
Hand-carved soap is sold at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre
Hand-carved soap is sold at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre
Hand-carved soap is sold at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre
Hand-carved soap is sold at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre
Hand-carved soap is sold at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre
Hand-carved soap is sold at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre
Hand-carved soap is sold at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre
Hand-carved soap is sold at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre
Hand-carved soap is sold at a night market in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre

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Minh Khoi / Tuoi Tre News Contributor

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