Basketry in Thailand is made from coconut palms, reeds, rattan, bamboo and many other types of vegetation. Even the water hyacinth is now being gathered to dry and plait for use in trays, lampshades and furniture. Southern basketry boasts a delicate craft of wicker work using a local variety of vine fern called yan lipao which is fashioned into all kinds of household accessories including the famous evening bags. The hard finish of the yan lipao surface gives an impression of extreme durability, yet the completed works are very light.
A medium-sized basket takes between seven to thirteen months to make, depending on the complexity of the shape and the fineness of the strands used. Food baskets, fans, hats, table mats, handbags and boxes made of yan lipao make lovely souvenirs or gifts.