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Thailand Off the Beaten Path Blog

Jul 20
Thailand Airplane Cafe & Coffee House in Sakon Nakhon

In recent years, coffeehouses and cafes have been opening up inside decommissioned airliners and military aircraft. There is the 747 Airplane Bistro in Bangkok, the Air Diamond Cafe & Hotel in Chiang Mai, and the Airbus “Coffee War” Cafe in Sattahip to name a few. One of the most recent additions to the list of […]

Jul 07
Phra Pitda Amulets & Coins in Thailand

Phra Pidta amulets are one of Thailand’s most coveted. The name Phra Pidta (พระปิดตา) translates to the “monk with closed eyes” and refers to a legendary monk who closed all 9 entrances to his body (2 eyes, 2 nostrils, 2 ears, 1 mouth, 1 buttocks, and 1 urethra) in order to achieve deeper levels of […]

Jul 04
Wat Phra That Muen Hin | Luang Pu Sila Sirichanto

Wat Phra That Muen Hin (วัดพระธาตุหมื่นหิน) in Kalasin is home to the revered Thai monk Luang Pu Sila Sirichanto (หลวงปู่ศิลา สิริจันโท), who founded the Thai temple in 2024 and now serves as abbot. A special ceremony attended by Thai government officials and a royal emissary of HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn was held in June to […]

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 09
Thailand’s Hidden Temples – Undiscovered Travel

Thailand is known for its majestic temples, like Wat Phra Kaew, which attract millions of visitors every year. However, Thailand has hundreds of relatively hidden temples, which remain undiscovered to even Thai tourists and are known only by nearby locals. I was reminded of hidden Thai temples, when I discovered a new one myself only […]

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 21
Honoring Sakon Nakhon’s 1st Governor (Wan Chao Khun Chan)

On May 21st, Sakon Nakhon celebrated “Wan Chao Khun Chan” (วันเจ้าคุณจันต์), which honors the life of Phraya Prachanprathet Thani, the first governor of Sakon Nakhon province. Despite overcast skies and occasional drizzle, the event was well-attended by government officials from throughout the province, as well as descendants of the legendary governor, who played a pivotal […]

May 18
Thai Inhalers: Boost Your Memory & Recall with “Ya Dom”

The power of menthol to boost memory has been making news this week, with a recent study in mice demonstrating the cognitive benefits of menthol aromas. However, the power of scents to increase memory and cognitive performance has long been known in traditional Thai medicine. For centuries, Thai folk healers created cognitive boosting aromas by […]

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 13
How Men Vs. Women Speak Thai

I was recently watching Khru Bo’s YouTube Channel “IWantToLearnThai” — a channel I highly recommend for intermediate Thai language students who want to practice their listening skills. Khru Bo does an excellent job with her choice of subject matter, her pacing and repetition, and her overall presentation. However, when watching her videos I was reminded […]

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 06
Comforting Words for the Brokenhearted in Thailand

Live for a while in Thailand, and you are bound to encounter some brokenhearted friends or acquaintances. As a beginning learner of the Thai language, you’ll struggle to find the right Thai words to comfort the person with a broken heart, or as it’s called in Thai “ok hak” (อกหัก), which literally means broken breast […]

May 05
Thailand’s Auspicious White Trumpet Tree (Cana)

The White Trumpet tree, or “Dton Cana” (ต้นแคนา) as it’s called in Thai, is a flowering tree commonly seen in Thailand, especially in or near the rice fields of Isaan. It has large, white trumpet flowers which bloom from March – June.  These bell-shaped flowers often are seen fallen and scattered around the trunk of […]

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 22
Hottest Place in Thailand – Record High Temperature 2024

Update! Just six days after Sakon Nakhon became the hottest place in Thailand, with a record high temperature of 46° Celsius (115°F) in the shade, the Northeastern Province has now recorded in new high temperature of 47.7° C (118°F). The record temperature was recorded at the MySakonNakhon weather station at 3:00 pm on April 28th, […]

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 14
The Secret to Learning Thai For Free (Intermediate Level)

