Ban Dong Pa Sang is a village in San Patong District, about 35km from Chiang Mai. The village is not far from the outstanding Chiang Mai Doll Making Centre and Museum. It can also be combined with a visit to the ruins of Wiang Takan and, if your trip is on Saturday, with a visit to the San Patong Buffalo Market. Ban Dong Pa Sang is about 10 km from Lamphun with its magnificent temples. The countryside around Ban Dong Pa Sang is beautiful with endless rice fields, picturesque Lanna temples and villages.

Rice fields with mountains in the background
View on Doi Suthep from San Patong District

History of Ban Dong Pa Sang

Where did the tradition of making Sa Paper come from? The people of Ban Dong Pa Sang migrated from Shan State around two hundred years ago. They likely brought with them the tradition of Sa Papermaking, that originated in Burma. Sa Paper is made of the bark of the paper mulberry tree, which is a flowering plant (Latin name: Broussonetia papyrifera). In the past probably every other house in this village produced Sa Paper. Now there is only one major producer where we will bring you. This production centre is only wholesale. They have a small showroom and accept orders from all over the world. There is no shop.

Woman with wooden rack
Sa Paper worker

The making of Sa Paper

First, you will have to dry the woody stems of the Sa Paper tree. After soaking them a mill will pulverise them into a mush. You add the colour to the mush and put the mix into a tub. Then you draw a fine mesh grill through the tub and sediment will stick on the grill in thin sheets. You will put the grill to dry in the sun during which the sediment will become paper. It is a centuries-old, straightforward procedure. You can make book covers and notebooks but also umbrellas with Sa Paper. Bo Sang and Ton Pao in San Kamphaeng district are famous Sa Paper producing centres. Bo Sang particularly is famous for its umbrellas. Over the years it has become a bit of a tourist circus. Ban Dong Pa Sang certainly isn’t.

Sa paper drying
Sa Paper drying

Ban Dong Pa Sang in tours

You will visit Ban Dong Pa Sang during the bicycle tour of the three-day cycling and trekking tour of Green Trails.