City Pillar – Prayers For Buddha And Thailand

Shrine of the city pillarAbout a visit to Bangkok’s city pillar

The dancer seems bored, so does the guy who is playing a monk. He falls asleep while the lady is making her traditional moves. She finds out what he is doing and walks to the back of the stage. Then she comes back with some papers and slaps him awake. What follows is a funny dialogue between the two of them. It leaves me wondering, is this part of the act?

Lak Muang

Lak Muang is the Thai worth for city pillar. These are common objects in Thai cities. Most of them are placed in a shrine as they have a strong spiritual function. Bangkok’s city pillar embodies Phra Sayam Thewathirat (Bangkok’s guardian spirit). This object also marks the center of the city.


The pillar is standing in a shrine at Th Ratchadamnoen Nai & Th Lak Muang (The old part of Bangkok). The building is located next to the Grand Palace and a busy intersection. You can recognize this intersection because of the two large elephant statues, which are standing in the middle of the road.

Getting there

Take the Chao Phraya river ferry to Tha Chang pier. From there you can walk in a strait line to Lak Muang, while you keep the Grand Palace on your right. After a while you will see the shrine on the other side of a large intersection. The walk from the pier to the shrine will take about five to ten minutes.

Remember that you march into a heavily touristic area. The Grand Palace absorbs everything in its huge gravity field. Many tourists and scammers orbit around it, so you have to overcome a few obstacles in order to get from the pier to the pillar. Certain problems that will most likely cross your path are tuk tuk driver and bird feeding man. Avoid these dodgy figures at any cost.

What to see

When I visited the temple I was lucky to see some people performing a lá-kon gâa bon (a traditional dance). The dancers wear beautiful colored costumes and a golden head piece. They sing, tell stories and perform dances, which consist of small hand and feed movements. While performing they are accompanied by people who play instruments, like a drum and a wooden xylophone (rá-náht-èhk).

Everyone speaks in Thai during the lá-kon gâa bon performance so it can be hard to understand the story line. However, I recommend watching it as it is a nice display of Thai tradition. Worshipers commission these kind of performances with the intention of earning merit. It is part of a series of prayers and offers that are being performed at this place.

The city pillar

Offers and prayers

People come to this shrine to worship and pray. Therefore, all kinds of praying accessories are available for purchase. The gods give you no excuse to say that you forgot your cash money as there is an ATM available. You can buy accessories like amulets, flowers and incense sticks. You can also purchase oil, which you have to pour in bowls. You offer this oil to worship the birthday of Buddha or to dispel misfortune.

Offering oil for Buddah


Did you ever visit the city pillar in Bangkok? What was your impression of this sight?


Useful Links

  • Tour Bangkok Legacies: A site which offers a lot of information about Bangkok. By visiting thinks link you can read Eric Lim’s detailed description of the city pillar.
  • Virtual Tourist: This link will bring you to the Virtual Tourist page of Lak Muang. There you can watch pictures and read reviews from people who visited this sight.
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Amulet Market Talismans For Luck And Charms

The Amulet market A peek at the Phrachan Amulet Market 

I stare into the red crystal eyes of a small charm. I feel attracted to this strange little object and I am considering to buy it, but then again what do I bring into my house when I purchase this object? Scenes of horror movies run through my head. Will I be cursed or blessed? will I get rich or poor?

I got sucked into a dense network of talisman shops and now I am surrounded by small figures of smiling Buddhas, strange amulets with prints of old monks, charms with exaggerated body parts and lucky teeth in dentures. What fate will these object bring me? I do not know, but I am here to find out.

 A peek at the Amulet Market

This article provides a peek at the Amulet Bazaar in Bangkok. There are many interesting markets in the capital city of Thailand but this bazaar surely is one of the strangest among them. At the various stalls you can buy talismans, charms and small statues. Many Thai people collect or carry these objects. Especially taxi drivers, collectors, monks and people with dangerous jobs are frequent buyers of these products.

Getting there

Assuming that you will come from the center of Bangkok you can take the BTS SkyTrain to Saphan Taksin station. From there you can take the Chao Phraya Express Boat. Get of at the Tha Chang pier. From there it is only a 5 minute walk to the Phrachan Market.


The Phrachan Market is situated at the streets between the Grand Palace and Thammasat university. You find the vendors at Th Maha Rat and Th Phra Chan. Next to Th Phra Chan you will find a covered section which also houses a large variety of vendor shops.

