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Category: Thai Culture

Mar 02
Secret Thai Hangover Cure & The Hang Energy Drink

Years ago in Thailand there was a popular hangover drink called Hang that was made by the famous Thai energy drink maker Osotspa, creators of the Kingdom’s top-selling energy drink, M-150. Hang was made in 3 different formulas (Original, Foreplay, and Virgin), which included ingredients that improved liver function, settled stomachs, and boosted cognitive function. […]

Mar 01
Thai Journalist Day – Remembering Rong Wongsawan

In Thailand, “Journalist Day” (วันนักข่าว) occurs every year on March 5th. Formally known as “National Mass Communication Day” (วันสื่อสารมวลชนแห่งชาติ), this day for honoring Thai journalists coincides with the establishment of the Journalists Association of Thailand on March 5th, 1955. Fifteen pioneering Thai journalists joined together to form the journalists association, including Choti Maneenoi (โชติ มณีน้อย) […]

Feb 27
Buddhist Prayer Beads (Rosary) in Thailand

In Thailand, the use of “rosary” beads for prayer and meditation is common among Buddhist monks. However, their use in meditation among the Thai people occurs only among the most devoted of the Kingdom’s 67 million Buddhists. Thais frequently use prayer beads as a personal talisman (much like they use a sacred amulet). They will […]

Feb 25
Chao Pu Thala & The Phu Thai Tribe of Northeast Thailand

The Phu Thai (ชาวภูไท) are one of several tribal peoples who live in Northeast Thailand, including Sakon Nakhon and the neighboring province of Nakhon Phanom. It’s believed that the Phu Thai migrated from Laos into the Northeast (Isaan) from the 15th to the 18th centuries, with a spiritual belief system that combines Buddhism with animism […]

Feb 23
Chao Pu (Phaya) Yommarat – Phra Yom Mantra

At Wat Pra That Phon Thong there is a small pavilion with a statue of an unusual figure not ordinarily seen at a Thai temple. It is a statue of Chao Pu Yommarat (เจ้าปู่ยมราช). This is not actually a specific historical figure but refers to the distinguished 14 Thai men who were awarded the Royal […]

Feb 20
Luang Pu Fan Acharo: Mystical Teachings & Mantra

Seen above: Ajarn Fan Ajaro smoking a cigar to repel mosquitoes, as was a customary practice at the time. Luang Pu Fan Acharo (หลวงปู่ฝั้น อาจาโร) is the most well-known Thai monk to have emerged from Sakon Nakhon province. Born in 1899, Ajarn Fan was a disciple of Ajarn Man Phuritatto, the co-founder of the Thai […]

Feb 18
Preta: Hungry Ghost Spirits in Thailand

Thai culture is filled with supernatural spirits or ghosts, such as Nang Tani (the spirit who haunts wild banana trees) and the cannibalistic Phi Pop who will eat your internal organs with glee. These spirits are part of Thai folklore rather than Buddhist traditions, thus you’ll rarely, if ever, see one depicted inside a Thai […]

Feb 14
Blind Thai Singers & Musicians: Who Are They?

While efforts have been made to improve the lives of blind people in Thailand, many obstacles continue to exist for Thais who are visually-impaired. This is especially true in rural provinces like Sakon Nakhon where access to resources are difficult. It’s been estimated that only 10% of Thailand’s blind have the opportunity to receive rehabilitation, […]

Feb 02
Thailand: Misconceptions Vs. Reality

Recently there was a photo making the rounds in Thailand of two tourists at Phuket Airport wearing Speedos and flip flops. This reminded me that there is a big difference between how many foreigners view Thailand versus how it exists in reality. Thanks to films like The Hangover, comedy skits on TV shows, and YouTube […]

Jan 30
Thailand Soft Power: Spreading Thai Cultural Values

In recent months, there has been a lot of talk about “soft power” in Thailand, with Prime Minister Settha Thavisin creating the National Soft Power Strategy Committee to guide initiatives that will develop and promote soft power industries such as Thai food, tourism, music, and sports. The term “soft power” refers to a countries ability […]

Jan 26
Avoiding Criticism in Thailand while Achieving Success

In Thai culture, criticism is avoided. As a result, Thailand is often criticized! According to the critics, the Thai people’s avoidance of criticism is stifling the kingdom’s growth into a first world country and economic powerhouse like Japan and South Korea. However, the rulers of Thailand (stretching back to King Mongkut of the mid- 19th […]

Jan 16
Why Learn Thai? The Cognitive, Cultural & Health Benefits

When people talk about the best foreign language to learn, you’ll often hear suggestions like Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, or Japanese. What you rarely, if ever, hear suggested is the Thai language, as it is spoken only in Thailand — which has a population of about 70 million, and is still considered a developing country. […]

