Daily Archives: September 14, 2005

Culture in Pattaya

I was telling you the other day about a recent trip I went on to Pattaya. As it is the main beach resort for people living in Bangkok I have been there many times. Some people go there as a day trip but really it is best to stay at least one night. On long holiday weekends, it can take you 2-3 hours to go there. Our nearest beach is at Bangsaen which I have talked about before. This is only just over an hour away. Pattaya has more of a nightlife and most people don’t see it as a place to soak up some culture during a break from sunbathing. However, this is what we tried to do last weekend.

Wat Yansangwararam, 15 kms south of Pattaya

Our day started with a tour around the magnificent Sanctuary of Truth. From here we drove about 15 kms south of Pattaya along Sukhumwit Road. At the KM 160 marker we turned off to visit Wat Yansangwaram. It felt like this temple was in the middle of no-where and I wasn’t expecting to see many people. However, this is one of the most important temples in Thailand as it is under patronage of His Majesty the King. Spread around its 145 acres there is a mondop which has a replica footprint of the Lord Buddha and a stupa with relics of the Lord Buddha and his disciples. There are also international pavilions with architectural styles representing half a dozen different countries.

From here we drove a short distance to Cheechan Hill. This is a famous local landmark which you can see from miles away. The 130 metre high Buddha image has been carved into the rock face with the aid of a laser. The effect is really amazing.

We next drove a short distance back to Wiharnsien which is an important Chinese temple. This is still within the grounds of Wat Yansangwaram. This temple contains many Thai-Chinese antiques and pieces of art. There is a 50 baht entrance fee but it is well worth it.

By this time it was already mid-afternoon and we were starving. We decided to head to the nearby Nongnooch Tropical Gardens for some lunch. This 600 acre garden has two man-made lakes and thousands of plants such as bonsai, cactus, palms, orchids and ferns. There is also a mini zoo. The tram tour of the gardens is well worth it. The highlight for many people is the cultural shows which take place three times daily. You can see traditional Thai dancing, ceremonies, martial arts and an elephant show. Entrance to the gardens is only 100 baht, but if you want to see the show as well you need to pay 500 baht. Thai price is 250 baht.

If you have been to Pattaya, can you suggests any more locations with a cultural theme?

Feng Shui Colours

When I was at Impact Meung Thong Thani (อิมแพ็ค เมืองทองธาน ), in 2003, I was shocked to see a sea of violet flags….. I was thinking to myself, the Thais must really like the colour purple. But why only purple, I asked myself?

Feng Shui Colours

It was much later that I found out that purple represents Saturday, and since Her Royal Highess Crown Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn was born on Saturday, her Royal Standard is a Chakri Emblem with a violet background. Interestingly, it was at Meung Thong Thani, I got my first glance at Her Royal Higheness —- she was simply majestic…… Today, I still have her poster in my study room.

In Thailand, two more popular Royal Flags are the Yellow Royal Standard of His Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej and the Blue Royal Standard of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.

But what about colours and what do colours represent in Thai/Indian Brhamanic culture?

Today Thais, especially of Chinese descent have a very strong believe for Feng Shui Colours (The Science of the Wind and Water), and each day is attributed to a certain colour as well as an auspicious planet.

Sunday Phra Arthit (Sun God) อาทิตย์ Red แดง
Monday Phra Jan (Moon God) จันทร์ Yellow แกลือง
Tuesday Phra Angkarn (Mars) อังคาร Pink ชมพู
Wednesday Phra Phut (Mercury) พุธ Green เบ๊ยว
Thursday Phra Pareuhat (Jupiter) พฦหัส Orange ส้ม
Friday Phra Suk (Venus) ศุกร์ Sky Blue พ้า
Saturday Phra Sao (Saturn) เสาร์ Violet ม่วง

Well, if you are born on Sunday, your lucky colour is Red. Thus, whenever, you have a special event, such as a new job interview, first date, etc etc, you wear the colour red. Seriously, it need not be a red suit, but a merely small token such a red pen, a red handkerchief, or even a set of red ear-rings.

Colour Feng Shui is now among the newest trend in the West, but it seems the Thais have long discovered how to use colours to enhance one’s luck. Well, if you are on a holiday to Thailand, you would notice how important colours to the Thais are. For example in Phra Tinang Vimarnmek, you would see an abundance of the colour pink. That’s because His Majesty King Rama V Chulalongkorn was born on a Tuesday.

If you note the colour black is missing from the Thai colour palette. For the uninitiated, the colour black represents the ‘middle night’ of Wednesday, when Phra Rahu (The God of Eclipses) edges out his brother Phra Arthit and Phra Jahn to rule the cosmos….. Thus, on Wednesdays it seems, there are always less parties in Krungthep Maha Nakorn.

There are special ways to harness Colour Feng Shui to one’s benefit. However, I reckon, it is best to consult a Thai Brahmin or a Thai Monk on how to best used Feng Shui Colour. Generally, the lucky colour depends on the day and time one person is born. And also the best day to make merit is on one’s day of birth, of if that is not possible, wear your birth colour when making merit!

Nonetheless of all colours, Thais have a penchant for red. There is this popular saying

Ja tuk reuh peang
Whether cheap or expensive

ao deng wai gon
Take anything red first

PS Acharn Richard wrote a similar posting earlier, I hope I have not ‘infringed’ on his earlier writings