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Wa (ว้า)

Name of a hill tribe in northern Thailand. Although only a few thousand live in Thailand, they are a large people with their majority living in Burma and Yunnan, where their number is estimated at around two million. Besides this, they are perhaps one of the most indigenous people in the region. Headhunters at first, then communists, many now have become illicit drug providers. According to some, Wa is a Shan term for aborigine and their worship of human skulls has prompted the use of the name Ta Wa (Wild Wa), as opposed to Lawa (Tame Wa). They are also called Wa Daeng (Red Wa).

waan haang jorakae (ว่านหางจระเข้)

See haang jorakae.

waan kaab hoy (ว่านกาบหอย)

Thai designation for a plant with the scientific name Rhoeo spathacea, in English commonly known by a variety of names, including Moses-in-the-Cradle, Purple-leaved Spiderwort, Oyster Plant, etc. It consists of succulent herbaceous stems to 25 centimeters long, which are green above and purple on the underside, in order to enhance photosynthesis (fig.). When flowering, it bears small, white, 3-parted flowers at base of leaves, held between 2 purple bracts (fig.). It is widely used as a low, bedding groundcover in parks and gardens. Fresh leaves are said to treat sore throat and cough, and to relieve thirst. In addition they can also be used as an external anti-inflammatory. In Thai it is also called waan kaab hoy khraeng (ว่านกาบหอยแครง). The plant is very similar to the creeper Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida), which in Thai translates as hua jai muang (หัวใจม่วง). Also transcribed wahn kahb hoi.

waanlawichanih (วาลวิชณี)

Thai. ‘Yak's tail fan’. See padwaanlawichanih.

wachira (วชิร)

Thai for vajra, meaning sceptre, diamond or thunderbolt (fig.). The name appears frequently as a prefix in Thai nomenclature, e.g. Wachirawut, Wachiralongkorn, etc. See also THEMATIC STREET LIGHT.

Wachiralongkorn (วชิราลงกรณ)

Another -often used- transliteration for the name of prince Vajiralongkorn.

Wachirawut (วชิราวุธ)

1. Thai. ‘Armed with a wachira’. Name of the Thai king (fig.) with the crown title Rama VI (fig.) who ascended the throne on Sunday 23 October 1910, after the death of King Chulalongkorn and remained king until his death in 1925. He is often portrayed holding a sceptre, which in Thai is known as a wachira (fig.), a reference to both his name and status, and the top of the lanterns surrounding the area of his statue in front of Bangkok's Lumphini Park (fig.), are likewise adorned with a sceptre (fig.). Statues and monuments of this king can be found in many places nationwide, especially in and around Bangkok (map - fig.). His achievements (fig.) include the change of the Siamese flag from a red field with a White Elephant (fig.) to the current horizontally red-white-blue-white-red striped banner (fig.), the introduction of the Krut Trah Tang Hahng (fig.), the establishment of the look seua (fig.), the construction of his Chaleemongkon Asana Residence (fig.), etc. His name is also transcribed Vajiravudh. See list of Thai kings.

2. A designation for the Vedic god Indra.

waen fah (แว่นฟ้า)

Thai. ‘Embedded with pieces of glass’. Name of an art form in which objects, figurines or statues are inlaid with mirrored-glass. It is often used in trays, bases or phaan, and with statues or figurines sometimes coloured glass is used (fig.). See also kaew.

Waen Kon (แหวนกล)

Thai. ‘Magical ring’. Golden rings set with gemstones which can be separated into four connected rings. It is typically produced in Chanthaburi province and is usually made into the shape of various animals, such as a serpent, naga, crab, fish, shrimp, etc.

wah (วา)

Thai longitudinal measurement equal to ca. two meters, or 96 niw, which exactly equals 199.968 centimeters.

wahnon (วานร)

Pali word for ‘monkey’ or ‘ape’, which in Thai is called ling. However, when referring to the monkey-warriors of the Ramakien, usually the Pali term wahnon is used rather than ling, as in Wahnon Sip-paet Mongkut.

Wahnon Sip-paet Mongkut (วานรสิบแปดมงกุฎ)

Pali-Thai. ‘Eighteen crowned monkeys’. Term used to refer to the eighteen deities that took avatars as monkey-warriors. They occur in the epic story of the Ramakien, and include Phra Phareuhadsabodih (fig.), who reincarnated as Malunthakeson (fig.); Phra Phirun, who became Wayabud (fig.); Phra Isaan, who took as avatar Chaiyaamphawaan (fig.); and Phra Angkahn (fig.), who was reborn as Wisantrahwih (fig.).

Waht Witthayawat (วาจวิทยาวัฑฒน์)

Thai. Name of a Luang, who was the first dean and founder of the Faculty of Dentistry of the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, which he in 1940 established as the nation's first institution for the education of oral health personnel. The Museum of Dentistry (fig.), located on the university's campus, was established in commemoration of Waht Witthayawat and is named after him. Also transliterated Vach Vidyavaddhana.

wai (ไหว้)

Thai. The hands brought together as a greeting (fig.) or to pay respect (fig.). The height of the hands increases with the amount of respect paid, depending on who is greeted and according to social status. The more respect given the higher the hands are held (fig.). The young or the subordinate should always wai the older or senior person first, as it is believed by some that the opposite may cause the life of the former to be shortened. In Buddhism, this gesture, which is also known as phranommeua, correspondents with a mudra called namaskara in Sanskrit and namadsakahn in Thai, which represents prayer. It is often a gesture made by Avalokitesvara when depicted with more than two arms. See also wai kruh.

wai kruh (ไหว้ครู)

Thai. ‘Greeting to the teacher’. Homage to a teacher, instructor or lecturer by bringing the hands together as in a traditional greeting or wai. See also Wan Kruh and compare with ram muay. Also transcribed wai kroo. See POSTAGE STAMPS (1) and (2).

waiolin mai phai (ไวโอลินไม้ไผ่)

Thai. ‘Bamboo violin’. Name for two different kinds of bowed string instrument, both made from bamboo. The first one is a stringed musical instrument made entirely from bamboo, including even the strings. It consists of a section of thick bamboo with a length of about 70-80 centimeters, with the strings cut out vertically from the trunk itself and held up from the surface by tiny pieces of wood which are also used to tune the instrument. It is played with a bow and used particularly by the northern hill tribe people (fig.) of Mae Hong Son province. Besides this a second model of bamboo violin exists. The latter also has a body or sound box made from a bamboo cylinder, but with real violin strings, a neck and a peg box. This one is found more commonly, throughout Thailand.

Waiyawet (ไวยเวทย์)

Thai.  ‘One with Magical Powers’. Name of a yak character who is depicted with a red complexion and bulging tah phlohng, i.e. ‘wide open eyes’. He wears a chadah-style crown similar to that of Indrachit (fig.) and that of Totsakiriton (fig.), of which the latter also has a red complexion. His weapon is a gada, i.e. a club or mace. Unlike many other giant characters, he has no upright fangs in the corners of his mouth, but rather protruding vampire-like teeth. His usually referred to as Thao Waiyawet and also transliterated Wayawet. At Wat Thipsukhontharam (fig.) in Kanchanaburi, he is erected in pair with Subankhiri (fig.), as guardians of Phra Phutta Mettaprachathai (fig.). See also MAP and TRAVEL PICTURES.

Wajirunhit (วชิรุณหิศ)

First crown prince of the Rattanakosin period. Born on 2 July 1878 heir to the throne and son of King Chulalongkorn and Queen Sawang Watthana (fig.). According to some sources he was more intelligent than most of his peers and was very conscientious.  At the age of 13 he wrote his own diary with an agenda of duties and responsibilities for himself as future king. He was the favourite of King Chulalongkorn, who personally instructed and prepared him with the purpose to succeed him. In 1895, he unexpectedly died from typhoid and was succeeded by his thirteen year old half-brother Wachirawut (fig.), the eldest son of Queen Saowapha, who in 1910 eventually ascended the throne as Rama VI. Also transcribed Vajirunhis.

wak (วรรค)

Thai. A space between phrases or sentences used in Thai writing, in place of punctuation marks.

Wali (วาลี)

Thai. Name of a character from the story Phra Aphaimanih (fig.) by Sunthorn Phu (fig.). She is an ugly-looking, yet intelligent woman commander in the army of Phaleuk (ผลึก) and responsible for the royal harem of concubines. When Prince Utsaren and his father, the King of Langka, attacked the Kingdom of Phaleuk, Utsaren is captured. To avoid an even bigger battle if the prince would be set free, he is instead teased and taunted by the ugly Wali until he dies of rage. As a result, Wali is in turn killed by an illness caused by the ghost of Utsaren. Also referred to as Nang Wali, i.e. ‘Miss Wali’. See also POSTAGE STAMP.

walking Buddha

An important new development in iconographic art introduced during the Sukhothai period. Images of walking Buddhas refer to a scene in the life of the Buddha when he returned from the Tavatimsa heaven after he preached there to his mother who had died seven days after his birth. He is descending to earth by stairs accompanied by the gods Brahma and Indra. In combination with a vitarka or dhammachakka mudra this form refers to peripatetic instruction. Today, images of walking Buddhas are found throughout Thailand (fig.).

Walrus Tusk Beetle

Common name for a species of longhorn beetle in the family Cerambycidae, and with the scientific designation Dorysthenes walkeri. READ ON.