Jan 14
Thai Marriage Advice – Counseling of Buddhist Monks

In Thailand there are few professional marriage counselors, except in the upper class social circles of Bangkok. Thai marriage counseling traditionally has been handled by head monks at village temples, and this practice continues to this day — although only a small percentage of Thai couples seek out this assistance when having problems. When Thai […]

Jan 12
Generosity in Thailand: Having a Water Heart (Nam Jai)

The Thai word for generosity is “kwaam mee náam jai” (ความมีน้ำใจ), which means to “have a water heart”. In Thailand, water is a symbol of abundance. The water in the fields produce rice, and the water in the rivers produce fish. To have a “water heart” thus means to have a heart that creates abundance. […]

Jan 07
Traveling the Eightfold Path in Buddhist Thailand

Traveling in Thailand can be a lot of fun, which is why millions visit the Land of Smiles every year. However, the Kingdom also offers a unique opportunity for personal development and self-growth, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in Thai culture — an experience which can challenge your comfort zones, while providing fresh perspectives on […]

Dec 26
Littering in Thailand: How to Solve the Problem

Anyone who has visited Thailand knows that the Kingdom has a littering problem. It’s not only Thais who are guilty of littering. Tourists are sometimes to blame — especially those who come from countries where littering is common, and strong social stigmas are absent. Thailand has tried many familiar solutions to tackle the littering problem. […]

Dec 22
Traditional Thai Family Culture & Values

The traditional Thai family has taken a hit in recent decades. The decline began as Thailand started its transition from a predominantly agrarian society to a country with a large manufacturing base and tourism industry. This caused large numbers of young Thai fathers (and mothers) to move to the Bangkok metropolitan area (and other cities) […]

Dec 19
How to Make Merit in Thailand

In Thailand, “making merit” is an important activity for Buddhists. In the Thai language, it’s referred to as “tham boon” (ทำบุญ), which means “do good deeds”. The word “boon” is derived from Pali word “punya,” which means a tool to purify the mind. Buddhists thus view merit as a tool for purifying the heart of […]

Dec 18
Why Does Thailand Have So Many Temples?

In our last post, we answered the question, “How many temples does Thailand have?” Now, let’s move on to another commonly asked question, “Why does Thailand have so many temples?” To begin, it should be recognized that temples in Thailand are not simply places of worship. They also function as a unique kind of Thai […]

Dec 18
How Many Temples Does Thailand Have?

Everyone knows that Thailand has a lot of temples, but just how many exactly? The number of temples in Thailand is tracked by the Buddhist Monastery Department (กองพุทธศาสนสถาน). According to the department’s latest figures, there is currently 43,005 temples in Thailand (only five of which do not have Thai monks living on the premises). Of […]

Dec 15
A New Thailand Curriculum Framework (Competency-Based)

For decades education reform has been on the agenda in Thailand, with experts encouraging a transition from the current content-based curriculum to a competency-based curriculum (CBC). This new curriculum framework would emphasize the acquisition of skills and knowledge that can be applied to daily life, instead of the rote content learning that typifies the education […]

Nov 18
Metal Bodh Gaya Chedi in Thailand w/ Baby Buddha Statue

Thailand is a Kingdom of Temples. It also is filled with sacred chedis (stupas), especially in the Northeastern province of Sakon Nakhon. Many chedis in Thailand are inspired by the famous Buddhist chedis of India. For example, Phra Chedi Sadaeng Pathom Thesana (พระเจดีย์แสดงปฐมเทศนา) is a replica of the Dhamek Stupa located in Varanasi, India, which […]

Nov 01
Do Thais Like Foreigners Who Can Speak Thai?

Foreigners in Thailand are notorious for their bad takes about Thai people and culture. And although it is counterintuitive, the worst takes are often by foreigners who have lived in Thailand the longest. We were reminded of this again recently on seeing a farang teacher warn “newbies” against learning to speak Thai. The old expat […]

Oct 28
Wan Ok Phansa: Its Meaning & History in Thailand

Wan Ok Phansa (วันออกพรรษา) literally means the “Rains Retreat Exit Day”. This religious holiday marks the end of the Buddhist Lent period in Thailand. Wan Ok Phansa falls every year on the 15th day of the waxing moon of the 11th lunar month. In 2023, it is celebrated on October, 29th, the first day of […]

Oct 23
Respect in Thai Culture & Language

Respect is an integral part of Thai culture. It is deeply entwined with how the people of Thailand conduct themselves in their personal, professional, and public lives. Respect also is related to other aspects of Thai culture, such as saving face, being “greng jai,” and performing the wai greeting. Thailand remains a very hierarchical society. […]