What to see

At the bazaar you find a huge amount of charms and talismans. People are also selling dentures and various statues. The products show figures from Buddhist, Animism and Hinduism faiths. Some of the products have low prices an and others are extremely pricey, especially if they are authentic and when they portrait important monks. You will also find food stalls and shops which sell other products like clothes, books or traditional herbal medicines.

Meaning of the amulets

The amulets and charms serve various purposes. For example you can buy charms that keep your mother-in-law away or talismans who will protect you. There are also charms with red crystal eyes. You buy them to attract potential lovers. They are called Phra Ngang. Most of the talismans and charms are coming from temples in places like Ayutthaya, Sukhothai and Lopburi.

A Phra Ngang charm

The dentures are also coming from temples in Thailand. They are made from the teeth of dead people. People buy them if they need new teeth. They also provide luck to those who purchase them, because they where taken from religious spots. That is why people think that the teeth are blessed.

Why you should visit this sight

The Phrachan Bazaar seems the place to be when you want to start your own temple. The bazaar is suitable for visits during daytime as large parts are covered with a roof. It is an excellent place for buying authentic souvenirs and a must see for collectors and lovers of religious objects.

Did you ever visited the Amulet Market and do you believe in charms and talismans? Share your experiences and opinions in the comments section below.
Useful links


Create your own world


This week the spotlight is on Ralph Waldo Emerson. I created a small biography about Emerson which you can read by clicking on the link below the article. He was a writer, poet lecturer and essayist who created the foundations of the transcendentalism movement. Among the transcendentalists’ core beliefs was the belief in an ideal spirituality that “transcends” the physical and empirical and is realized only through the individual’s intuition.

The publication of Emerson’s 1836 essay Nature is usually considered the moment at which transcendentalism became a major cultural movement. Emerson wrote in his speech “The American Scholar”: “We will walk on our own feet; we will work with our own hands; Divine Soul which also inspires all men.” Emerson closed the essay by calling for a revolution in human consciousness to emerge from the new idealist philosophy:

So shall we come to look at the world with new eyes. It shall answer the endless inquiry of the intellect, — What is truth? and of the affections, — What is good? by yielding itself passive to the educated Will. … Build, therefore, your own world. As fast as you conform your life to the pure idea in your mind, that will unfold its great proportions. A correspondent revolution in things will attend the influx of the spirit.

Emerson believed in individualism, harmony between man and nature. He defines nature as a paradise rather than being ruled by a superior being.

The God inside us

I got inspired by his words and started thinking about my own ideas of god and nature. For me personally when I look at god I think of two things. First of all I feel that I am my own God. I can love, I can give, I can create. It is a wonderful feeling if you realize that you can create your own world. That God is inside you. It is a wonderful feeling that you can overcome anything, become anything you want and achieve anything you want. We human beings are a fantastic life form and we should treat our mind and body with the biggest respect because it is this machine which makes it all possible.


We also should pay respect to everything else around us. Because our surroundings supply us with anything we need. Stay sharp and look for opportunities provided to you. Have a lot of respect for nature as it is our beautiful supplier.

That brings me to my second idea of God. We may be our own personal creators but we are also one with nature. We have to pay respect to the nature around us because that is the place where the real magic happens.

Nature is chaos and order combined into a lush salad of well combined miracles.
It is the way healing comfrey plants grow close to stinging nettle plants. Its the way every animal has his part in the food chain. It is the enormously strong will to live in all humans, plants and animals that makes them make the most epic journeys or the most thoughtful solutions to survive. It is the adjustments like colored camouflage of animals that can go up in their environment. It is the amazing efficiency of ants working together. It is a lonely bright colored flower in a field of greyness.

We live in a beautiful world in a fantastic machine with a magnificent control center. Closer to paradise we will never become. Treasure yourself as much as you can for you are a miracle. Treasure anything around you because you are surrounded by so much other miracles which deserve your love and attention.

Treat your body as a temple, your mind as a library and the world and people around you as its visitors. They will bring you gifts and knowledge when you are good to them and listen to them. Pay respect to them and expand there library with your wisdom. If we do this we will become even better creator’s and our lives will be great and successful. This brings me back to Emerson again who wrote the following beautiful words:


To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty,
To find the best in others,
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.


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