Wan Anurak Moradok Thai (วันอนุรักษ์มรดกไทย)

See Thai Heritage Conservation Day.

Wan Damrong Rachanuphaap (วันดำรงราชานุภาพ)

Thai for ‘Damrong Rachanuphaap Day’, an annual memorial day held on 1 December, the day that coincides with the date of this prince's demise in 1943, and on which he is now annually remembered. Unlike the annual Chulalongkorn Day in October, it is not a public holiday. Also transcribed Wan Damrong Rajanubhab.

Wan Chakri (วันจักรี)

Thai name for Chakri Day.

Wan Chaleum Phra Chonma Phansa (วันเฉลิมพระชนมพรรษา)

Thai. Birthday of King Rama IX, which is 5 December and coincides with National Day, as well as with Father's Day in Thailand, as the King is largely as the the father of the nation. On this day, public and company buildings, as well as many private homes across the nation are adorned with the yellow personal royal flag of the monarch (fig.), as well as the Thai national flag. In addition, shrines with large pictures of the Thai monarch are erected and adorned with flowers and other offerings, and across the country there are fireworks (fig.). On the King's 80th birthday, the firework even included some personalized shapes (fig.). The symbol of Father's Day is the Canna, known in Thai as Phuttaraksah (fig.).

Wan Chat Mongkon (วันฉัตรมงคล)

Thai name for Coronation Day, when Thai sovereignty is celebrated.

Wang (วัง)

1. Thai. Name of a river in North Thailand that near Nakhon Sawan merges with the rivers Nan, Yom (fig.) and Ping (fig.), thus forming the Chao Phraya River (fig.). See MAP.

2. Thai for ‘palace’. If it is the palace of a king it is called Phra Rachawang. Compare with the Chinese word wang.

wang (王)

Chinese for ‘king’ or ‘ruler’. The character consists of three horizontal strokes and one vertical stroke. It is a pictograph in which the top horizontal stroke represents ‘heaven’, the bottom horizontal stroke ‘earth’ and the middle horizontal stroke the ‘emperor’ or ‘king’, who was regarded as a Son of Heaven and as such the liaison between heaven and earth, a task symbolized by the vertical stroke in the character (fig.). Tigers have a distinctive mark on their forehead, that strongly resembles this Chinese character (fig.). The tiger, rather than the lion, is hence regarded as the King of the Animals in Chinese culture, simultaneously symbolizing royalty and fearlessness. The Thai word for ‘palace’ is similarly Wang and suggests a likely etymological relation to the Chinese word for king. See also yu, zhu, and CHINESE CHARACTER FORMATION & ETYMOLOGY.

Wang Ban Dokmai (วังบ้านดอกไม้)

Thai. ‘Flower House Palace’. Name of the former residence of Prince Burachat Chaiyakon, the Krom Phra of Kamphaeng Phet (fig.), located in Bangkok's Ban Baat District. After it was abandoned by the prince, the building for a while also housed the Revenue Department, when the latter moved its offices from Ho Ratsadakon Phiphat (fig.), located within the Grand Palace complex. Today, Wang Ban Dokmai seems to stand idle and in need of some patching-up. See also POSTAGE STAMP and MAP.

Wang Bang Khun Phrom (วังบางขุนพรหม)

Thai. Name of a former Royal Palace, located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. READ ON.

Wang Burapha Phirom (วังบูรพาภิรมย์)

Thai. Name of a former Royal Palace, that was once located in the South of Rattanakosin Island. READ ON.

Wang Ka (วังกะ)

Thai. Until 1939 the (former) name of Sangkhlaburi.

Wang Chan Kasem (วังจันทรเกษม)

Thai. ‘Happy Moon Palace. Name of a royal mansion in Bangkok's Dusit area and since 1941 the home of the Ministry of Education. READ ON.

Wang Klai Kangwon (วังไกลกังวล)

1. Thai. Palace Far Away from Sorrow’. Name of the Royal Summer Palace in Hua Hin, built between 1927 and 1929 on the order of King Prajadhipok and despite its name, it became the place where King Rama VII was informed of the 1932 Revolution that ended his power and replaced the Absolute Monrachy with a Constitutional Monrachy. The palace is still used as a gettaway from Bangkok by the current King and Queen. See MAP.

Wang Klai Kangwon

2. Thai. Palace Far Away from Sorrow’. Name of a school in Hua Hin, named after the Royal Summer Palace and where King Bhumipol Adulyadej initiated a royal project to use the THAICOM satellite for tele-education, which serves as the centre for disseminating secondary level education via satellite, to schools in rural areas. The project is honoured on a Thai postage stamp issued in 1997, to pay homage to and to publicize the genius of King Rama IX in telecommunications (fig.).

Wang Lang (วังหลัง)

Thai. ‘Rear Palace. Royal title given to the third king, as well as to his residential palace. Compare with Wang Nah and see also Krom Phra Rachawang Bowon Sathaan Phimuk.

Wang Matcha (วังมัจฉา)

Thai. Fish Palace’ or ‘Palace [of the] Fish. Name of the second level in the series of seven falls of the Erawan Waterfall (fig.) at Erawan National Park (fig.) in Kanchanaburi Province. The name refers to the fish that dwell in basin at the base of this cascade. Visitors can swim here and when resting in the water the fish will come over and nipple from any exposed skin taking many a bather by surprise, when they are unexpectedly treated with this underwater massage. See MAP.

Wang Nah (วังหน้า)

Thai. Front Palace. Royal title given to the viceroy or vice-king, as well as to his residential palace. Compare with Wang Lang and see also Krom Phra Rachawang Bowon Sathaan Mongkon, as well as Wang Nah Chan Kasem in Ayutthaya (map - fig.).

Wang Parutsakawan (วังปารุสกวัน)

Thai. Parutsakawan Palace. Name of a European-style royal mansion in Bangkok's Dusit area, named after one of the four paradise gardens of the Hindu god Indra. READ ON.

Wang Pramuan (วังประมวญ)

Thai. ‘Combined Palace. Name of the royal residence of Prince Phitayalongkorn (fig.) and later of his son Phisadet Ratchani. READ ON.

Wang Sra Pathum (วังสระปทุม)

Thai. ‘Lotus Pond Palace’. The residence of Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, located  in Bangkok's Pathumwan District, along Khlong Maha Naak (fig.). It has been in use since 1915 and was previously the residence of Queen Sawang Watthana, a consort of King Rama V and the grandmother of King Bhumipon Adunyadet. The compound has several buildings, the main one being Phra Tamnak Yai (พระตำหนักใหญ่ - fig.), i.e. ‘Large Royal Residence’. See also sra and pathum, as well as MAP.

Wang Theptaroh Daen Mangkon Hom (วังเทพธาโร แดนมังกรหอม)

Thai. ‘Selasian Wood Palace, Realm of the Aromatic Dragons’. Name of a garden in Trang. READ ON.

Wang Wei (王维)

Chinese. Name of a Chinese poet and artist from the Tang Dynasty, who was also known as the Poetic Buddha, and one of the most celebrated men of arts of his time. Besides a poet, he was also a renowned painter, a successful statesman, and a talented musician who played the pipa (fig.). He was born in 701 AD and died in 761 AD. Of his poetic opus, a corpus of around 400 poems survive.

Wang Witthayu (วังวิทยุ)

Thai. ‘Wireless Palace’. Name of the former residence of Prince Rangsit Prayurasakdi in Bangkok. READ ON.

Wang Woradit (วังวรดิศ)

Thai-Pali. ‘Palace of the Glorious Ditsakun Family’. Name of the former residence of Prince Damrong Rachanuphaap. READ ON.

wan kohn (วันโกน)

Thai. ‘Shaving day’. The day of the month on which Buddhist monks and novices shave their heads anew, in Thailand traditionally on the day before wan phen, i.e. the day of the new moon or full moon. It is said that one reason for monks and novices to shave their heads is to resemble the features of a naga, for just as the naga helped the Buddha in his ordeal to reach Enlightenment, also the children help their parents to get a better afterlife, by making merit for them by ordaining or becoming a buatnaag. In Thailand, monks and novices also shave off the eyebrows, whereas in neighbouring Theravada Buddhist countries, i.e. Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos, monks and novices do not shave off the eyebrows, and in Myanmar, monks and novices shave their heads four times a month (fig.). See also buat.

Wan Kruh (วันครู)

Thai. ‘Day of the teacher’. A day, in the past usually on a Thursday somewhere in June or July, because Thursday in the Phra prajam wan-system is associated with meditation and hence with learning and teaching. However, now the day is officially set to be on January 16th of each year, irrespective of what day it is (though depending on the school, it may still be held on another day or date), when students collectively pay respect to their teachers (wai kruh). On this day teachers (kruh means ‘teacher, tutor or master’ and derives from the word guru) receive offerings from their students. These could be anything, but usually include trays with phum dokmai, called phaan phum, as well as other flowers and gifts. However, formerly they would receive a golden tray with three kinds of flowers: i.e. the ixora, in Thai called ‘kem’, the flower of the ‘makeua’ or eggplant, and a lotus. These flowers each have their own symbolic implication: ‘kem’ means ‘needle’, and refers to the wit that the students will obtain by their tuition; the flower of the eggplant bends under the weight of its fruit and thus indicates obedience and respect; and the lotus is the general symbol for Enlightenment. Wan Kruh dates back to the period when the temple was the only centre of education.  of each year. The day is now officially known as Wan Kruh Haeng Chaht, i.e. ‘National Teacher's Day. Alternatively spelled Wan Kroo. Compare with ram muay. See also Phra Phareuhadsabodih and the postage stamp issued to mark the Centennial of Thai Teachers Training (fig.).