Oct 13
King Bhumibol Adulyadej Memorial Day: Royal Projects

HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great Memorial Day (Oct. 13th) honors the life and achievements of King Rama IX, who was the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history. He reigned from 1946 until his passing in 2016. Throughout his reign, King Bhumibol implemented many Royal projects aimed at improving the lives of all Thai people, from […]

Oct 06
Toilets in Thailand: Squat, Flush & Bum Gun

*Seen above is a common Thai restroom welcome sign with traditional figurine. In Thailand, there are basically three kinds of toilets: the traditional Thai toilet, the Western flush toilet, and a combination of the two. The traditional Thai toilet is what is known as a squat toilet. These are still found everywhere in Thailand, including […]

Sep 30
How to Buy, Sell & Pawn Gold in Thailand

In Thailand, buying and selling gold at a Thai gold shop is a common investment strategy. It also is a way that Thai people save money so as to avoid the temptation of emptying their bank account. In this post, we will cover everything a foreigner needs to know about buying, selling, and pawning gold […]

Sep 28
Manomayitthi – Thailand Mind Power Meditation & Mantra

There is a mystical (occult) Buddhist meditation in Thailand that often is practiced by monks engaged in “magic” psychic practices, such as the making of sacred amulets and incantations (mantras) that are alleged to grant good fortune and happiness. This Thai meditation is known as “Manomayitthi” (มโนมยิทธิ) which means the magical power of the mind. […]

Sep 27
Phra Chai: The Thai Buddha of Victory Amulet & Talisman

Seen Above: A small statue of Phra Chai Ayutthaya in Phon Na Kao District, Sakon Nakhon One of the most “magical” of all Buddha images in Thailand is the figure of Phra Chai (พระชัย). You rarely, however, will see a statue of Phra Chai at Thai temples. The figure most often appears as an amulet, […]

Sep 19
Phi Fa: Thailand Ghost Healers and Isaan Shaman

Anyone familiar with Thailand’s culture knows that Thai people have a strong belief in ghosts and the supernatural (see our post on the Thai zombie village). This is especially true among the tribal peoples of Isaan (Northeast Thailand), such as the Phu Tai, Tai Yo, and Tai So tribes. Many Isaan tribes have a belief […]

Sep 14
Buddhist Sabbath & Holidays in Thailand

Buddhists in Thailand have a weekly sabbath day, just as Christians do. However, unlike the Christian sabbath, the Buddhist sabbath does not fall always on the same day of the week (such as Sunday or Saturday). It can fall on any day of the week, and corresponds to the 8th day of the waxing moon, […]

Sep 13
The Thailand Diet: Lose Weight Fast with Thai Food

The Thai people have a history of being quite skinny and not struggling with their weight. However, this is changing as Western foods have been introduced, as well as highly processed food. If you are in Thailand and struggling with your weight, or are looking for the Thai secret to weight loss and maintaining a […]

Sep 12
The Ramakien Thai Love Story – What it Really Means

The Ramakien often is described as a grand love story between Phra Ram and Nang Sida. It is an epic tale where the beautiful Sida must be rescued from the demon King Tosakanth by her courageous husband and the brave monkey warrior Hanuman. After many battles and successful rescue, we are led to believe that […]

Sep 11
Ganesh Chaturthi in Thailand – Thai Temple Ganesha Statues

Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesha, who is known as Phra Phikanet (พระพิฆเนศ) in Thailand. Ganesha is an elephant-headed deity who is revered as the “Remover of Obstacles” and the harbinger of good fortune and success. While Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular festivals in India, […]

Sep 10
The Ramakien Story Summary – Thailand Khon Drama

The Ramakien (รามเกียรติ์) is Thailand’s national epic. The story draws inspiration from the Indian Ramayana but weaves into it the fabric of Thai culture, traditions, and beliefs. Its origins trace back to as early as the 13th century, but the story as it exists today rests largely on the work authored in part by King […]

Sep 07
The Ideal Woman: Suay vs. Narak in Thai

Today, let’s talk about who is considered the most attractive Thai woman, without getting us into too much trouble! 😄 In Thailand, women can be referred as beautiful or cute (sometimes both). Cuteness isn’t an adjective confined only to younger ladies or girls — as it tends to be in Western countries. So, what is […]

Sep 06
Makruk Thailand: The History & Rules of Thai Chess

There is an old Thai expression that says: “Dern mâi doo dtaa máa dtaa reua” (เดินไม่ดูตาม้าตาเรือ). This saying means to walk ignorantly or blindly, not being careful to look ahead at the obvious hurdles in your path through life. The literal translation of this saying, however, means to walk without looking at the eyes of […]

