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Thailand Off the Beaten Path Blog

Feb 29
Thai Butterfly Pea Tea – Nootropic Blue Tea

For centuries, Thai Butterfly Pea Tea (also known as Blue Tea) has been treasured in Thai culture as a delicious nootropic with potent healing properties. Known as “Cha Anchan” (ชาอัญชัน) in Thai, this vibrant brew is sourced from the petals of the Clitoria ternatea flower, which gives it its distinctive blue hue — and yes, […]

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 24
The Best Thai Coffee: Jeed Jad on the Moon (Chiang Mai)

It’s been a while since we tried a new brew in our search for the best coffee in Thailand, so today we will review Jeed Jad On the Moon from SnoozeintheGlum Coffee. This light roast Thai coffee contains 9 different flavors of beans, and is harvested from the Galyani Vadhana (กัลยาณิวัฒนา) district in Chiang Mai […]

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 21
Ajarn Fan Acharo & HM King Bhumibol the Great (Rama IX)

Seen Above: HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej (The Great) and Queen Sirikit of Thailand visiting the Buddhist Monk Luang Pu Fan Acharo King Bhumibol the Great (Rama IX) had a long relationship with the revered Isaan monk Ajarn Fan Acharo (pronounced “ajahn fun ajaro”). His Majesty would often visit Wat Pa Udom Somphon in Phanna Nikhom […]

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 13
Young Thai Artists Exhibition: Area63 SNRU 2024

Young Thai artists are getting better every year, as is seen in a new exhibition of paintings at the Thongthawapee Art Gallery (หอศิลป์ทองทวาปี มหาวิทยาลัยราชภัฏสกลนคร) in Sakon Nakhon, Northeast Thailand. The name of this vibrant art show is “Area63: Boundary Free Art of the 9 Styles”. It’s the senior thesis exhibition from art students at Sakon […]

Feb 12
Esoteric Symbols in Thai Buddha Statues

Most people aren’t aware of “mystical Thailand” and the esoteric symbols found in many Thai Buddha statues. These hidden symbols make temple visits all the more interesting, when you realize they are waiting to be discovered. For example, take this blue Buddha statue at Samnak Song Hin Taek Phawana (seen above). Note the serpent at […]

Feb 10
How to Build a Thai Temple: Rules & Regulations

As we discussed in our article “How Many Temples Does Thailand Have?” there are over 43,000 temples the Kingdom. This might lead you to wonder how hard it is to get approval to build a Thai temple? Well, as the 43K+ number suggests, it is not too difficult actually. So, if you have a nice […]

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 20
Third Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge (3) in Nakhon Phanom

Nakhon Phanom is one of 4 places where a Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge has been built — the other 3 locations being in Nong Khai, Mukdahan, and Chiang Rai province. A 5th Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge (Beung Kan – Bolikhamxai) is set to open later in 2024, and a 6th bridge (Ubon Ratchathani – Salavan) has plans […]

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 09
Laos Limestone Mountain Karsts – Nakhon Phanom Views

The cool season is the best time of year to visit Nakhon Phanom and view the limestone hills of Laos, as the view is much crisper, with less haze. The cliffs are located just across the Mekong River and rise up like jagged teeth, evoking the great Naga serpents that are said to live in […]

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 […]

Dec 12
How to See Undiscovered Thailand

If you are planning a Thailand “Off the Beaten Track” holiday (or if you want to discover hidden Bangkok, Chiang Mai, or Phuket) it’s important to learn “how to see” undiscovered Thailand. This involves developing a few easy-to-learn skills, and building a new mindset: one that reframes your outlook from tourist taker to beauty explorer. […]

Dec 10
Thailand Solo Art Exhibition: Ink Drawings

The Thongthawapee Art Gallery at Sakon Nakhon Raabhat University is home to both collective and solo art exhibitions of Thai artists, in particular artists from the North of Thailand (Isaan), many of whom are considered among the best artists in Thailand. The university gallery is currently hosting the first solo exhibition of Thai artist Piriya […]

