Modern Buddhist Paintings at Wat Phrathat Doi Saket

buddha's victory over mara painting at wat phrathat doi saket

For ages, Buddhist temples have used artwork to tell stories. Temple murals often illustrate important events in the life of the Buddha, stories of his previous births, or key events in the history of the temple and famous monks who have lived there. Wat Phrathat Doi Saket is an ancient temple that carries on this tradition with a modern twist. The main assembly hall features recent paintings that express Buddhist … Continue reading…

Get Your OM On at the Ganesha Museum

ganesha statue and pagoda

Who doesn’t love Ganesha? The chubby, elephant-headed Hindu god has been gaining popularity in Thailand in recent years. And one Thai man adores Phra Phi-kha-net (as he’s known in Thai) so much that he built a private museum dedicated to him just south of Chiang Mai. The Ganesh Himal Museum is easy enough to get to if you have your own wheels. Just head south on Hwy 108 past Hang … Continue reading…

Northern Thailand’s Own Sakura Cherry Blossoms

beautiful_sakura_blossom__khun_chang_khian_chiang_mai_thailand

Living in Japan for seven years, one seasonal event that I always looked forward to was the brief, but spectacular blooming of the sakura, or cherry flowers. So naturally, I was excited to find out that Northern Thailand has its own variety of wild cherry that grows in the mountains and creates fabulous pink blossoms each winter. The variety of sakura growing in Thailand is the Wild Himalayan cherry (Prunus … Continue reading…

Mae Nak Shrine – Home to Thailand’s Most Famous Ghost

mae_nak_phra_khanong_statue

One thing you need to know about Thai culture is that Thais take ghosts very seriously. And in this nation of haunted places and ghost stories, none is more famous than the legend of Mae Nak Phra Khanong. It’s a bone-chilling tale of love lost and undying devotion (or would that be undead devotion?) that every Thai knows well. The story has been recreated on stage, for TV, and in … Continue reading…

Koh Lanta – Thai Muslims, Jellyfish, and Magic Mushroom Shakes

empty beach at bamboo bay koh lanta thailand

The island of Koh Lanta is kind of a strange place. It’s the sort of place where Swedish families build sandcastles next to beach bars that serve up psychedelic milkshakes for customers who party all night and won’t fall asleep until after the neighborhood mosque has announced the dawn call to prayer. Coming from the north of Thailand, it really is quite a change up to see the majority of … Continue reading…

The Biggest Buddha in Chiang Mai

the largest buddha statue in chiang mai

Most visitors to Chiang Mai have been to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep on top of the mountain overlooking the town. But there is another holy temple on a mountain top close to the city that few know about. The temple, Wat Prathat Doi Kham, is also home to the largest seated Buddha image in Chiang Mai. Wat Phrathat Doi Kham is actually older than the city of Chiang Mai. It … Continue reading…

Yi Peng and Loy Krathong in Chiang Mai – the Floating Lantern and River Goddess Festivals

Yi-peng celebration in Chiang mai

The Yi Peng festival of Chiang Mai is a unique celebration in Northern Thailand that coincides with Loy Krathong, which is celebrated throughout the country. Chiang Mai is the old capital of the Lanna Kingdom, which for many years co-existed independently with Siam. The North part of Thailand still has a certain character and charm that differs from the rest of the country. This is especially reflected in local festivals … Continue reading…