Sep 01
The Thailand Tradition of Giving Flowers to Monks at Temples

In Thailand there is a tradition of giving flowers to monks (ประเพณีตักบาตรดอกไม้) at temples. But what are the origins of this tradition? According to Thai legend, the origin of the flower giving custom began in the era of King Bimbisara (544 -492) who reigned over Magadha, which today is located in Northeastern India. The king […]

Aug 31
What Did King Chulalongkorn Do? His Achievements

Seen Above: A photo of King Chulalongkorn (center) while in Europe in 1907. Every year Thailand celebrates a holiday called “Chulalongkorn Day” on October 23rd. This leads some people to ask, “What did King Chulalongkorn do?” Let’s answer that question in detail now. King Chulalongkorn of Siam is also known as Rama V. His 42 […]

Aug 27
Betel Nut & Leaf Chewing in Thailand

Marijuana and Kratom have gotten all the publicity in Thailand with their recent legalization. However, betel nut and betel leaf have been used by Thais for centuries for their medicinal and psychoactive properties. There is an ancient pillar from the Sukothai Period (1238-1438) that reads: “Betel forests were cultivated throughout the city. Everywhere there were […]

Aug 26
The Thai Word “Jai”: Its Meaning & Cultural Implications

One aspect of the Thai language that is critical to understanding Thai people, and successfully navigating through life in Thailand, is the word “jai” (ใจ). The Thai word “jai” encompasses 3 meanings: “heart,” “mind,” and “spirit”. This linguistic phenomenon significantly impacts Thai culture, psychology, and human relationships — for it reflects a holistic view of […]

Aug 24
Top 10 Thailand Twitter (X) Accounts in English

In past years, Twitter (now known as X) wasn’t a major player on Thailand’s social media scene, compared to social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok. For one reason or another, many Thais and expats in Thailand started Twitter accounts but then abandoned them after awhile (likely due to lack of engagement). However, […]

Aug 19
Thai Smiles: Understanding Their Different Meanings

Thailand famously is known as “The Land of Smiles”. The Thai smile’s legendary status can be traced all the way back to the Ayutthaya Period (14th – 18th Centuries), with foreigners writing in travelogues about “Yim Siam” (ยิ้มสยาม) — the word “yim” meaning smile in the Thai language. Westerners, who have a tendency to frown […]

Aug 12
Thailand Education Reform: Less English, More Thai

Much has been written about Thailand’s struggle to learn the English language. Nearly every year there is hand-wringing over Thailand’s basement floor ranking in English acquisition among Southeast Asian countries. Thai Education Ministers from multiple ruling parties have long championed “education reform” as a top objective. Having taught at Thai universities for for two decades, […]

Aug 11
The Highest Thai Virtue: Harmony of Heart & Mind

To fully understand Thai culture and the Thai way of life, one must always keep “harmony” at the forefront of your thoughts. From face-saving culture and the avoidance of conflicts to the flexible nature of Thai time and art of being “greng jai,” the preservation of harmony is a driving force that shapes behavior in […]

Aug 09
Thailand Alternative Cancer Treatment Centers

Arokhayasala at Kham Pramong Temple in Sakon Nakhon is one of Thailand’s most prominent alternative cancer treatment centers. Established in 2004 by the Buddhist monk Pra Ajarn Paponpat Jiradhammo (who once cured himself of cancer), Arokhayasala is the first traditional Thai medicine hospital dedicated to treating cancer patients. It’s traditional approach is integrated with modern […]

Aug 08
The Thai Wai: It’s Spiritual & Cultural Meaning

If you live in Thailand, the traditional “wai” (ไหว้) greeting is a regular part of daily life. We wai so often, however, that it’s easy to lose sight of the greeting’s spiritual and cultural significance. And when that happens, we run the risk of making a casual, perfunctory wai — which potentially could offend the […]

Aug 05
Thai Entrepreneurs & Small Business Owners in Thailand

Ask a Thai college student what job they want after graduation, and they often will say, “Mâi yàak bpen lôok jâang!” (ไม่อยากเป็นลูกจ้าง), which means, “I don’t want to be an employee.” This isn’t surprising considering that over 50% of Thais are self-employed, and over 65% of those who don’t have a job yet want to […]

Aug 03
Buddhism and Christianity in Thailand – Religious Similarities

While Buddhism is the National Religion of Thailand, with 92.5% of the population identifying as Buddhists, the Christian religion has a strong (albeit small) presence in the Kingdom. There are close to a million Catholics and Protestants in Thailand (or 1.4% of the population), with Catholics making important contributions to Thai education, operating over 300 […]

Jul 31
What Does Khao Phansa Mean? Buddhist Lent Day in Thailand

Wan Khao Phansa (เข้าพรรษา) literally means “Rainy Season Entrance Day,” but colloquially it means Buddhist Lent Day. In Thailand, the 3 month Buddhist Lent period also is called Phak Fon (พักฝน), which means the “Rains Retreat,” because this is the time when Buddhist monks must stop taking pilgrimages and remain in a Thai temple until […]

Jul 30
Punctuality in Thailand – Why are Thais Late?

