Sacred Siam - the cultural heritage of Thailand

Much of present-day Thailand's culture is founded on a variety of sacred belief systems, including Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, Brahmanism (the precursor to modern Hinduism), animism, shamanism and beliefs imported by Chinese immigrants. To most Thais, these various beliefs complement rather than conflict with each other. Temples, shrines, murals, mountains, caves, spirit houses, monuments, palaces, monks, spirits, deities, ghosts, statues, amulets, tattoos, mythical creatures, festivals, chants, mantras, occult spells and astrology are all part of the rich tapestry of Thai sacred belief, and this site is the place to learn about them all.

To a tourist, temples, monks and Buddha images are the most obvious examples of Thailand's sacred belief, but there is much more - and the more you know, the more rewarding your visit will be.

Wat Bowonniwet Buddha

Phra Chinasee Buddha at Wat Bowonniwet, Bangkok.

Merit-makers going to Wat Tilokaram on Kwan Phayao

Merit-makers take a boat to Wat Tilokaram in Phayao.

Temple mural at Wat Phumin Nan

Temple wall mural at Wat Phumin in Nan.

Monks chant at Wat Sao Tong Thong Lopburi

Monks chant at Wat Sao Tong Thong in Lopburi.

Wat Phra Kaeo stupas

Wat Phra Kaew stupas, Bangkok.

Thai sak yant sacred tattoo

Poster of man receiving a sak yant tattoo.

Hungry Ghost (preta) Thailand

Hungry ghost (preta) as imagined in Thailand.