Prang Ku Kaew Khmer Ruin

prang tower

Set in a small grove of tall trees, Prang Ku Kaew (ปรางค์กู่แก้ว) is one of the arogayasala hospital temples built by King Jayavarman VII (r. 1182-1219). It faces east and follows the standard arogayasala design, although nothing remains of the bannalai, which would have been inside the enclosure, and the sacred pond, which would have sat outside it to the northeast. The laterite prang toppled, and in its place locals… Read More

Boon Songkran Photo Essay

woman putting flowers on sand stupa

These photos are from the Boon Songkran (บุญสงกรานต์) celebration at Wat Phothiwararam in Udon Thani city in April 2019. Thanks to everyone for making us feel welcome and especially to Khun Mon for answering my many questions. For more information, there’s an explanation of Boon Songkran and an overview of heet sip-song, the twelve Isan merit-making traditions. While Songkran, the Thai New Year, is famous for its water wars that last at least three… Read More

Boon Berk Bahn Photo Essay

clay figurines for Boon Berk Bahn

These photos are from the Boon Berk Bahn (บุญเบิกบ้าน) ceremony in Ban Kham Aw village, Udon Thani province on February 7, 2019. Thanks to Mae Wong and her family for being great hosts. This village doesn’t celebrate either Boon Khun Lan or Boon Khao Jee as individual ceremonies, but this event (aka Boon Duean Sahm, the “Third Month Merit-Making Tradition”) includes features from both. For more information see the overview of heet sip-song, the twelve Isan… Read More

Thai Street Signs

Naga street sign from Phetchaburi city

This is a continually updated photo gallery of street signs from around Thailand. Not only are street signs in many Thai towns beautiful, their creative designs are based on local landmarks, history, culture, legends, industries, etc. Click on each photo to see it large. Central Thailand Eastern Thailand Northeastern Thailand Northern Thailand Southern Thailand

The Legend of Nang Usa from Phu Phrabat

Nang Usa's tower in Phu Phrabat Historical Park in Udon Thani, Thailand.

Phu Phrabat Historical Park, spread out around the top of a small mountain range, was an important Dvaravati religious site from around 1000-1200 CE. It was deep wilderness, but as many as 100 monks resided here and they adapted the rocky landscape into shrines and dwellings. Many Buddhist rock carvings and bai sema sacred boundary stone markers from that period remain, as well as pre-Dvaravati cave paintings. But the natural… Read More