There is a common misconception that Thailand doesn’t take punctuality seriously, that it isn’t considered a Thai virtue (such as being greng jai is). While it is true that many Thai people are regularly late and seem to have a “flexible” view of time, punctuality long has been considered a virtue in Thailand and a […]

Jul 29
Nang Kwak: Thailand Goddess of Wealth & Good Luck

Nang Kwak is a revered figure in Thai folklore and popular culture. She often is called the Goddess of Wealth & Good Luck or the Patron Saint of merchants and Thai shop owners. While she is not worshiped universally by all Thais, statues, figurines, and posters of her can be seen in offices and houses […]

Jul 28
What is Asahna Bucha Day – Thailand Blessings & Greetings

Asahna Bucha Day (วันอาสาฬหบูชา) is a Thai religious holiday that marks the day when the Buddha gave his first sermon on the Dharma. The Dharma describes the nature of reality and the conduct required for personal liberation and the cessation of suffering, as encapsulated in the 8-fold path. Thailand is the only country in the […]

Jul 23
Giant Millipedes in Thailand: Size, Danger & Edible?

Giant millipedes in Thailand have an average length of around 6-8 inches (15 – 20 cm). However, during the rainy season we have seen giant millipedes over 12 inches (30 cm) hanging out on the steps that go up the mountainside of Wat Tham Phu Pha Yon in Sakon Nakhon province. The Thai name for […]

Jul 21
What Does Greng Jai Mean in Thailand?

Previously we have talked about the Thai personality and the importance of saving face in Thailand. A character trait related to saving face is “greng jai” (เกรงใจ), which literally means to have a heart that is in awe or afraid (in an intimidated kind of way). A Thai person will ordinarily only feel “greng jai” […]

Jul 18
Sakon Nakhon Province: A Thailand Spiritual Mecca

From November 12th (1949) to January 1st (1950), Buddhist monks, Thai political leaders, and people from all walks of life throughout Thailand traveled to pay their respects to Ajarn Man Phurithatto (มั่นภูริทตฺโต), whose body lay in state at Wat Pa Sutthawat in Sakon Nakhon, where the revered and aged Thai monk had spent his final […]

Jul 14
Ladyboys (Kathoey), Transgenderism & Buddhism in Thailand

Thailand is often cited as a country welcoming of transgenderism, due to its long acceptance of the 3rd gender known as Kathoey (กระเทย). Kathoeys are popularly known in the West as ladyboys. They are men (usually quite effeminate in build) who choose to live as a woman. Some sources claim that effeminate gay men are […]

Jul 09
The Naga Legend of Nong Han Lake in Thailand

Mystical Thailand is filled with myths and legends, many of which have never been translated into English and remain unknown to the outside world. Today, we will share one such Sakon Nakhon legend, which is being translated into English here for the first time. It’s a story about an ancient city that now lay buried […]

Jul 05
The Power of Charity in Sakon Nakhon, Thailand

Previously we talked about the charitable efforts of the Thai-Chinese community in Sakon Nakhon, as demonstrated by the philanthropic efforts of the Metta Tham Foundation (เมตตาธรรมมูลนิธิสกลนคร). But they are not the only charity operating in the province. The Lion’s Club and Rotary Club of Thailand both have branches in Sakon Nakhon. And there are a […]

Jul 03
Mystical Thailand: Visiting Thai Temples like a Mystic

In Thai Buddhism, as with every religion, there are different levels of understanding, different schools of thought — and by this we don’t mean the difference between Theravada Buddhism (Thailand’s official religion) and Mahayana Buddhism, but rather the manner in which people approach sacred texts and iconography. The most profound interpretations of Buddhism in Thailand […]

Jul 01
Thai-Chinese Charity in Thailand: The Metta Tham Foundation

The Thai-Chinese community in Thailand has long flourished in terms of business success and financial wealth. Although Thais with Chinese ancestry only make up 14% of the national population, nearly every province in Thailand has a capital city area with numerous Thai-Chinese merchants, whose work ethic is strong and business savvy is keen. However, the […]

Jun 22
Lotus Flowers in Thailand: Symbolism & How to Grow

In Thailand, the lotus flower is known as “bua” (บัว). It is a symbol of goodness, with a special relationship to Buddhism, the country’s national religion. According to legend, Jivaka Komarabhacca, the Buddha’s personal physician, prepared a concoction made of lotus flowers to cure the Buddha’s exhaustion after long meditation in the forest. Doctor Jivaka […]