Wan Kruh Haeng Chaht (วันครูแห่งชาติ)

Thai. ‘National Teacher's day’. See Wan Kruh.

Wan Mae (วันแม่)

Thai. ‘Mother Day’. Thai public holiday and birthday of queen Sirikit. This refers to the queen's status as a public mother figure. It is annually celebrated on 12 August. Since jasmine, known in Thai as dok ma-li, is in Thailand considered a symbol for maternal love, it has been assigned to be the flower of Mother Day (fig.).

Wan Makha Bucha (วันมาฆบูชา)

Thai for the day when Makha Bucha is annually celebrated.

Wan Muay Thai (วันมวยไทย)

Thai. ‘Muay Thai Day’. Initiated in 2012 and annually on 6 February.

Wanna Uthayaan (วนอุทยาน)

Thai name for any forest park, similar to a National Park (Uthayaan Haeng Chaat), but with a different status and usually covering a smaller area.

wannayuk (วรรณยุกต์)

Thai linguistic term meaning ‘tone mark’. A tone mark is used to change the tone and the meaning of a word. Thai language has four tone marks but five tones: the middle or common tone (siang sahman - uses no tone mark), the low tone (mai ek - อ่),  the falling tone (mai toh - อ้), the high tone (mai trih - อ๊) and the rising tone (mai chatawah - อ๋). MORE ON THIS.

Wannongkrahn (วรรณนงคราญ)

Thai. Name of one of the seven guardian spirits that looks out for children and that are generally known as Mae Seua. This thevada guards all the children that are born on a Monday and is represented with an off-white (khao-nuan) human-like body and the head of a horse. Compare also with Ma Mian, i.e. Horse-Face (fig.).

wan phen (วันเพ็ญ)

Thai for ‘full-moon day’. The day of full moon often coincides with Buddhist holidays. A painting named Full Moon (จันทร์เพ็ญ) by the Thai artist Manit Poo-ahrih (มานิตย์ ภู่อารีย์) was depicted on a Thai postage stamp issued on 2 August 2013 (fig.) as part of a set of eight stamps on contemporary art in the third series of commemorative stamps to mark the 2013 World Stamp Exhibition. See also Wan Phra and Wan Tham Masawana.

Wan Pheut Mongkon (วันพืชมงคล)

Thai for the day when the royal ploughing ceremony is held.

Wan Phra (วันพระ)

Thai. Buddhist holiday in Thailand. Often coinciding with wan phen or full moon day. Also Wan Tham Masawana.

Wan Piya Maha Raj (วันปิยะมหาราช)

Thai. ‘Day of the beloved great king’. Thai name for Chulalongkorn Day, a public holiday on 23 October. Also transcribed Wan Piya Maha Raat. See also Piya Maha Raj.

Wan Raeng Ngan (วันแรงงาน)

Thai for ‘Work Force Day’. Thai term for Labour Day. It is a public holiday, held annually on May 1st.

Wan Rattamnoon (วันรัฐธรรมนูญ)

Thai. ‘Constitution Day’. Thai name for the public holiday celebrated on 10 December commemorating the constitution.

Wan Tamruat (วันตำรวจ)

Thai. ‘Police Day’. Thai name for the national observance day that since 1915 is held annually on 13 October in honour of the Royal Thai Police (fig.). National Police Day is celebrated in various ways, usually with every city and police station in the nation organizing its own ceremonies and events. Celebrations usually begin by a speech in front of the local police station and attended by local dignities and religious leaders, and followed by a memorial service in honour of police officers who died in the line of duty. After the official rituals, various events are organized that are usually also open to the public. Also referred to as Wan Tamruat Haeng Chaht (วันตำรวจแห่งชาติ), i.e. ‘National Police Day’.

Wan Tham Masawana (วันธรรมสวนะ)

Thai. Buddhist holiday. Often coinciding with full moon or wan phen. Also Wan Phra.

Wanthong (วันทอง)

Thai. ‘Day of Gold’ or ‘Golden Day’. One of the main characters from the story Khun Chang Khun Paen written by King Phra Phutta Leut La. The bigamous Wanthong vacillated between true love and respectability and was eventually executed by the king as a troublemaker. Her headless spirit Praet Wanthong later appeared to halt a fight between her son and her stepson. Wanthong is depicted on the fourth design of a set of four postage stamps (fig.) on the story, issued in 2011 to mark National Children's Day. Also known as Nang Phimphilalai.

wan tua (วันตัว)

Thai for the day of the week on which one was born. Like a horoscope in the West, the days of the week are in Thailand used to verify one's personality and fortune, like in the systems phra prajam wan, thep prajam wan, dao prajam wan, sat prajam wan and sih prajam wan.

Wan Visakha Bucha (วันวิสาขบูชา)

Thai name for the day when Visakha Bucha is annually celebrated.

Wan Waithayakon (วรรณไวทยากร)

Thai. Name of a grandson of King Mongkut (fig.), who was born on 25 August 1891. He studied at Oxford University and the Paris Institute of Political Studies, and was an Army Major General with the royal rank of Krom Meuan. READ ON.

Wan Yahwachon Haeng Chaht (วันเยาวชนแห่งชาติ)

Thai. ‘National Youth Day’. Set up in Thailand in the year 1985, after the United Nations announced 1985 as International Youth Year and invited its members to participate in the celebrations under the slogan Participation, Development and Peace. So, on 18 June 1985, the then government passed a decree to make September 20th of each year National Youth Day, a date chosen in honour of King Rama VIII, who was born on 20 September 1925 and ascended the throne as a youthful king, as well as of King Rama V, whose birthday is 20 September 1853. In 2010, a Thai postage stamp was issued to mark the 25th anniversary of the National Youth Day (fig.).

wararam (วราราม)

Pali-Thai. Title that derives from combining the words wora and araam, meaning ‘superb’ or ‘excellent’, and ‘temple’ respectively. It is often included in names of temples, e.g. Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihaan, Wat Thawon Wararam (fig.), Wat Arun Rajawararam, Wat Suthat Thepwararam, etc. It can also be transcribed warahrahm or waraaraam, and is sometimes pronounced woraram.

war elephant

See chang seuk.

Warih Kunchon (วารีกุญชร)

Thai-Pali. ‘Elephant [of the] water’. Also transcribed Waree Kunchorn. See Chang Nahm.

Warunih (วารุณี)

Thai goddess of wine. Also transliterated Warunee.

wasabi (わさび, 山葵, 和佐比)

Japanese. ‘Japanese horseradish’. Name of a plant which root is used as a spice. READ ON.


See feng.

Wasp Moth

Common name of a species of day-flying moth, that belongs to the family of Syntominae. The species, known by the scientific names Syntomis and Amata, has several subspecies, usually discerned by the different wing patterns and the rings on their abdomen. Species found in Southeast Asia include Syntomis huebneri (fig.) and Syntomoides imaon (fig.), the latter which is also commonly known as the Handmaiden Moth (fig.) or Tiger Grass Borer. Wasp Moths are about the same size of a small wasp and mimic its colouring. This disguise aides them in their protection, as predators are less likely to attack them if they believe they could be harmed. Even humans often take them for wasps. Adults feed on pollen and nectar from flowers. Their caterpillars can do substantial damage to orchard trees as they bore into the wood. It is found in Malaysia, as well as in Thailand, where it is known as phi seua yah, meaning ‘grass butterfly’.

Wasuthep (วาสุเทพ)

1. Thai name of Gustave Schau (fig.), the Danish Lieutenant Colonel who in 1897 AD was hired by King Chulalongkorn (fig.) to set up a Siamese Provincial Police force, and of which he became the first Commander-in-Chief. From 1913 to 1915 he was appointed to the fifth Chief of Police, with the rank of Major General and was bestowed with the bandasak or title of Phraya. Also transliterated Vasuthep. See also Royal Thai Police.

2. Another Thai name for Narai or Vishnu. Also transliterated Vasuthep.

wat (วัด,​ ວັດ)

Thai and Laotian word for a Buddhist temple or monastery, derived from the Pali word avasa, as well as from the Sanskrit word avasatha. A typical wat in Thailand is generally used for both religious, educational and residential purposes, and consist in general of a bot (boht - fig.), the ordination hall; a viharn (fig. - wihaan), the prayer hall; a sala (fig.), an open shelter with a roof; and a number of kutis (fig.), the quarters of the monks. Larger temples usually also have a ho trai (fig.), a library for Buddhist writings; a mondop sometimes housing a Buddhapada; a ho klong (fig.), a drum tower; and a ho rakhang (fig.), a belfry; whilst smaller temples like the wat pah, forest temples, have in general no boht or ordination hall. In rural Thailand the wat usually serves as a religious centre as well as a social meeting place. Thailand has around 27,000 Buddhist temples. Also araam.

