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Category: Thai Culture

Jun 18
Manita Farmer (Miss Thailand) Boosts English in Sakon Nakhon

On July 18th, Sakon Nakhon Rakabhat University will welcome Thai cultural ambassador Manita “Nita” Duangkham Farmer (มานิต้า ดวงคำ ฟาร์มเมอร์), winner of the 2022 Miss Thailand competition. Nita was born of a Thai mother and American father, becoming the first “look kreung” (ลูกครึ่ง) or half Thai/half foreigner to win the pageant’s crown. Nita Manita (นิต้า มานิตา), […]

Jun 17
How to Cure Bad Luck in Thailand

The chanting of mantras is an important part of Thailand’s religious traditions, and can be traced to its Buddhist beliefs, as well as its ancient Hindu and animist beliefs. Anyone who visits Thai temples will see various mantras or “katha” (คาถา) spells printed on signage next to statues of sacred figures, such as the Buddha, […]

Jun 03
Ananda Mahidol Day in Thailand (2024) – King Rama VIII

King Ananda Mahidol (right) with his brother Prince Bhumibol (center) and Former Regent Pridi Banomyong (left) in 1945 On June 9th (2024), Thailand honors the life and legacy of King Ananda Mahidol, also known as King Rama VIII. This yearly memorial is known as Wan Ananda Mahidol (วันอานันทมหิดล), and includes various events of remembrance, the […]

Jun 01
Is Thailand a Dangerous Country to Visit?

Whenever a tourist in Thailand has a rare violent encounter, online travel forums like Reddit usually blow the news out of proportion, while spreading unfounded warnings that Thailand is a dangerous place to visit — when the reality is entirely the opposite. The readers of DestinAsia recently ranked Bangkok the best city to visit in […]

May 31
Kon Mee Sanay: Charming & Enchanting Thai Women

In Thailand the two most common words used to describe an attractive woman are sŭay (สวย) and nârák (น่ารัก), which translate to “beautiful” and “cute,” respectively. But sometimes you may feel that neither of these words are the right one to describe a truly captivating Thai woman. In the Thai language, the compound word “mee […]

May 30
Dai Yin: The Art of Hearing & Speaking in Thailand

When discussing how the Thai language impacts Thai culture, people often talk about the multiple meanings of the Thai word “jai” (heart, mind, and spirit), and the hundreds of other words with “jai” as a prefix or suffix — which are popularly categorized as “Thai Heart Talk“. However, there’s another word that’s important to understanding […]

May 29
King Prajadhipok: The Last Absolute Monarch of Thailand

Seen Above: King Prajadhipok of Siam with his wife Queen Rambhai Barni in England. On May 30th (2024), the Thai people honor the 83rd anniversary of the death of King Prajadhipok (วันคล้ายวันสวรรคต ร. 7), the last absolute monarch of Thailand, or Siam, as it was known back then. King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) was born on […]

May 28
Atthami Bucha Day in Thailand

A lesser-known Buddhist holiday in Thailand during the month of May is Atthami Bucha Day (วันอัฏฐมีบูชา), which occurs a week after the more celebrated Visakha Bucha Day. The term “Atthami” means “eighth day of the lunar month” and “Bucha” means “to honor or pay homage.” The day falls on the eighth day of the waning […]

May 25
Prostration in Thailand: A Buddhist History & Tradition

Every few years in Thailand, the subject of prostration comes up. Sometimes it’s brought up by Thai university students at a major Bangkok university like Chulalongkorn. Other times its criticisms made by foreign journalists or academics who, despite having lived in Thailand, have a poor understanding of the Thai language and Thai Buddhism — both […]

May 17
Phra Khun Paen: Thai Love Spells & Amulets

Sacred amulets that provide good fortune in various ways (including love) are very popular in Thailand. These amulets are frequently made by Thai monks, and have certain mantras or Buddhist chants that are attached to them. These chants are to be recited to receive the full force of the amulet’s power. One of the most […]

May 16
Visakha Bucha Day in Thailand (2024)

Visakha Bucha Day (วันวิสาขบูชา), also known as Vesak Day, is one of the most important Buddhist holidays celebrated in Thailand. It commemorates three significant events in the life of Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha: his birth, his enlightenment, and his passing away, which are said to have all occurred on the same day: the full […]

May 15
Karma in Thai Language & Culture

Previously, I talked about how Thai language and culture is intertwined with the “dharma” or teachings of Buddhism — the word “tham” (ธรรม) being the Thai word for “dharma,” as well as a root word for many other Thai words. Today, we will discuss how the Buddhist belief in “karma” is also woven into the […]