Jun 20
Snails in Thailand – Most Commonly Seen & Eaten

The Mystery Snail, which is known in Thailand as Hoi Khom (หอยขม), Hoi Joop (หอยจุ๊บ) or Hoi Doot (หอยดูด) is the snail most commonly seen in Thailand. It is found near ponds, canals, and flooded rice fields during the rainy season. Mystery Snails are also called River Snails, Pond Snails, or Marsh Snails. Some have […]

Jun 17
Thai Personality (Character) is Shaped by the Language

The people of every country have a unique personality or character. The French are different from the Germans, and Germans different from the Italians. Japanese people are different from Koreans, and Koreans different from the Chinese. And so it goes all around the world. Of course, there is great diversity of personality among individuals in […]

Jun 14
The Thai National Anthem in English & Romanized

The current Thai National Anthem was written in 1939 by Luang Saranupraphan (หลวงสารานุประพันธ์), who won a lyrics contest that was held when the Kingdom’s name was changed from Siam to Thailand (which literally means “Free Land” in Thai).  He submitted his winning lyrics on behalf of the Royal Thai Army. The lyrics for the anthem […]

Jun 13
Thailand’s Saving Face Culture: The Positive Aspects

Last time we talked about the controversial Thai dowry. Today, let’s discuss another aspect of Thai culture that causes consternation among foreigners who work and live in Thailand. That is, the concept of “saving face” and the importance of not doing anything that can cause anyone (including yourself) to “lose face” (เสียหน้า). Face saving culture […]

Jun 11
Thai Astrology (2023) – What is My Thai Horoscope?

Thai astrology is an ancient art form that continues to use the “Prommachart” texts (ตำราพรหมชาติ) of the Ayutthaya period, which flourished from the 14th to 18th centuries. These divination manuals forecast life horoscopes; predicted and interpreted dreams; analyzed auspicious times; advised how to set up a house and choose a spouse; described methods of exorcising […]

Jun 10
In Defense of The Thai Dowry or Bride Price (Sin Sod)

The Thai dowry or bride price, known as a “sin sod” (สินสอด), is a practice that many Westerners view as a backwards tradition. Even some wealthier, educated Thais believe this old wedding custom should be abandoned. Thais jokingly say that the “sin sod” (pronounced sin sawt) is to reimburse the bride’s mom for her “mother’s […]

Jun 10
Sakon Nakhon Thailand Provincial Seal & Motto

Every one of Thailand’s 77 provinces has a provincial seal and motto. In Sakon Nakhon’s, the temple known as Wat Phra That Choeng Chum takes center stage. This highly revered temple in downtown Sakon Nakhon city has a majestic white and gold stupa that was built to cover the footprints of the last 4 Buddhas: […]

Jun 09
Thailand Karmic Cleansing – Mock “Requiem” Funerals

In recent years, mock funerals in Thailand have made international news. During the height of the Covid pandemic, temples such as Wat Bangna Nai in Bangkok attracted 100s of visitors a week who underwent mock funerals in the hope of being “reborn” with better financial luck. However, the ancient Thai Buddhist ritual of the Requiem […]

Jun 08
The Best Thai Desserts Wrapped in Banana Leaves

Thailand has a number of sticky rice desserts that are wrapped in banana leaves which are a must try. These “boiled rice” desserts are especially delicious in Northeastern (Isaan) provinces like Sakon Nakhon, which have some of the best sticky rice in the kingdom. Sticky rice desserts are popular at merit making festivals, and any […]

Jun 05
The Deity & Protector of Thailand’s Forests

If you hike the forests of Thailand, or travel back roads through the woods, you will undoubtedly see a sign for Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation (กรมอุทยานแห่งชาติ สัตว์ป่า และพันธุ์พืช). These signs have a curious emblem or logo that is a mystery to many tourists, who wonder over the identity of the […]

Jun 04
Thailand Full Moon Celebrations: Myths & Legends

Sakon Nakhon not only has the best sunsets in Thailand. It also has some of the most beautiful moonrises, with a full moon rising slowly over undulating mountains and rice fields, taking on new colors as it pushes its way through wisps of clouds. The moon, and the full moon in particular, has special meaning […]

May 21
Yoo vs. Sato vs. Lao Khao (Traditional Thai Spirits)

We’ve discussed what sato is — the homemade rice wine popular in Isaan. Today let’s learn about its kindred spirit yoo (อุ) or lao yoo (เหล้าอุ), which is sometimes incorrectly referred to as lao khao (เหล้าขาว) or white whiskey. Yoo is different from sato (rice wine), as it has a different preparation and fermentation process. […]