Wat Arun (วัดอรุณ)

Thai. ‘Temple of dawn’. An 86 meter high structure alongside the Chao Phrya River, with prangs in Khmer style consisting of a main stupa flanked by four smaller ones, which are actually prangs on a chedi shaped base. Its grooved towers indicate that the authority who commissioned the construction was a king. When General Taksin after the fall of Ayutthaya appeared with a liberating army on the Chao Phraya river at dawn the temple name was changed in Wat Jaeng, a synonym for the later Wat Arun which is derived from the Indian god of dawn, Aruna. In 1772 AD, when general Chakri, the later king Yotfa, was appointed supreme commander of the Siamese armies by King Taksin, he conquered the Laotian city of Vientiane and brought the Emerald Buddha (fig.) back to Thonburi where the statue was placed  in Wat Arun. Today the temple is still in use by members of the royal court for religious state ceremonies, such as the annual kathin phra racha thaan (fig.). Its official name is Wat Arun Rajawarahrahm and the temple is one of the few throughout Thailand conferred with the highest royal title of Rajavora Maha Vihaan. Its outline is part of the logo of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (fig.). On the quayside in front of the temple is a banner with in Thai the full name of Krung Thep, i.e. Bangkok (fig.). See also POSTAGE STAMPS (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6) and (7), as well as MAP, TRAVEL PHOTOS (1), (2) and (3), QUADCOPTER PICTURE, and PANORAMA PICTURES (1), (2), and (3).

Wat Arun Rajawarahrahm (วัดอรุณราชวราราม)

Thai. The full and official name for Wat Arun. Often this name is followed by the highest royal title for temples, i.e. Rajavora Maha Vihaan. See MAP.

Wat Bang Kung (วัดบางกุ้ง)

Thai. Name of an ancient temple in Samut Songkhram, which dates from the Ayutthaya period and was once used as a military camp for Siamese navy troops during the 1765 war against the invading Burmese. READ ON.

Wat Bang Peng Tai (วัดบางเพ็งใต้)

Thai. ‘Riverside Village Temple Underneath The Full Moon’. Name of a Buddhist temple in Minburi, located on Khlong Saen Saeb, a major canal that runs through Bangkok (fig.). On weekends and holidays the area around the temple turns into a floating market, which is known as Talaat Nahm Khwan-Riam (fig.) and on such days, when many people are expected to visit the area, the temple may organize special events to allow visitors to make merit. As is the case with most temples in Thailand, it serves as a social meeting place and blends in perfectly with the adjoining market. See also Ban Suan Phuttasin. See MAP.

Wat Bang Phli Yai Nai (วัดบางพลีใหญ่ใน)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in Samut Prakan, that houses the much venerated Buddha image Luang Pho Toh (fig.), i.e. one of the five Buddha images mentioned in the Legend of the Five Floating Buddha Statues (fig.), known in Thai as Tamnaan Luang Pho Loy Nahm Hah Phi-Nong. Besides the Luang Pho Toh image, it also houses copies of two of the other Buddha images mentioned in the legend, namely Luang Pho Wat Ban Laem from Wat Phetchasamut Worawihan in Samut Songkhram and Luang Pho or Phra Phutta Sothon (fig.) from Wat Sothon Wararam Woriwihaan in Chachengsao (fig.). See MAP.

Wat Bang Phli Yai Nai

Wat Bang Thong (วัดบางโทง)

Thai. Previous name for the Buddhist temple Wat Mahathat Wachiramongkon in Krabi (fig.).

Wat Benjamabophit (วัดเบญจมบพิตร)

Thai. The Marble Temple in Bangkok (fig.). Built around the turn of the 19th. century by order of King Chulalongkorn. The temple is built of white Carrara marble from Toscana and has a cruciform bot. The base of the central Buddha image (fig.), which is a copy of  the Phraphutta Chinnarat image (fig.) from Phitsanulok, contains the ashes of king Rama V. In the gallery of the courtyard behind the bot there are 53 Buddha images (33 originals and 20 copies) that represent different poses and styles from throughout Thailand and other Buddhist countries. Half of the images are in a seated pose while the other half are in depicted in a standing pose, and hey have been erected in an alternate way, so that a seated image is always displayed next to a standing one and vice versa. Often abbreviated Wat Ben. See MAP.

Wat Boromaracha Kanchana Phisek Anuson (วัดบรมราชากาญจนาภิเษกอนุสรณ์)

Thai. Name of the largest Chinese Buddhist temple in Thailand. READ ON.

Wat Bowonniwet Wihaan Rachaworawihaan (วัดบวรนิเวศวิหารราชวรวิหาร)

Thai. ‘Royal Temple Hall and Glorious Abode’. Name of a temple in Bangkok's Phra Nakhon district. READ ON.

Wat Bowonsathaan Suthawaht (วัดบวรสถานสุทธาวาส)

Thai. ‘Exalted Temple and Pure Avasa’. Name of a temple in Bangkok's Phra Nakhon district. READ ON.

Wat Buak Khrok Luang (วัดบวกครกหลวง)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in the tambon Tha Sala (ท่าศาลา) of Chiang Mai city. The temple's wihaan, believed to be more than 300 years old, is built in the Lan Na style and was restored during the reign of Kaew Nawarat, the last King of Lan Na and Prince Ruler of Chiang Mai. The wihaan houses a Buddha image in the marapajon pose and its walls are covered with 14 murals in blue, red, and white. The murals on the northern wall depict scenes from the Mahosot Chadok, while the murals on the southern side depict scenes from the Totsachat Chadok. See also POSTAGE STAMPS, TRAVEL PICTURES and MAP.

Wat Buppharam (วัดบุพพาราม)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai. READ ON.

Wat Chai Sri Phum (วัดชัยศรีภูมิ)

Thai. ‘Temple of the glorious field of victory’. Name of a temple in Chiang Mai, built in 1519 AD, during the reign of King Phaya Meuang Kaew (1495 - 1526). It is located opposite of the remnants of the ancient city wall at the northeastern corner of the moat surrounding the old city. The temple has a white prasat-style chedi, decorated with a gilded pinnacle and gilded ornaments, as well as with niches that house gilded Buddha images, each standing in the pahng prathap yeun pose. In addition, the temple has a wooden ho trai, besides the other, expected temple buildings. See also Chai and Sri, and compare with the name Chaiyaphum. Also spelled Wat Chai Si Phum. See MAP.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram (วัดไชยวัฒนาราม)

Thai. One of the most impressive of ancient Buddhist monasteries, built in 1630 AD on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Ayutthaya. READ ON.

Wat Chalo (วัดชลอ)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in the amphur Bang Kruwey (Kruai) of Nonthaburi. READ ON.

Wat Chamadevi (วัดจามเทวี)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in Lamphun. READ ON.

Wat Chang Lom (วัดช้างล้อม)

1. Thai. ‘Temple of the Encircling Elephants’. Name of an ancient Buddhist temple in Sri Satchanalai Historical Park. The temple's chedi, in Singhalese style and surrounded by 39 sculptures of elephants, was built around 1285 AD, i.e. in the Sukhothai Period, in order to house relics of the Buddha, that were dug-up elsewhere and re-buried at this spot by King Ramkamhaeng (fig.). See also Wat Mahaeyong (fig.), Wat Sorasak (fig.), and chang, as well as TRAVEL PICTURES, POSTAGE STAMPS and MAP.

2. Thai. ‘Temple of the Encircling Elephants’. Name of an ancient Buddhist temple in Sukhothai with a large bell shaped chedi, of which the square base is surrounded by 32 caryatid-like figures in the form of White Elephants, as well as another name for Wat Sorasak (fig.), i.e. another similar temple in Sukhothai Historical Park, with a base surrounded by 24 White Elephants. See also chang and MAP.

Wat Chedi Hoi (วัดเจดีย์หอย)

Thai. Name of a temple (wat) in the tambon Bo Ngun (บ่อเงิน) of the amphur Laht Lum Kaew (map) in Pathum Thani Province. It is famed for its stupa (chedi) made from a great number of fossilized oyster shells (hoi), that were found in the temple's compound. The shells were first discovered when the temple's abbot ordered a water reservoir dug for the irrigation of the temple's 20 rai large herbal garden. After the discovery, the abbot and members of the temple committee continued to search in other places of the compound for more shells. Many more were found, including some large ones, believed to be about 8 million years old. Their quest, which ended in 1995, lasted for 12 years and resulted in the construction of the temple's stupa (fig.). See MAP.

Wat Chedi Jed Thaew (วัดเจดีย์เจ็ดแถว)

Thai. ‘Temple with Seven Rows of Stupas’. Name of an ancient Buddhist temple in Sri Satchanalai Historical Park. The complex has 26 chedi arranged in a U-shape around the wihaan and main pagoda, with the latter being in the Singhalese style and topped by a lotus-bud. See also POSTAGE STAMPS and MAP.

Wat Chedi Jed Yod (วัดเจดีย์เจ็ดยอด)

Thai. ‘Temple with the Seven Stupas’. One of the most important sanctuaries of northern Thailand in Chiang Mai, also known by the name Wat Photharam Maha Wihaan. READ ON.

Wat Chedi Luang (วัดเจดีย์หลวง)

Thai. ‘Temple of the Royal Stupa’, sometimes referred to as ‘Temple of the Big Stupa’. Name of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai. READ ON.

Wat Cheung Tha (วัดเชิงท่า)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple located on the banks of the Meuang Canal in Ayutthaya, to the north of the city island of Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya. READ ON.

Wat Chiang Man (วัดเชียงมั่น)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai, located within the old city moat. READ ON.

