Discover Thainess

I’ve recently come across TAT’s (Tourism Authority of Thailand) activity ‘DiscoverThainess’ which is a contest that invites non-Thai people to engage in five different categories of activities related to ‘Thainess’. These categories are ‘Thai Boxing’, ‘Thai Cooking’, ‘Thai Dancing’, ‘Making Thai Style Garlands’ and ‘Speaking Thai’. In fact, competitors are asked to do things that are considered to be typical Thai, i.e. characteristic of Thai culture. Hence,…

The Story Of The Buddha

I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value (Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha) The story of Buddhism begins with a man who became enlightened, thus gaining abiding insight into the nature of the world and its reality. Hence, the word ‘Buddha’ means the ‘Enlightened’…

The White Elephant in Thai Culture

In my view, one of the most impressive and majestic animal is the elephant, in particular the white elephant. Hence, in Thai culture the white elephant is called ‘chang samkhan’ which means ‘auspicious elephant’. Whiteness is regarded as an sign of purity in this context. The white elephant has an important meaning in both Hinduism and Buddhism. In Hindu thought, the white elephant is related…

Kang Hed Ha – Another of Chiang Rai’s Hidden Gems of Local Dishes

Kanom Jeen Nam Ngiew (ขนมจีนน้ำเงี้ยว) might be Chiang Rai’s most famous dish. There are a countless number of delicious local menus that are little known to tourists or even local people today.  While some dishes can be widely available in restaurants, some are available seasonally only, and some can be extremely hard to find due to the shortage of ingredients and people with the right…

The Differences Between Western Culture and Thai Culture

The Signs on the Road. In today’s article, I will tackle the specific differences between Western culture and Thai culture. Believe me, there are A LOT of differences in the two cultures and not just in wording and spelling! It goes waaay deeper than that, in so many areas, and the differences could actually surprise you. This is only natural because as human beings, we…

Hindu Gods in Thai Culture

At the Ganesha Park You may certainly have noticed that Hindu gods are very prominent in Thai culture and are a part of Thai religion. Thus, there are often images of these gods in Thai temples and shrines. In fact, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are the three most important Hindu gods representing the recurring and continual cycles of birth, life, death and rebirth. This trinity,…

Spirit Houses in Thailand Protecting and Watching Over Inhabitants

Every Thai Buddhist holiday, my grandmother lit incense sticks and invited the denizens of a miniature house under the rose apple tree to a feast. As a child, I stood by guarding the spread of boiled chicken, rice, oranges, rum, and tea from our dogs, but my real watch was for any sign of spirits that were supposedly enjoying the offering. The small wooden house…

Living in Thailand: How to Fit into a Culture So Different Than Your Own

Leaving home to move to a different country, whether it be for retirement, teaching, volunteering, or studying, can be a stressful and sometimes overwhelming endeavor. When the country you’re moving to is completely foreign and different than your own, it makes that move even more challenging. The challenges of becoming an expat are also part of the fun, but it pays to do your research…

The Supernatural World in Thai Culture

Spirit of mythical princess looms large in Thai cave search Before you apply for a Thailand retirement visa, consider the following. If you’re familiar with Thai culture, you know that belief in ghosts and the supernatural is very prominent. Thus, supernatural beings can be divided into two main groups which are benevolent and malevolent spirits. The benevolent spirits are primarily guardian spirits, for instance the…

Thai Taxi Altars & Talismans

Amulets as blessings on the road In Thailand, a taxi ride may be an introduction to Thai culture and belief. Hence, it might even become a kind of religious experience regarding all the sacred objects and talismans that Thai taxi drivers arrange on their dashboard altars. You may ask yourself the reason for these talismans. Well, since the majority of Thai people are Buddhist, they believe…