May 14
Pangu: Chinese Mythology in Thailand

While there are millions of citizens of Thailand who have Chinese ancestry, the depiction of Chinese mythological characters at Thai temples is rare, except at Chinese Buddhist temples that serve the Chinatown area of a particular province. It is even less common in the Northeast of Thailand (Isaan), where there are fewer Chinese communities, the […]

May 09
The Bulletproof Thai Monk from Sakon Nakhon

Sakon Nakhon has been the birthplace and/or wandering grounds for many famous monks in Thailand, who found the mountains and forest of Sakon Nakhon especially suitable for meditation. One notable Thai monk who is a little lesser known today than he was 50 years ago is Phra Ajahn Wan Uttamo (พระอาจารย์วัน อุตตโม), who was born […]

May 04
What Does a Monk Own in Thailand?

Over the years, some monks in Thailand have appeared quite rich, driving around in Mercedes, flying on private jets, and wearing luxury items. These flamboyant Thai monks often make the news and trouble the Buddhist authorities in Thailand, who rightly see such monks as tarnishing the image of the Kindgom’s national religion. The rationale that […]

May 01
Phi Ta Khon: Thai Ghost Masks & Phallic Symbols

Phi Ta Khon (ผีตาโขน), also known as the Thai ghost mask parade, is a merit-making festival like no other in Thailand. It is held usually in June or July in the Dan Sai district of Loei province. While Thais typically are quite scared of ghosts, and do all they can to avoid them, this lively […]

Apr 30
Dress Code for Temples in Thailand

The dress code for temples in Thailand can be summed up in four words: “Dress comfortably but conservatively.” There are no hard and fast rules that cover all Thai temples, and enforcement varies greatly, but you rarely can go wrong if you follow the comfortable but conservative code — along with easy to slip off […]

Apr 29
Monks in Thailand – Daily Activities

Monks in Thailand have many important roles. The main role of a Thai monk is to provide spiritual guidance and teachings to the people. They also frequently lead ceremonies and rituals, including weddings, funerals, and other important life events. Many revered monks have served as advisors to school and university administrators, as well as to […]

Apr 14
What Year is it in Thailand?

The current Thai year is 2567 BE, which is 543 years ahead of the Western or Gregorian calendar year (2024). While Thai New Year’s Day (Songkran) is celebrated on April 13th, the calendar year is officially moved forward on January 1st. The BE abbreviation in 2567 BE stands for the Buddhist Era. It’s also sometimes […]

Apr 09
The Meaning of Songkran: Its Days, Legends & Traditions

The traditional New Year’s Day in Thailand, celebrated since ancient times, is known as “Songkran Day”. Songkran activities include going to the temple to make merit for yourself and deceased family members, pouring water over Buddha statues, building sand pagodas at temples, blessing elders by pouring water over their hands, and engaging in games with […]

Mar 17
Khaen: Bamboo Musical Wind Instrument – Thailand

The khaen (แคน) is a musical instrument that plays an important role in the cultural landscape of Northeastern Thailand. The khaen is the signature wind instrument of Mor Lam: the traditional music genre of the Northeastern Thai (Isaan) people. It’s importance is so significant that villages throughout Thailand are named after the khaen, with the […]

Mar 12
Kratom Use in Thailand: History, Effects & Benefits

Kratom use in Thailand stretches back hundreds of years and is an integral part of Thai culture, especially in the southern provinces, such as Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat, where the largest numbers of Thai Muslims reside. Kratom is a deciduous tree native to Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. It has big, broad leaves that […]

Feb 23
What is Sato? How to Make & Drink Thai Rice Wine

As February comes to a close in Northeast Thailand, the Thai rice wine (sato) making season begins. While sato (สาโท) can be made all year round, the most popular time for making Thai rice wine is from the end of the cool season through the Songkran holiday in April. Sato is a sweet Isaan wine […]

Feb 12
Traditional Thai Instruments – Thai & Isan Music

Thai music has a rich and diverse history that is closely tied to the cultural and religious traditions of the country. It can be traced back to the early civilizations that lived in the region, including the Khmer Empire and Sukhothai Kingdom, which both had a significant impact on Thai music and dance. During the […]

Feb 04
Sakon Nakhon Poem – Isaan Thailand Poetry in English

We recently asked the Artificial Intelligence ChatGPT bot to write a poem about Sakon Nakhon and were quite surprised by the result of its first attempt at Thai poetry in English. The original Thailand poem hit many of the right notes, mentioning rice fields, temples, lakes, lotus flowers, rolling hills, etc. And we simply made […]