Wat Chom Si (ວັດຈອມສີ)

Lao. Name of a Buddhist temple in the city center of Luang Prabang (ຫຼວງພະບາງ) and which is also known as Wat Phou Si (ວັດພູສີ), due to its location on Mount Phousi. READ ON.

Wat Chuthathittham Sapharam Worawihaan (วัดจุฑาทิศธรรมสภารามวรวิหาร)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple complex located at the foot of a Mt. Phra Chulachomklao, on the island of Koh Si Chang, off the coast of Chonburi, located just across from Thah Lahng Pier. The ubosot houses a 1.25 meters tall Buddha image in the Sukhothai style. On the slope above the temple complex are Thai-Chinese shrines dedicated to Chao Mae Kwan Im (fig.) and Chao Pho Khao Yai (fig.), while the white mondop just below the summit houses a Phraphuttabaht (fig.). See also TRAVEL PICTURE and MAP.

Wat Doi Suthep (วัดดอยสุเทพ)

Thai. Temple in North Thailand, built at a height of 1,053 meters on the hill of Doi Suthep, 14 kms to the West of the city of Chiang Mai. READ ON.

Wat Dok Kham (วัดดอกคำ)

Thai. Name of a Lan Na-style Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai, located within the walls of the old city, along the eastern moat, just a short distance north of Tha Phae Gate (fig.). Inside the wihaan is a Buddha image seated in the bhumisparsa pose whereas the eastern outer wall has a standing Buddha image with an abhaya mudra. See MAP. s

Wat Ek Phnom (វត្តឯកភ្នំ)

Khmer. ‘Temple of the Prime Hill’. Temple near the Cambodian city of Battambang. It consists of an ancient Hindu temple that dates back to the 11th century AD and was built in the reign of King Suryavarman I, as well as a modern Buddhist prayer hall and a giant Buddha statue, seated on a concrete building that houses a number of gilded Buddha images. Besides this, there are also modern edifices in the Khmer style. See also TRAVEL PICTURE and MAP.

Water Buffalo

The Asian domestic buffalo is a large bovid, with the scientific designation Bubalus bubalis, that originated and is widely found in South, East and Southeast Asia. READ ON.

water cabbage

See jok.

water chestnut

For water caltrop, see krajab; for Chinese water chestnuts, see somwang.


Common name for a waterbird with the scientific name Gallicrex cinerea. This rather secretive bird is distributed in South, East and Southeast Asia, where it lives near swamps and marshes. Adults are dark brown with buff and grey fringing above, and paler underparts, which are streaked and barred with darker markings. Males have grow up to 43 centimeters tall and females up to 36 centimeters. The bill of both sexes is yellowish-grey and the legs are greenish-grey with females and rather yellowish-grey in males. Their bodies are flattened laterally to allow easier passage through reeds and undergrowth. In the breeding season the females are somewhat darker and the plumage of the males becomes black-grey, with brownish-buff wingtips, red legs and a red facial shield. In Thai it is known as nok ih-lum (นกอีลุ้ม) and nok ih-lom (นกอีล้ม).

water coconut

Colloquial name for the woody fruit cluster of the nipa palm. Its fruit consists of a cluster of woody nuts, compressed into a large ball, that grows upward on a single stalk (fig.). It is used to be made into a refreshing drink, usually consisting of both the sap and the translucent flesh of this fruit (fig.). In Malaysia and Singapore, the immature fruits are used as a dessert ingredient.


See nahm tok.

water hyacinth

Originally, a native weed of the Amazon river basin in South America, where its shiny green leaves and lilac flowers (fig.) with purplish-blue and yellow colouring (fig.), made it a favourite pool decoration in colonial European gardens. In the 19th century Dutch colonialists took it to Java from where it was taken to Siam by visiting Thais who called it pak tob chawa, i.e. ‘Java grass’ or ‘Java weed’. However, the invasive plant eventually found its way into the wild, where it soon became a menace. A single water hyacinth produces namely enough seeds to generate 3,000 offspring in less than two months, doubling its size in just over a week. In the Amazon this poses no problem as certain herbivorous fish and water floods keep it under control, but elsewhere such explosive growth over time forms a dense mat of floating foliage (fig.), resulting in lack of oxygen and sunlight that consequently threatens fish and other aquatic life. It can grow so densely that it completely blocks rivers and canals, and the water is no longer visible. Besides being an nuisance for navigation, it also hinders shipping traffic, as plants easily get stuck in the blades of a boat's propeller. This actually led to the invention of the longtail boat, which has a motor with a propeller on a long shaft, specially designed to avoid floating rubble and which can easily be lifted out of the water and cleared if the propeller gets stuck in the floating foliage. The problems is now largely eradicated by using the weed as pigs food and the dried stems for weaving, especially in furniture (fig.). The water hyacinths are taken from the water surface by special equipped boats (fig.). Its scientific name is Eichhornia crassipes.

water lettuce

See jok.

water lily

A aquatic plant with floating leaves and colourful flowers of the family of Nymphaeaceae, sometimes confused with the lotus (fig.). Often found in ponds near temples and in colours that vary from white (fig.) and yellow (fig.), over pink (fig.) and lavender blue to purple, and with a number of gradations in between, as can be seen in Beung Kum (บึงกุ่ม) a marsh with lilies on the outskirts of Bangkok (map - fig.). The floating leaves of the water lily make great rafts for insects and animals to rest or bask on (fig.). They are completely water-repellent and often hold miniature pools of stagnant water, that form convenient watering-places for many insects to drink from. As is known from fossils, water lilies are one of the very first flowering plants to have evolved. In Thai known as dok bua. See also POSTAGE STAMPS.


See taeng moh.

Water Monitor

A large species of monitor lizard with the binomial name Varanus salvator, capable of growing up to 3 meters in length with a maximum weight of over 90 kilograms, though most are only about half that size. Their body is muscular with a long, powerful, laterally compressed tail, used for swimming and in defense. There are several subspecies, such as the Black Water Monitor (Varanus salvator komaini - fig.), and they are one of the most common monitor lizards found throughout Asia, ranging from Indian subcontinent to Indochina, the Malay Peninsula and various parts of Indonesia. They typically inhabit areas close to water (fig.). See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.

water pipe

A hookah. A bamboo cylinder (fig.) filled with water with a valve used by some hill tribes (fig.) in North Thailand to smoke gancha (marihuana). The water acts as a filter and coolant. It is singed and smoked similar to opium. In Thai called bong or bong gancha.

water puppetry

See mua roi nuoc.

Water Scavenger Beetle

Common name for a large family of mostly aquatic beetles, known scientifically as Hydrophilidae. Generally, they are dark in colour and have extended mouthparts used for directing food to their mouths, which aids them in scavenging for food on the water surface. In addition to scavenging, some adults may be predatory or vergetarian, and some members of this family are only semi-aquatic or even terrestrial. There are many different species, and one species in particular, i.e. Hydrous cavistanum, which belongs to the order Coleoptera and in Thai goes by the names maeng tab tao and malaeng niang (แมลงเหนี่ยง), is fried and eaten as a snack (fig.) in some parts of Thailand, especially in Isaan.

Water Scorpion

Name for a large aquatic bug, belonging to the family Nepidae. READ ON.

Water Snowflake

Common name for an aquatic plant, that is also commonly known as Floating Hearts and which bears the botanical name Nymphoides indicum. READ ON.

Wathoun Darei (ဝသုန္ဒရေ)

Burmese name for the earth production spirit (fig.) in Myanmar, i.e. the spirit of the earth, a figure akin to the Thai goddess Thoranih, i.e. the mother of the earth (fig.). Also transcribed Wet Thonedaree.

Wat Hong Thong (วัดหงษ์ทอง)

Thai. ‘Temple of the Golden Hong’. Name of a Buddhist seaside temple in Bang Pakong District of Chachengsao Province. The ubosot and gilded bell-shaped chedi (fig.) adorned with Garudas are built on stilts above the sea, making this temple a top location for a sea breeze sunset, with its image reflecting in the water below. See also TRAVEL PICTURES (1) and (2), and MAP.

Wat Huai Pla Kang (วัดห้วยปลากั้ง)

Thai. ‘Temple of the Crayfish Creek’ or ‘Temple of the Dwarf Snakehead Fish Rivulet’. Name of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai, which features a nine-tiered Chinese-style pagoda and a 79 meters tall white Kwan Yin statue, said to be the largest image of this goddess of mercy in Thailand. Inside the statue itself is a lift that takes visitors up 25 storeys, offering them an amazing bird’s eye view of the city literally through the eyes of Kwan Yin. See also PANORAMA PICTURE, TRAVEL PICTURE, THEMATIC STREET LIGHT, and MAP.

Wat Hua Khoo (วัดหัวคู้)

Thai. ‘Temple of the Twisted Head’. Name of a Buddhist temple of the Mahanikaai Sect in Samut Prakan. READ ON.

Wat Hua Lampong (วัดหัวลำโพง)

Thai. Name of a third class royal temple in Bangkok's Bang Rak district and that dates from the early Rattanakosin period. READ ON.

Wat Intharawihaan (วัดอินทรวิหาร)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in Bangkok, which contains a 32-meter high standing Buddha image (fig.), known as Luang Pho Toh. READ ON.

Wat Jaeng (วัดแจ้ง)

Thai. ‘Temple of dawn’. Old name of, and synonym for Wat Arun. See also POSTAGE STAMPS.

