The Tai Hong Kong Shrine (ศาลเจ้าไต่ฮงกง สกลนคร) in Sakon Nakhon is one of two shrines at the Metta Dharma Foundation Courtyard (เมตตาธรรมมูลนิธิสกลนคร). It's also the location of a yearly Chinatown Festival in Thailand. A huge Chinese Buddhist temple is currently being built behind the shrine.
The Tai Hong Kong Shrine is in honor of the legendary Chinese monk Luang Pu Tai Hong (หลวงปู่ไต้ฮง), also known as Tai Hong Kong, as the Thai term "Luang Pu" (revered grandfather) is equivalent to the Chinese term "Kong" in the Teochew dialect of the Chinese language.
Born during the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279), Luang Pu Tai Hong was a Buddhist monk who has been revered by poor villagers in China for centuries. His history in Thailand stretches back to 1909, when Chinese immigrants built the first Tai Hong Kong Shrine in the heart of Bangkok.
Luang Pu Tai Hong was said to have boundless empathy, generosity, and selflessness. Believers say that he is especially helpful at ending a spell of bad luck, and setting a person on the right path for renewed success, happiness, and wealth.
As you enter the Tai Hong Kong Shrine, you'll see a small statue of Luang Pu Tai Hong in the center of a shelf on the back wall. There also is a large, gold statue of him outside the building next to a trio of gold Buddhas. The shrine is also filled with figurines of Chinese mythological figures who are prayed to for help. For example, Caishen (เทพเจ้าไฉ่ซิงเอี๊ย), who is considered the God of Wealth, is often asked for assistance in money matters.
Signage near the entrance to the shrine lists all of the figures, their power and associations, and attaches a number to each. Therefore, to find a particular mythological figure at the shrine, you just need to look for the number posted below the statue. Incense is burned when making a prayer, and some worshipers prepare a special drink which is poured into tiny cups placed on tables within the shrine.
Visitors also walk to the neighboring Chao Pu-Chao Ya Shrine (ศาลเจ้าปู่-เจ้าย่า) to pay respect to their Chinese ancestors and seek their blessings too. This is especially done around New Year's and during Sakon Nakhon's Chinatown Festival in Thailand.
The Tai Hong Kong Shrine is located in downtown Sakon Nakhon. You'll see a Chinese archway that leads to the temple courtyard. Beside the archway are large statues of Chinese Guardian Lions known as Shishi, in front of a yellow billboard promoting events in the courtyard.