A secret strategy for learning Thai for free at an intermediate or advanced level is to use Thai websites and social media accounts that help Thai people learn English. These resources are filled with conversational English that’s also translated into conversational Thai, as well as other translated English texts you’ll find useful in your daily […]

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 07
The Isaan Monks of Thailand’s Forest Tradition

Sakon Nakhon is considered by many to be the spiritual mecca of Northeast Thailand (Isaan). This is evidenced by the cave exhibition at the Phu Phan Museum, which features life-like sculptures of eight of the most revered forest monks, all of whom had deep spiritual ties to Sakon Nakhon province. The most influential member of […]

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 […]

Apr 04
Wat Sawang Hua Na Kham – Kalasin Temples

Wat Sawang Hua Na Kham (วัดสว่างหัวนาคำ) is one of the most sacred temples of Kalasin province, with a history that stretches back to 1729. The new temple that sits on the grounds has been under development for about the past 15 years. The temple’s most striking feature is its new ordination hall, “Ubosot Isaan Mai […]

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 25
Khanom Dok Bua: Cheap Thai Pancake Dessert

Khanom Dok Bua (ขนมดอกบัว) is a sweet Thai pancake found occasionally at outdoor markets in Thailand. It is one of our favorite snacks, a runner up to Thai fried bananas. While other sweets, such as Roti and Khanom Bueang (ขนมเบื้อง), often are called Thai pancakes, Khanom Dok Bua is the only doughy sweet really deserving […]

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 23
Wat Khao Tham Phra Photo Gallery (วัดเขาถ้ำพระ)

Located in the Phu Phan Mountains of Northeast Thailand, Wat Khao Tham Phra (วัดเขาถ้ำพระ) is one of the most interesting temples of “Undiscovered Thailand“. Built on a hilltop and surrounded by a forest of monkeys, this Sakon Nakhon temple is a true spiritual retreat, where visitors can practice meditation and mindfulness. Guests also will be […]

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 15
Bas-Relief Thai Artwork at Temples in Thailand

Seen above: Ancient bas-relief stone tiles at the Wat Non Sawan (วัดโนนสวรรค์), Phu Din Daeng, temple in Sakon Nakhon, Northeast Thailand. At Thai temples, you’ll often find murals made of tiles with raised images on them that fit together to form a scene from the life of the Buddha or a famous monk. This is […]

Mar 11
The Mythological Kala – Scary Faces at Khmer & Thai Temples

Seen above: A well preserved lintel with carved face of Kala, from an 11th century temple in Thailand (about the same time Phra That Dum was built). The demon-like figure Kala (กาล) is found in ancient Khmer temple art and Hindu-Buddhist iconography throughout Southeast Asia. However, it is one of the lesser known mythological figures […]

Mar 11
Wat Phra That Dum – Sakon Nakhon Khmer Ruins

Wat Phra That Dum (วัดพระธาตุดุม) is a Sakon Nakhon temple complex that contains the ancient ruins of the Khmer era stupa Phra That Dum. Around 1000 years old, it is one of several ancient Khmer ruins in Sakon Nakhon province — the most famous one being the mountaintop ruins of Phra That Phu Phek. New […]

Mar 07
Thailand Mangoes: Amazing Benefits, Varieties, and Uses

Back in the 1700s, during the reign of King Boromakot of Ayutthaya, Prince Dhammathibet wrote a poem honoring the Thai mango, which back then was referred to in Thai as “màak-mûang” (หมากม่วง) or “purple betel nut” — not to be confused with the betel nut that has been traditionally chewed as a stimulant (learn more […]

Mar 06
How to Say Goodbye in Thai

In Thailand, the most common way to say goodbye is the same as the Thai greeting “sàwàt-dee” (สวัสดี) accompanied by a wai gesture. The polite particle khráp (for a man) or khá (for a woman) will of course also be tacked onto the end of the phrase, so it becomes “sà-wàt-dee khrap/kha”. In Thailand guidebooks […]

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 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 at the Funeral of 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 […]

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. […]