Wat Jong Kham (วัดจองคำ)

Thai. Name of a temple located on the bank of the Nong Jong Kham (หนองจองคำ) city lake in Mae Hong Son, adjacent to Wat Jong Klang (fig.). Both temples and their environment are a popular postcard picture (fig.) often used by the Tourism Authority of Thailand in their promotion of Thailand as a picturesque holiday destination. The temple was built in 1827 by Singha Nat Racha (fig.) as the first temple of Mae Hong Son and is in the Burmese-Thai Yai style. Between 1932 and 1936 the artisan Sla Po Tong Te-Chagomen (สล่าโพโต่ง เตชะโกเมนต์) built a wihaan with three facades to house a large Burmese style Buddha statue with a lap width of 4.85 meters and called Luang Pho Toh (หลวงพ่อโต). It is equal in size to Phra Sri Sakyamuni, the Phra prathaan or principal Buddha image in the royal wihaan of Wat Suthat in Bangkok and the oldest remaining Buddha image from the Sukhothai period. Also transcribed Wat Chong Kham. See MAP.

Wat Jong Klang (วัดจองกลาง)

Thai. Name of a temple in Burmese-Thai Yai style, located on the bank of the Nong Jong Kham (หนองจองคำ) city lake in Mae Hong Son, next to Wat Jong Kham (fig.). It is located in picturesque surroundings and often features, together with its neighbouring temple, in holiday brochures. The temple contains a wihaan that houses a gilded replica of the Sihing (สิหิงค์) Buddha image. It also has 33 wooden human and animal figures representing scenes from the Vessantara jataka, carved by Burmese craftsmen and taken from Burma in 1857 AD. The temple also has stained-glass windows depicting scenes from the life of prince Siddhartha and once again from prince Wetsandorn, as well as the way of folk life in the past. According to a record they were made by Burmese artisans from Mandalay. Recently also a Bamboo Buddha, i.e. a style of Buddha image from Myanmar, has been added (fig.). Also transcribed Wat Chong Glang or similar. See MAP.

Wat Jong Mahkkaeng (วัดจองหมากแกง)

Thai-Shan. Former name of Wat Sri Boon Reuang, a temple in Mae Sariang, in Mae Hong Son province (fig.), in which the word mahkkaeng (หมากแกง) is a Shan word that means tamarind’ (in Thai called makhaam) and that refers to the fact that the temple grounds once used to have many tamarind trees.

Wat Jong Soong (วัดจองสูง)

Thai. Temple situated in the tambon Mae Sariang, in the homonymous amphur Mae Sariang, and in the province of Mae Hong Son. Like many temples in this region, it is built in a mixture of Burmese and Shan art styles. The temple compound is located in the centre of town and features several Shan-style chedi, as well as some wooden monastic buildings. The temple is located adjacent to Wat Sri Boon Reuang. Also transcribed Wat Jong Sung and alternatively known as Wat Utthayarom (วัดอุทธยารมณ์). See MAP.

Wat Kaew Phichit (วัดแก้วพิจิตร)

Thai. Name of the very first Buddhist temple of the Thammayut sect in Prachinburi. It was built in 1879 by a local millionaire. In 1918, Chao Phraya Aphaiphubet, a relative to the Bunnag family, had a new ubosot constructed, replacing the old building that was by then in disrepair. The new ordination hall has an architectural design of mixed styles of Thai, Chinese, Cambodian and European art.

Wat Kanlayanamit Woramahawihaan (วัดกัลยาณมิตรวรมหาวิหาร)

Thai. Name of a first class Buddhist temple of royal rank, located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River in Thonburi. READ ON.

Wat Ket Karam (วัดเกตการาม)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai, of which the main stupa houses a hair relic of the Buddha. READ ON.

Wat Ketu Madi Sri Warahrahm (วัดเกตุมดีศรีวราราม)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in Samut Sakon, which was built in 1963 AD and claims to have the tallest wihaan in the nation. At the back of this wihaan is a phra chedi which has been enclosed by a newer and modern skeleton that has been built over the original stupa. See MAP.

Wat Khlong Suwannakhiri (วัดโขลงสุวรรณคีรี)

Thai. ‘Crowd of the Golden Mountain Temple’. Name of the ruins of a former Buddhist temple in Khu Bua, a tambon as well as an archaeological site in Ratchaburi. Its made of bricks on a laterite base. Overgrown with trees and enshrined on the temple's cement platform with wooden columns yet without a roof, three stone Buddha images were discovered, which were made in accordance with the iconographic style and characteristics of the early Ayutthaya period. Hence, it was initially assumed that the temple also dated to this period, though later evidence showed that the temple is much older and actually dates to the early Dvaravati period, i.e. from around the 6th century AD. Also transliterated Wat Klohng Suwankhiri or similar.

Wat Khrua Khrae (วัดขัวแคร่)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai, which is also known as Wat Mangkhon Thawararahm (วัดมังคลถาวราราม), oftentimes transliterated Wat Mangkol Thawararam. This quiet temple features many nicely decorated buildings and its prayer hall houses a giant white Buddha image with dark crystal eyes, seated in the half lotus position and performing a dhammachakka mudra. See also TRAVEL PICTURES (1), (2), (3), (4), (5) and (6), PANORAMA PICTURES (1) and (2), and MAP.

Wat Laht Phrao (วัดลาดพร้าว)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in Bangkok's Chokchai 4 area, located on Laht Phrao Wang Hin Road. READ ON.

Wat Lahn Kuat (วัดล้านขวด)

Thai. ‘Temple of a Million Bottles’. Buddhist temple complex located in the amphur Khun Hahn of Sri Saket province. This temple was constructed in 1981 and is decorated with innumerable glass bottles and bottle caps, that glitter and sparkle in the sunlight and were donated by the people. The majority of the empty bottles used in the construction of the temple are large-sized green or brown bear bottles, said to have been acquired during a major cleanup of the litter in the area. They are used in each and every building within the complex, including even the water tower, the monks quarters or kuti, bathrooms, and the crematorium or Phra Meru. It is also called Wat Maha Chedi Kaew, i.e. the ‘Temple of the Great Crystal (or Glass) Pagoda’ (fig.). It is sometimes referred to as a forest temple (wat pah). Also transcribed Wat Lan Kuat. See MAP.

Wat Lan Kuat (วัดล้านขวด)

See Wat Lahn Kuat.

Wat Lat Phrao (วัดลาดพร้าว)

See Wat Laht Phrao.

Wat Leng Hok Yi (วัดเล่งฮกยี่, 龙福寺)

Thai-Tae Chew. ‘Buddhist temple (wat/yi) of the dragon (leng) of good fortune (hok, as in Hok Lok Siw)’. Name of a Chinese-style Mahayana Buddhist temple in Chachengsao. It is located in the tambon Ban Mai, about a kilometer from the city centre and is an extension of Wat Leng Ney Yi (วัดเล่งเน่ยยี่) in Bangkok. It was built in 1906 during the reign of King Rama V. When the latter visited the area in order to inaugurate the Bangkok-Chachengsao railway track, he gave the temple the Thai name Wat Jihn Pracha Samohson (วัดจีนประชาสโมสร), i.e. ‘Chinese Temple Citizens' Club’. Amongst the temples' buildings is a 7-storey pagoda. See MAP.

Wat Lohk Molih (วัดโลกโมฬี)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai, located in the area just North of the old city moat. It was built in the first half of the 16th century, presumably by command of Phaya Meuang Kaew, who ruled the city from 1495 to 1526 AD. See also lohk and molih. Sometimes transcribed Wat Lok Molee. See MAP.

Wat Lokayasutharam (วัดโลกยสุธาราม)

Thai. Name of an ancient Buddhist temple in Ayutthaya, which features a 42 meter long and 8 meter high outdoor reclining Buddha. Hence the temple is also referred to as Wat Phra Non, i.e. ‘Temple of the Reclining Buddha’. It was presumably built somewhere between the later half of the early to middle Ayutthaya Period and was allegedly commissioned by Somdet Phra Nakhon Inthrathirat (14091424 AD), while some sources mention roughly the year 1452 AD as the date [of the completion?] of its construction. See MAP.

Wat Mahaeyong (วัดมเหยงคณ์)

Thai-Singhalese. Name of an ancient Buddhist temple in Ayutthaya, which was built in 1438 AD and commissioned by King Borommarachathiraat II (1424–1448). READ ON.

Wat Mahawan (วัดมหาวัน)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai built in a mixture of Lan Na and Burmese styles. READ ON.

Wat Mahathat (วัดมหาธาตุ)

1. Thai. Name given to temples in Thailand that house a relic of the Buddha, hence temples with this name are found in many locations throughout the nation, e.g. in Ayutthaya (map - fig.), in Sukhothai (map), etc. See also that. See POSTAGE STAMP (1), (2), (3) and (4), TRAVEL PICTURE, and THEMATIC STREET LIGHT.

2. See Wat Mahathat Yuwaraja Rangsarit.

Wat Mahathat Wachiramongkon (วัดมหาธาตุวชิรมงคล)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple complex in Krabi, which is also known as Wat Bang Thong. READ ON.