Dec 09
Thailand Street Art (Soi Sin) – Thai Alley Artists

In recent years, Thailand street art has become popular among Thais and tourists. Artwork on the street is referred to as “Soi Sin” or “Sin Nai Soi” in the Thai language. The word “sin” (ศิลป์) is a shortened version of the word “sinlabpa” (ศิลปะ), both of which mean “art” or “artistic,” while the word “soi” […]

Dec 03
Thailand Lakeside Retreat: Nam Un Reservoir

One of the loveliest places in Northeast Thailand is the area around Nam Un Reservoir in Sakon Nakhon. Nong Han Lake, the largest natural lake in Northeast Thailand, tends to get all of the attention among tourists to Sakon Nakhon, but the beautiful Nam Un Reservoir, with rolling Phu Phan mountains clearly visible in the […]

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 16
The 7th Rajabhat University National Research Conference

Sakon Nakhon Rajabhat University had the honor and pleasure of hosting The 7th Rajabhat University National and International Research and Academic Conference (RUNIRAC VII). The scholarly conference was held on the campus from November 14th – 16th (2023). Sakon Nakhon Rajabhat University often has the honor of hosting large events. Every year it hosts the […]

Nov 12
Wat Sawang Tek Somboon – Thai Temple Photo Gallery

Wat Sawang Tek Somboon (วัดสว่างเต็กสมบูรณ์) is a village temple in Sakon Nakhon. Its name means The Bright Temple of the Perfect Architect. This is an unusual name for a Thai temple, and its the only one with such a name in Thailand. The Thai word “tek” (เต็ก) is an abbreviation of the English word architect, […]

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 19
How to Stay Out of Trouble in Thailand

Thailand is generally a very safe country to travel in — especially if you use some common sense. When in the densely populated tourism areas of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, or Phuket there usually is little to worry about, even late at night. However, when traveling off the beaten path in Thailand, extra precaution should […]

Oct 18
Wat Phutthamok Phalaram (Photo Gallery)

Wat Phutthamok Phalaram (วัดพุทธโมกพลาราม) is a vast complex of temple grounds currently being developed by the well-known and highly revered abbot Luang Pho Noon Suwichayo (หลวงพ่อหนุน สุวิชโย), also spelled Luang Phor Nun Suwichayo — who is a disciple of the famous Buddhist meditation master and mystic Luang Phor Lersi Lingdam (หลวงพ่อฤาษีลิงดำ) of Uthai Thani. Luang […]

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 21
Thailand Eggs: Tasty Dishes & The Thai Omelette

*Seen above is a special skillet used to fry quail eggs in Thailand. If you love eggs, Thailand has many delicious types of eggs and dishes made with eggs. Farm fresh eggs often taste better in Thailand, especially at street food vendors in rural provinces, because the eggs were bought from village egg sellers with […]

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 18
Patongko: The Best Donuts in Thailand

Patongko (ปาท่องโก๋), or Thai donuts, are a Thai street food that TasteAtlas has ranked one of the top 5 desserts in the world, followed by Thailand’s mango sticky rice (khao niao mamuang) at #11, fried bananas (gluay thawt) at #45, and bamboo sticky rice (khao lam) at #48. So, the best donuts in Thailand are […]

Sep 16
Thai Novice Monks & The Naga Serpent of Thailand

Anyone who has visited Thailand has seen Naga serpent statues at temples. But did you know that novice monks are also called “naga” — or as it is spoken in Thai: “nak” (นาค). How did novice Thai monks come to be called Naga? One story says that a Naga King named Nandopananda wanted to become […]

Sep 15
Thai Temple Bell Towers, Drums & Gongs

Thai temple bell towers, known as Ho Rakang (หอระฆัง), traditionally have played a central role of village life in Thailand. Years ago, when most villagers didn’t own clocks (much less smartphones), the temple’s bell, drum, or gong would sound periodically throughout the day as the village timepiece. Today, one of the main functions of a […]

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 09
Lost Phone in Thailand – What to Do – Keep Your Number

If you have lost your phone in Thailand, you can still keep your old phone number. The process is simple, because when you buy a Thai SIM card, you need to show identification. For expats, this usually means showing your passport. Your phone service provider now will have your identification on record. If your phone […]

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 04
Thai Tamarind: So Tasty But Beware!