Feb 02
Vithidham School Holds After School Music Festival

The Vithidham School in Sakon Nakhon held a music festival on the evening of February 2nd. Vithidham is known as a “Way of the Dharma” school, which provides students with both moral training and practical skills via field trips throughout Sakon Nakhon Province. The Vithidham School aims to create well-rounded students, and that includes music […]

Jan 31
Dr. Sawai Boonma Receives Prince Narathip Award

Congratulations to our friend Dr. Sawai Boonma (ไสว บุญมา), who was awarded the 2022-23 Narathip Award (รางวัลนราธิปพงศ์ประพันธ์) from the Writer’s Association of Thailand. The Narathip Award is delivered to senior writers whose works have been widely praised. The award was delivered to him by Thanpuying Wiwan Worawan Sreshthaputra, an heir of Prince Narathip Praphanphong (1861-1931), […]

Jan 20
The Albino Water Buffalo in Thailand – Meaning & Symbolism

The water buffalo, along with the elephant, are the two most recognized animal symbols of Thailand. Both have a long and storied history within the Kingdom — as they are strong animals that have helped the Thai people with jobs demanding hard labor. The water buffalo and elephant also have sacred significance in Thailand. You […]

Jan 17
The Thai Lotus Memorial Monument to an Enduring Angel

When traveling Thai villages, you sometimes will see monuments where the dedication (or meaning behind the monument) is unclear. A few hundred meters north of Wat Nong Bua Sang (Sakon Nakhon) there is just such a monument in the form a large, closed lotus flower. It is named the Memorial Monument to an Enduring Angel […]

Jan 10
The Buddha & The Thai Rice Goddess Ceremony

Near Arun Lat Priest’s Camp Site in Sakon Nakhon, there is a lovely white Buddha statue placed at the edge of a rice field. Seeing the Buddha there reminded us of the Thai Rice Goddess Ceremony, which sadly is disappearing from Thai society. This ceremony, which is sometimes called The Beckoning of The Rice Goddess, […]

Jan 01
Chinatown Festival in Northeastern Thailand

Bangkok’s Chinatown on Yaowarat Road is a well-known tourist destination in Thailand. What many tourists don’t realize is there are also Chinese communities in Northeastern Thailand (Isan). For example, Sakon Nakhon has its own Chinatown, which is centered around two Chinese temples: the Chao Pu-Chao Ya Shrine (ศาลเจ้าปู่-เจ้าย่า) and the neighboring Dtai Hong Kong Shrine […]

Jan 01
Traditional Thai Fishing in the Village

If you have spent any time in the Thai countryside during the rainy season, you have undoubtedly seen villagers with traditional Thai fish nets attached to wooden polls. These nets are lowered into overflowing canals and ponds after rains, and then lifted up again, hopefully with some fish caught in the nets. These Thai fishing […]

Dec 28
How to Stop Barking Dogs in Thailand

If you live in Thailand, barking dogs are an annoyance you or your friends’ have likely experienced (the only exception being if you live in an apartment building, but even then Thai soi dogs can be a problem). Many long-time expats in Thailand have been bewildered at times how their neighbors allow their dogs to […]

Dec 28
Thailand Christmas Eve Mass in Sakon Nakhon

Celebrating Christmas in Sakon Nakhon, Thailand does not only include taking a trip to the village of Ban Thai Rae to witness the famous Christmas Star Parade, with its gorgeous Christmas floats, there are Christmas church services (Mass) held at Catholic churches throughout Sakon Nakhon province, which has a greater population of Catholics than any […]

Dec 26
Thailand Christmas Day Festival at St. Joseph School

The Christmas Star Parade in Tha Rae is probably the most famous Christmas festival in all of Thailand, and certainly the most beautiful. However, there are times when people miss the parade due to traffic and not leaving for Ban Tha Rae early enough. If you find yourself in this situation one year, fear not! […]

Dec 24
Thailand Christmas Star Parade Festival

Every year the village of Ban Tha Rae (Thailand) celebrates the Feast of the Nativity (Birth of Christ) with a Christmas Star Parade Festival (ประวัติแห่ดาวท่าแร่). The parade and celebrations are organized by the Catholic Archdiocese of Tha Rae-Nong Saeng, which covers an area of ​​4 provinces: Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Kalasin and Mukdahan. All provinces […]

Dec 10
Sakon Nakhon Winter Thai Arts & Crafts Festival

The Creative Craft Center at Mann Gardens (Sakon Nakhon) is currently holding its Winter Arts & Crafts Festival until December 12th, from 10am – 4:30pm. This Thailand festival provides a great opportunity for residents and tourists to buy affordable and creative gift items for Christmas. Local artisans are selling fine crafts, such as hand-made Thai […]