Thailands Wats ( Temples )

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One of the most amazing sights in Thailand are the Wats. Not one is alike.  The above picture is from a wat in Bangkok that has a decidedly Chinese influence. From the colors and textures to the sounds and smells they all create a very unique experience for the visitor.

Although each temple is different and can range in size from very small to very large they all incorporate the same elements. Each Wat has an one ordinal hall or Ubosot where new monks are ordained and important ceremonies are held. Each Ubosot will have an alter and at least one Buddha image. The Ubosot is surrounded by 8 Sema stones marking the sacred ground of the temple.

Large Ubosot at That PhanomeAnother Ubosot in BangkokSmall Ubosot in Bangkok

Each temple will also have a Vihara housing important Buddha images where the populace comes to pray. There may be several Vihara at a temple.

Vihara at Pattaya WatVihara at Bangkok WatMany Vihara at Wat Phra That Phanome

Each temple will also have a Chedi or Pagoda that usually houses a relic of the Buddha but may also contain the ashes of an imortant monk or king. Each temple will also incorporate a Naga which is a mythical creature said to have sheltered Buddha while he meditated. They can generally be seen in decorations, roof edges and railings. Most people will confuse the Naga for dragons. The Wat eaves are very decorative as well.

Chedi at Bangkok TempleChedi to an Important monk in BangkokPagoda That Phanome housing Buddha's collar bone

Chedi to revered monk in BangkokDecorative roof eaves at Bangkok WatNaga Rails at Pattaya Wat

Each temple will also have a Sala with is an open sided pavillion used for sermons. Most temples will also have a drum or bell tower to call the faithful to prayer.

Bell tower at Bangkok WatDrum Area at Wat Phra That PhanomeBell tower at Mukdahan Wat

Sala at Pattaya Wat

Each temple will have a Mondop or library which houses sacred scriptures and images.

Mondop at small Bangkok Wat

Temples are a very important part of Thai life They are a place of worship, community gathering places, as well as places where the departed are cremated. Some Wat’s also have schools, meeting rooms and sporting grounds. When visiting a Wat in Thailand one should be respectful and learn the accepted etiquette as not to offend the Thais.

Thailand’s Wat’s are very beautiful and peaceful places to visit and a must see if you’re planning a trip to the kingdom.

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    12 thoughts on “An Update On Learning The Thai Language

    1. I completely agree on your recommendation of Thai English Thai dictionary for iPhone. Been using it for few days now. The makers have thought of everything. I can’t imagine doing without it. $25 may seem stiff but it’s worth more. And I’m not being paid to say this either.

      Would not have seen the app without Cat’s Thai language web pages. Easily the best.

    2. Talen, great to hear your making headway with your studies. The subject of Visa extensions runs riot in our class sometimes. One student received a 9 month extension in one visit… a whoopsie, I think. Each have had different experiences, but all favourable. My turn next month!

      I’m sure I’ll be stressed out and about thinking about all the wrong words when it comes to the crunch. Do you think its OK if I as the immigration officer what time he’s having lunch and where?

    3. Well done Tim, it is good to see you put so much effort in and I’ll bet you’ll soon get to grips with reading. Great tips about the apps. Catherine recommended Byki deluxe to me as well, and that was a great choice. I’ve also got the Thai-English English-Thai software dictionary on my new iPad and it is fantastic.

    4. Talen you passed the immigration class with flying colours, well done.

      I do wish I had bought an iPhone instead of my Samsung. Next time I will. The Thai apps sound great and have got to be a big help in learning Thai ‘on the run’.

      Doot Suay…..I’ve said that to some class ass in my time.

    5. Excellent post Talen. I’ll bet you are totally chuffed at your progress! Even with your health snafus from arrival on, you are getting on fabulously with your Thai studies.

      Thank you for the kind mention

    6. Oh dear, ho hiib still needs some work…

      It doesn’t matter where it is in a word, if it’s used to prefix a low-class consonant (which will always be a nasal, liquid or semivowel, because all the low-class stops have high-class equivalents) the following consonant becomes high-class. So it takes a rising tone, not high. (Or, if it has a tone mark, low (mark 1) or falling (mark 2)). The one tone a high-class consonant can never take by the rules is high! (Nor can a low-class consonant ever take the low tone.)

      (For the pedantic: yes, there are some irregular words that actually have a high tone where you’d expect falling ;-( )

      And ro reua only sounds like s when it follows tho thahaan. After jo jaan and so seua it’s generally silent. If it’s doubled it becomes -a- or -an. Finally it’s always n however many consonants precede it.

      And once you’re outside Bangkok it vanishes altogether and becomes l or h or n depending where you are.

      The classic text which explains all this, and IMHO still the best, is Mary R Haas’

      The Thai System of Writing

    7. If I lived in Thailand, I would not mind providing Thai language lessons for foreigners for free. Though my teaching method would be tough. Satisfaction is almost guaranteed.

    8. ah reading and writing. . .the bane of my existence. okay slight exaggeration. i’m enjoying learning although it has come to a standstill at the moment.

      i think the best part is realizing how things are really pronounced. that has been insightful – and well, it’s just plain fun to practice when i’m around town.

      congrats on passing immigration

    9. If you immerse yourself in the culture it comes much more quickly. Took me about 7 years to master Indonesian, but then again we are lucky to have latin script!

    10. Hi Talen, good post on learning Thai ka. You right the best way to learn is to use in the country…same for me with English. Now my husband learn Thai but now he is in Australia so he not use so much….but when he in Thailand he read all the car number plates to practice speed of saying numbers!! work really well ka…Angella

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