Wat Mahathat Wora Maha Wihaan (วัดมหาธาตุวรมหาวิหาร)

Thai. Temple in Nakhon Sri Thammarat over a thousand years old, dating from the Srivijaya period. Its main chedi (fig.) is 75 meters high from its base to the top and has a solid gold spire weighing 962 kilogram. It is surrounded by 158 smaller chedis. The temple is the largest in the South of Thailand and the oldest sight in the city. The ubosot used to house one of Thailand's three identical Phra Phutta Sihing, i.e. Phra Singh Buddha images, of which the original comes from Sri Lanka. It was first imported to Sukhothai via Nakhon Sri Thammarat, and was later moved to Chiang Mai and Ayutthaya. The other two images are in the National Museum in Bangkok (map - fig.) and at Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai (map - fig.), all claiming to have the original one. The Nakhon Sri Thammarat Phra Singh Buddha image now stands in the Ho Phra Singh in the city's centre. The temple's main chedi is portrayed on the copper coins of 25 satang (fig.). The temple is related to the Jatukam-Ramathep amulet, as the name for this charm comes from Tao Kadtukam and Tao Ramathep, the guardian gods of the holy relics of the Buddha at the doorways of this temple.

Wat Mahathat Yuwaraja Rangsarit (วัดมหาธาตุยุวราชรังสฤษฎิ์)

Thai. Name of one of the few temples in Thailand that is bestowed with the highest possible royal title of Rajavora Maha Vihaan. READ ON.

Wat Ming Meuang (วัดมิ่งเมือง)

Thai. ‘Temple of the City's Cherished Possession’. Name of an important and prosperous Buddhist temple in the city of Chiang Rai. It is a former Thai Yai temple which was reportedly founded by Nang Ua Ming Jom Meuang (fig.), the mother of King Mengrai (fig.), and renovated by Chao Nang Talamae Sri (fig.), the wife of King Mengrai (fig.) and daughter of a Mon King from Hongsawadih. Hence the temple was under royal patronage. The temple's Burmese-style architecture and iconography are mixed in with local Lan Na-style, and houses a statue of King Mengrai seated besides his Queen. Sometimes transliterated Wat Ming Muang. See also TRAVEL PICTURES (1), (2) and (3).

Wat Ming Meuang

Wat Na Phra Men (วัดหน้าพระเมรุ)

Thai. A temple in Ayutthaya, located on the bank of the Chao Phraya River, to the North of the former palace. READ ON.

Wat Neramit Wipatsanah (วัดเนรมิตวิปัสสนา)

Thai. ‘Temple of creative meditation or Enlightenment (wipatsanah)’. Name of a picturesque temple (fig.) located on a hillside near Phrathat Sri Song Rak in the amphur Dahn Saai (Dan Sai) in the Isaan province of Loei. Its gates, surrounding walls and buildings are constructed in laterite, giving the place an ancient, yet very natural look (fig.). It has a large ubosot (fig.) that is surrounded by a verdant garden with tropical plants and trees, and houses three replicas of the Phraphutta Chinnarat Buddha image, a large one flanked by two smaller. The ubosot's roof is supported by large pillars that are painted black and decorated with golden kranok-style designs. Its interior also has several colourful murals and paintings, depicting both scenes from the chadok and the Buddha's life. The gable on the back of the ubosot has a detailed relief of monks out on thudong. On the left side of the bot is a mondop with a nicely adorned interior, dedicated to the late phra kruh Phawanawi Suttiyahn (ภาวนาวิสุทธิญาณ) and which houses a shrine, the coffin, a bronze statue and a wax figure of this venerated monk (fig.). Both its walls and ceiling are decorated with colourful angels and golden thepada. See MAP.

Wat Niwet Tham Prawat (วัดนิเวศน์ธรรมประวัติ)

Thai. ‘Temple Estate of the Dhamma Chronicles’. Name of a Buddhist temple in Bang Pa-in, cleverly disguised as a Gothic church, down to stained glass windows and the spiky eaves. It is located on a small island in the Chao Phraya River, opposite of the Bang Pa-in Summer Palace. The temple was built in 1878 on the orders of King Rama V. It is only accessible by boat or by a cable-car that goes across the river (fig.) and which is operated by the monks of the monastery. The temple garden also houses an ancient sundial and several Buddha images. See MAP.

wat pah (วัดป่า)

Thai. ‘Forest temple’. Popular Thai name for temples in the jungle where monks stay to live and meditate in tranquility. Also known as aranyawasi and the practice of clergy dwelling in caves and forests is referred to as the Thai Forest Tradition, and was established by Phra Ajaan Man (fig.).

Wat Pah Daet (วัดป่าแดด)

Thai. ‘Sunlight Forest Temple’. Name of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai, yet not an aranyawasi-style forest temple, as the inclusion of wat pah in the name might suggest, but an ordinary Buddhist temple located in the amphur meuang of Chiang Mai. The temple has a large and striking wihaan, and features a mural that is depicted on a Thai postage stamp issued to commemorate the Thai Heritage Conservation Day in 2017 (fig.). Also transliterated Wat Pa Daed. See MAP.

Wat Pah Lahn Kuat (วัดป่าล้านขวด)

See Wat Lahn Kuat.

Wat Pahk Nahm Phasi Chareun (วัดปากน้ำภาษีเจริญ)

Thai. ‘Phasi Chareun Estuary Temple’. Name of a royal temple in Bangkok's Phasi Chareun district. READ ON.

Wat Phanan Choeng (วัดพนัญเชิง)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in Ayutthaya. READ ON.

Wat Phnom (វត្តភ្នំ)

Khmer. ‘Hill Pagoda’ or ‘Mountain Temple’. Name of a temple on a 27 meter tall hill, called phnom in Khmer, and built by a wealthy lady, called Penh (fig.). It is located in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, which derives its name from this place. Statues of lady Penh can today be found in and around Wat Phnom (fig.). See also wat and MAP.

Wat Phra Chetuphon (วัดพระเชตุพน)

See Wat Poh.

Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mang Khalahrahm (วัดพระเชตุพนวิมลมังคลาราม)

See Wat Poh.

Wat Phra Dhammakaya (วัดพระธรรมกาย)

See Wat Phra Thamma Kaay.

Wat Phra Kaew (วัดพระแก้ว)

1. Thai. ‘Temple of the Jewelled Buddha’. The most important temple in Bangkok and Thailand, housing the Emerald Buddha (map - fig.). It is a royal temple without a Sanghavasa, built next to the old royal palace Phra Rachawang in Phra Nakhon (fig.). The inner walls of the gallery that encloses the temple have elaborate murals depicting the complete story of the Ramakien. They were initially painted during the rule of Rama I, but restored several times afterwards. The temple is much publicized. The main pagoda and the outer wall is shown on the one baht coin (fig), as well as on several Thai postage stamps (fig.), the mondop and a mural are depicted on the 2nd Series of the 2008 Amazing Thailand postage stamps (fig.), while the gilded Chinese-style portal guardians carved on the wooden door panels of the Southern Porch (fig.) feature on a Thai postage stamp issued in 2008 (fig.), and its belfry, i.e. the ho rakhang (map - fig.), was printed on a postage stamp in 1967 (fig.). The temple's official name is Wat Phra Sr Rattana Sahtsadahrahm. See also PANORAMA PICTURE and MAP.

2. Thai. ‘Temple of the Jewelled Buddha’. Name of the temple in Chiang Rai that initially possessed the Emerald Buddha. The Buddha image was discovered in 1434 when lightning struck the temple's octagonal chedi revealing the statue. The current temple complex consists of several edifices. The ubosot, i.e. the main prayer hall, is home to Phra Chao Lan Thong, i.e. a bronze Buddha image seated in the maravijaya pose. When the original Emerald Buddha was removed and housed in Wat Phra Sr Rattana Sahtsadahrahm in Bangkok (fig.), the temple produced a replica (fig.), which is also known as Phra Yok Chiang Rai, i.e. the Chiang Rai Jade Buddha Image. Today, it not enshrined in a stupa but on display in a small, elevated, Lan Na-style building in the back of the temple complex. The complex also has a museum, in Thai fully known as Phiphithaphan Hohng Luang Saeng Kaew (พิพิธภัณฑ์โฮงหลวงแสงแก้ว), literally the ‘Principal Palace of the Shining Crystal Museum’, yet in English usually referred to as Saeng Kaew Museum (map - fig.), which focuses on the history and development of Wat Phra Kaew, with ample displays of Buddhist and Lan Na artifacts. The original name of the temple was Wat Pa Yia, a local dialect meaning ‘bamboo forest temple’. See also TRAVEL PICTURES (1), (2) and (3), and MAP.

Wat Phra Kaew, Chiang Rai

3. Thai. ‘Temple of the Jewelled Buddha’. Name of a temple in Kamphaeng Phet adjacent  to a former royal palace. Many of the Buddha images in this temple are now tarnished by weather conditions and corroded by the ravages of time, but are because of this even more impressive.

4. Thai. ‘Temple of the Jewelled Buddha’. Name of a hilltop temple at Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park, in Phetchaburi. See also POSTAGE STAMP.

Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao (วัดพระแก้วดอนเต้า)

Thai. ‘Temple of the Jeweled Buddha on the highland of palm fruits’. Name of a temple in Lampang that was built by order of King Anantayot and where between 1436 and 1468 the Emerald Buddha was housed. Legend tells that a senior monk of the temple one day found an emerald stone in a watermelon which he had carved into a precious Buddha image. A watermelon in Northern-Thai dialect is called ‘mahk tao’, hence the etymological origin of the temple's name (map - fig.). The temple architecture is a mixture of styles and influences from Haripunchai, Burma and modern Thailand, with images and art in Mandalay and Lan Na styles, among others. See MAP.