May 11
The Hidden Dharma of Thai Language & Culture

The deep connection between the Buddhist culture of Thailand and the Thai language is illustrated best by the usage of “tham” (ธรรม), meaning dharma. While the word “tham” has additional meanings, such as justice, righteousness, normality, and lawfulness, these meanings always are intertwined with dharma — which refers to the teachings of the Buddha and […]

May 08
The Royal Ploughing Ceremony in Thailand – A History

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony, known in Thai as “Raek Na Khwan,” is an ancient rite observed in Thailand that marks the traditional beginning of the rice-growing season and accompanying rains. The phrase “Raek Na Khwan” (แรกนาขวัญ) translates to “The First Field of Khwan” — Khwan being a life sustaining spirit that is said to exist […]

May 07
Dying Well the Buddhist Way in Thailand

Buddhist monks in Thailand often teach that death is the most important test we take in life. Other tests can be taken over and over again, always with an opportunity for improvement. But we have only one chance at the test called death. And it’s a test we may be forced to take unexpectedly at […]

May 01
The Ten Virtues of a Righteous King of Thailand

Seen Above: King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, along with the current King of Thailand, HM Maha Vajiralongkorn (in uniform), in Sakon Nakhon Province As we approach Coronation Day in Thailand, now is a good time to reflect on the “Tenfold Virtues of the Ruler,” otherwise known as the Dasavidha-Rajadhamma. These principles are a Buddhist Dharma […]

Apr 30
Coronation Day – Thailand Public Holiday (2024)

Seen Above: His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand at his Coronation Ceremony Coronation Day is a national public holiday in Thailand, which in the Thai language is called “Wan Chat-Mongkol” (วันฉัตรมงคล). It is currently held every year on May 4th. King Mongkut of Siam, who reigned from 1804 – 1868, created the Thai word […]

Apr 29
The Wish Fulfillment Mantra (Katha) of Thailand

Seen Above: A statue of the Thai monk Luang Phor Noon Suwichayo, and a giant statue of the Buddha on his temple grounds at Wat Phutthamok Phalaram in Sakon Nakhon, Thailand. In mystical Thailand, there are certain Buddhist monks who are known for creating special incantations or mantras known as “katha” (คาถา), which are believed […]

Apr 27
Monogamy and the Mia Noi in Thailand

In Thailand, the practice of married men having a “mia noi” (เมียน้อย), or “minor wife,” is a tradition which has its roots in the culture of old Siam. The kings of the Ayutthaya and Rattanakosin periods had many wives, classified in different categories, the highest level being that of “Pharaya Luang” (ภรรยาหลวง) or “Royal Wife”. […]

Apr 22
How to Greet a Monk in Thailand – Saying Hello

One of the most fascinating things you can do in Thailand is to visit temples off the beaten tourist track. If you take this path of the intrepid traveler, you’ll likely encounter Thai monks. It’s therefore important to know how to greet a Buddhist monk properly, so that they will feel at ease on seeing […]

Apr 21
The Thai Belief in Khwan: Spiritual Gift Giving in Thailand

Those who have lived in Thailand likely know that the Thai word for gift is “khong-khwan” (ของขวัญ). But have you ever wondered about the origin of this word? Students of the Thai language are familiar with the word “khong” (ของ), which means “of” or “belonging to”. But what, or who, is “khwan” (ขวัญ)? The meaning […]

Apr 20
Namo Tassa: Thai Chanting at Temples in Thailand

If you have visited a Thai temple during any kind of ceremony or merit making, you likely have heard monks leading the “Namo Tassa” chant, which is a fundamental recitation in Theravada Buddhism (the religion of Thailand) — and a chant which always precedes any other Thai chanting. The Namo Tassa comes from the Pali […]

Apr 13
Sanook Culture in Thailand & The Thai Word for Fun

Previously I talked about the Thai word for love, rák (รัก), and the feelings it evokes compared to the word for love in other languages. With the Thai New Year’s festival of Songkran upon us, I thought it a good time to discuss the word for fun in Thai, which is sànòok (สนุก). Like the […]

Apr 12
Heet Sip Song: Isaan Thailand Merit Making Traditions

Heet Sip Song (ฮีตสิบสอง) are monthly merit-making events in the Isaan region of Northeast Thailand. The word “heet” in Isaan means “a time-honored tradition” — being related to the Thai word “jareet” (จารีต), which has the same meaning. Sip Song meanwhile means “twelve,” referring to each of the monthly merit making events throughout the year. […]