Tamarind in the Thai language is called má-kăam (มะขาม). Its history in Thailand stretches back over 700 years. Tamarind is believed to have originated in Africa, and then brought to Thailand sometime prior to the reign of King Ram Khamhaeng (Rama the Bold), who ruled the ancient Sukhothai kingdom from 1278 -1 298. Tamarind is […]

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 28
Store Bamboo Shoots for Eating In Thailand

Thailand grows the most delicious bamboo in the world. Almost everyone who lives in the Thai countryside has easy access to wild bamboo. So, it’s one of the many free foods that Thai people take advantage of when making dishes such as bamboo shoot curry, fried bamboo shoots with pork, and bamboo shoot soup. Bamboo […]

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
The Most Common Butterfly in Thailand

One of the most common butterflies in Thailand is the Common Mormon, a species of Swallowtail butterfly. One of the most fascinating aspects of the Common Mormon butterfly is its mimicry behavior. It exhibits multiple forms, each mimicking different toxic or inedible butterfly species. This mimicry provides protection from Thai predators as they mistake the […]

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 05
The Best Thai Robusta Coffee – Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Previously we talked about how Tak province produces some of the best Robusta coffee in Thailand. A close competitor are the coffee growers in nearby Kanchanaburi province. These farmers, like those in Tak, are largely members of the Karen mountain tribe. In recent years, they have developed boutique coffee plantations in the Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife […]

Aug 04
Learn How to Speak the Isaan Language Quickly

The Northeast of Thailand is called Isaan. It also is spelled Isan, Esan, or Esarn, as there is no single accepted way to transcribe Thai words into English. The official language of Isaan is Thai. However, the language commonly spoken among friends and family members is the Thai dialect also known as Isaan. This dialect […]

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 […]

Aug 02
How to Get Rid of Ants in Thailand

If you live in Thailand, you likely have had unwelcome ants in your home, especially on kitchen countertops and cabinets. During the rainy season, ants become even more plentiful as they escape their flooded nests in search of someplace dry, such as behind the ceilings or walls of a Thai house. The Best Ant Killer/Bait […]

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 25
Phu Pha Yon Mountain – National Parks in Thailand

Phu Pha Yon Mountain, which is part of Phu Pha Yon National Park, is one of the best places in Thailand for people who love nature, history, and the spiritual life. Phu Pha Yon translates to “Sacred Mountain”. It is the location of the Phu Pha Yon Petroglyphs: ancient rocks carvings that are over 3,500 […]

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 20
Treat a Scorpion Sting in Thailand

With the rainy season upon us, many people are seeing scorpions in Thailand — as the scary-looking arachnids escape from their flooded burrows. While there are treatments such as hydrocortisone cream to apply to a scorpion sting, Thais have been treating such stings for centuries, long before modern medicines. So, instead of heading to a […]

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 06
How to Renew a Thai Driving License Online

In Thailand, you cannot renew a Thai driving license online. However, you can partly complete the process online, so that you can get a new license more quickly. In the past, you had to sit through an hour of watching horrible traffic accident videos shot in Thailand, along with a few driving tips and rules, […]

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 30
Amazing Dark Sky in Thailand | Stargazing & Astronomy Tours

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has launched a stargazing tourism project called “Amazing Dark Sky in Thailand.” It includes 12 official stargazing spots, in provinces such as Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Chaiyaphum. Unfortunately, Sakon Nakhon wasn’t included among the official places. But as we mentioned in our post on the best place to watch […]

Jun 24
Sakon Nakhon: Questions & Answers

What is Sakon Nakhon known for? Sakon Nakhon is known as the birthplace of Indigo dyed fashion in Thailand. It’s Wax Castle Festival and Christmas Star Parade have made news worldwide. The province’s organic cattle farm cooperative Pon Yang Kham produces the best beef in Thailand, with a flavor that some experts say is tastier […]

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: […]