Apr 11
Phu Phan Museum Rotunda Mural – Sakon Nakhon Art

Previously, we’ve talked about bas-relief Thai artwork, how it’s made, and classic examples of it at the Ajarn Fun Acharo Museum at Wat Pa Udom Somphon. There is a lovely bas-relief tile mural at the Phu Phan Museum’s open air rotunda. However, the museum hasn’t taken the necessary steps to protect the tiles with proper […]

Apr 10
Seri Thai in Northeast Thailand | Free Thai Movement WW II

The Seri Thai Movement, meaning “Free Thai Movement,” was a significant part of Thailand’s history during World War II. This underground resistance group worked against the Japanese occupation of Thailand, which began in 1941 after the Thai government under Field Marshal Plaeck Phibunsongkhram (แปลก พิบูลสงคราม) was coerced into an alliance with Japan. Volunteers in Northeastern […]

Apr 09
The Thai King who Smiles and Never Rests

During his 70 year reign, King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great of Thailand was popularly known as “the Father of all the Land” (พ่อหลวงปวงแผ่นดิน). He wasn’t regarded as a stern parent, but a kind father who always had Thailand’s best interests at heart. This aspect of HM King Bhumibol doesn’t get discussed enough. Historically, Kings around […]

Apr 08
The Thai Word for Love: Its Cultural Meaning in Thailand

I’ve written before how the Thai language shapes Thai culture and the personality of the Thai people. For example, how the brevity of the language encourages concrete thought versus abstraction. Today, I’m going to talk about how the sound of a single word informs Thai culture. That word is “love”. Or as it’s said in […]

Apr 06
Thai Kaloeng Tribe of the Mekong Basin & Phu Phan Mountains

Above Photo: Thai Kaloeng women from the early 1900s. Note that Siamese women commonly went topless (or semi-topless) until the mid 1800s, when the colonial powers started visiting. Then the practice began to fade, but continued in Northeast Thailand (Isaan) until the 1930s. The Thai Kaloeng (ไทกะเลิง) — also spelled Tai Kaleung or Thai Kalerng […]

Apr 05
The Thai Yoi Tribe of Northeast Thailand

Seen Above: Thai Yoi faculty members at Sakon Nakhon Rabjabhat University, dressed in traditional indigo-dyed attire. The Thai Yoi (ไทโย้ย) immigrated to Northeast Thailand from the region around the Hom Thao Huse River (แม่น้ําฮ่อมท้าวฮูเซ) in the Khammouane Province of central Laos. First arriving in Sakon Nakhon during the 1800s, tribe members settled largely in Amphur […]

Mar 29
The Buddhist Era: How to Read Thai Dates

Thailand is the only country that uses the Buddhist Era calendar as its official date system, so it’s an important aspect of Thai life to understand. In the Thai language, the Buddhist Era is referred to as “PuttaSakarat” (พุทธศักราช). It gets abbreviated to the initials “พศ” when written beside dates, as frequently is seen in […]

Mar 24
Thailand’s Buddhist Vision of Hell in Literature & Temples

Depictions of Hell at Thai temples will often feature sinners in a boiling cauldron of blood or water, as seen here at Wat Khao Tham Phra in Sakon Nakhon (Northeast Thailand). Terrifying representations of hell have been used by most societies to encourage good behavior and tamp down on evil. Thailand is no different in […]

Mar 20
Sufficiency Economy Rajabhat University Project for Thailand

In honor of King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, and to strengthen the legacy of his Sufficiency Economy Philosophy, we have developed a project proposal for Rajabhat Universities in Thailand. Rajabhat universities are publicly funded universities, similar to State Universities in the United States. In fact, like State Universities, Rajabhat Universities started out as “Teacher’s Colleges,” […]

Mar 18
A Defense of Thailand’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy

King Bhumibol the Great of Thailand had many accomplishments during his 70 year reign, but his greatest legacy might be his promotion of a Sufficiency Economy, which is a socio-economic philosophy that emphasizes moderation, self-sufficiency, and resilience to external shocks. His Majesty first introduced the concept of Sufficiency Economy in the late 1970s and early […]

Mar 17
The Architecture of Village Houses in Northeast Thailand

In the early 1960s, Pete Seeger made famous the Malvina Reynold’s song “Little Boxes,” which satirized the cookie-cutter existence of life in the suburbs of America, where people “all come out the same”. Today, the monotonous march of mechanized living stretches worldwide. Even in Thailand, there are neighborhoods filled with houses that all look alike, […]

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
Asahna Bucha Day (2024) in Thailand

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 […]