Wat Phra Non (วัดพระนอน)

1. Thai. ‘Temple of the reclining Buddha’. Buddhist temple at the foot of the hilltop temple Wat Phrathat Doi Kong Moo (fig.) in the amphur meuang of Mae Hong Son. It houses a 12 meter long reclining Buddha image in Thai Yai style which was cast in 1875 AD, commissioned by the wife of Singha Nat Racha, the city's first ruler (fig.). The temple also features a herbal garden and in the yard behind the temple's wihaan is a naga-staircase leading to a Shan style Buddha image, seated in the bhumisparsa pose (fig.). See MAP.

2. Thai. ‘Temple of the reclining Buddha’. Buddhist temple in Kamphaeng Phet.

3. Thai. ‘Temple of the reclining Buddha’. Another name for Wat Lokayasutharam, a Buddhist temple in Ayutthaya (fig.).

Wat Phra Phai Luang (วัดพระพายหลวง)

Thai. Name of a large and important temple complex in the northern section of Sukhothai Historical Park, which was likely constructed during the reign of the Khmer King Jayavarman VII. READ ON.

Wat Phra Phut Sri Wilai (วัดพระพุทธศรีวิไล)

Thai. ‘Temple of the Brave Buddha’ or ‘Temple of the Beautiful Buddha’. Name of a Thai-Chinese Buddhist temple in Samut Prakan. READ ON.

Wat Phra Phutthabaat (วัดพระพุทธบาท)

Thai. Temple in the province of Saraburi that houses a footprint of the Buddha in a small nicely decorated mondop. This giant footprint was discovered during the rule of king Song Tham (1610-1628) and bears the 108 auspicious signs of a buddha. The temple is one of the only few throughout Thailand conferred with the highest royal title Rajavora Maha Vihaan and as one of nation's landmarks, a scale model of the iconic mondop earned itself a spot (map - fig.) in Mini Siam in North Pattaya (fig.). See MAP.

Wat Phra Singh (วัดพระสิงห์)

See Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihaan.

Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihaan (วัดพระสิงห์วรมหาวิหาร)

Thai. Full name and title of a first class Royal temple (Woramahawihaan) in the city of Chiang Mai, built in 1345 AD by command of Phaya Phayu (fig.), the seventh king (1337-1355) of the Mengrai Dynasty (eight reign), to house the ashes of his father Phaya Kham Fu (1328-1337). It is an important Buddhist monastery, accommodating about 700 monks and novices, as well as the ancient Phra Singh (fig.) or ‘Lion Buddha’, a Buddha statue in Singhalese style after which the temple is named and that is housed in a small wihaan with antique murals. This Buddha image was installed in this temple in 1367 and is one of three Buddha statues in Thailand, that are claimed to be the Phra Phutta Sihing. The temple is usually referred to by its abbreviated name, without the royal title, i.e. Wat Phra Singh. See MAP.

Wat Phra Sri (วัดพระศรี)

Thai. Popular name for Wat Phra Sri Rattanamahathat in Phitsanulok.

Wat Phra Sri Maha Uma Devi (วัดพระศรีมหาอุมาเทวี)

Name of an temple in Bangkok which is commonly nicknamed Wat Kaek Silom, the ‘Indian Temple of Silom’ and devoted to the goddess Uma. It was built in the Rattanakosin period, around 1879 by a group of Indian people who lived in Bangkok and purchased a plot of land on Silom Road where they initially built a small sala named Sala Sri Mari Amman. It was looked after by a group of Indian Tamils who introduced their culture here, as they did in other parts of Asia. Later, Indian settlers who lived in Bangkok contributed in building the temple and in installing the principal image of the goddess Uma in the ubosot, in addition to images of many other Hindu deities, some imported from India. Annually the temple holds the ancient festival of Navaratri (Dushera), a festival dating from Vedic times and in which rituals are performed worshipping Uma as well as other deities (fig.). The festival continues for ten days and nine nights, and on the last day ends with the feast of Vijayadazaami in which images of different forms of the goddess Uma, such as Kali and other deities, such as Kanthakumara, are carried around in a chariot procession, outside the temple (fig.). See MAP.

Wat Phra Sri Rattanamahathat (วัดพระศรีรัตนมหาธาตุ)

1. Thai. Important temple in Phitsanulok that houses the Phraphutta Chinnarat Buddha image (fig.). Abbreviated the temple is called Wat Phra Sri (วัดพระศรี), but it is also referred to as Wat Yai (วัดใหญ่). Besides housing one of the country's most revered Buddha images, the temple's pagoda contains a relic of the Buddha, hence the word Mahathat in its name. See MAP.

2. Thai. Name of a temple at Meuang Chaliang (เชลียง), i.e. the former name of Meuang Sri Satchanalai, in present-day Sri Satchanalai Historical Park, in Sukhothai Province, and which is depicted on a Thai postage stamp as part of a set of four stamps, issued in 1993 to mark the annual Thai Heritage Conservation Day and to promote the Sri Satchanalai Historical Park (fig.).

3. Thai. Name of a temple in Lopburi.

4. Thai. Name of a temple in Suphanburi.

Wat Phra Sri Rattana Sahtsadahrahm (วัดพระศรีรัตนศาสดาราม)

The official Thai name of Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok.

Wat Phra Sri Sanphet (วัดพระศรีสรรเพชญ์)

Thai. The remains of a royal temple in Ayutthaya with three distinctive chedis. READ ON.

Wat Phra Thamma Kaay (วัดพระธรรมกาย)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in Pathum Thani, located in the tambon Khlong Sahm of the amphur Khlong Luang. READ ON.

Wat Phrathat Cho Hae (วัดพระธาตุช่อแฮ)

Thai. A well-known place of pilgrimage about 10 kms from the city centre of Phrae, where worshippers wrapped a satin cloth named Cho Hae, around the 33 meters high gilded chedi (fig.). This satin fabric, after which the temple is named, is believed to have come from Sipsongpannah. See MAP.

Wat Phrathat Doi Kong Moo (วัดพระธาตุดอยกองมู)

Thai. A hilltop temple in the amphur meuang of Mae Hong Son. READ ON.

Wat Phrathat Doi Tung (วัดพระธาตุดอยตุง)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai province, located on Doi Tung mountain, to the Northwest of the town, near the Burmese border and reportedly built in 911 AD by King Achutarat of Chiang Saen. READ ON.

Wat Phrathat Haripunchai (วัดพระธาตุหริภุญชัย)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in Lamphun. READ ON.

Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang (วัดพระธาตุลำปางหลวง)

Thai. Name of a temple in Lampang with an enclosing wall in Lan Na style. The wihaan, probably built in 1476, has a wooden roof in three layers and is supported by pillars made of teakwood. It is believed to be the oldest wooden building in Thailand. The temple is built on the site of an eight century fortress (wiang) and has several wihaan. Vihaan Luang, the main wihaan, is an open-sided building with a three-tiered roof. It houses five seated Buddha images and has partly faded murals depicting ancient village life and scenes from the jataka. A special facet of this temple is its chedi (fig.) which through a small hole in the wooden fronton above the door of the temple's mondop (fig.) is reflected in reverse (fig.) on the inner wall, and through a crack in the wooden sidewall of its Vihaan Phra Phut is also reflected on a piece of cloth (fig.) by the penetrating light. The phenomena is similar to the principle of the camera obscura (literally ‘dark room’), a simple box with a pinhole through which light is passed, reflecting any image in its path upside down on the opposite wall of the box, a discovery that led to the invention of photography and which explains the etymology of the word camera. Annually in April, the Boon Song Nahm Phrathat Lampang Luang festival is celebrated in which the people pour water over the temple's chedi, using a bucket attached to a golden naga, the protector of the earthly waters (fig.). Adjacent to the ancient temple complex, a new wihaan was built in 2009 (map - fig.). See MAP.

Wat Phrathat Phanom Woramahawihaan (วัดพระธาตุพนมวรมหาวิหาร)

Thai. Name of a revered temple in Nakhon Phanom, with a distinct stupa in Laotian style. READ ON.

Wat Phrathat Pha Son Kaew (วัดพระธาตุผาซ่อนแก้ว)

Thai. ‘Temple on the Hidden Glass Cliff’ or ‘Stashed Chrystal Cliff Temple’. Name of a Buddhist temple hidden away high up in the hills of Phetchabun, at an elevation of about 830 meters above sea level. The temple features a gilded stupa in the form of a lotus bud (fig.) and a wihaan which is topped by a collection of five ice-white Buddha images of increasing heights. They are nested on the wihaan's roof and arranged in a row, with the largest one, seated in the back, being a crowned Buddha. The images are all seated in the pahng samahti or meditation pose, also known as dhyani, on a lotus base and overlooking the valley. Though their meaning remains unclear, it is presumed that they may represent either the Five Great Buddhas, i.e. emanations and representations of the five qualities of the Adi-Buddha, also referred to as the five transcendental dhyani buddhas, with the largest image then possibly representing the Adi-Buddha and the smaller statues his emanations, or alternatively, the Sakyamuni Buddha with some of the traditional buddhas of the past, perhaps even including the future Maitreya Buddha. Also known as Wat Phrathat Pha Kaew, and sometimes transliterated Wat Phra That Pha Son Kaeo. Construction was mostly completed in 2004, yet it was elevated to the status of temple only in 2010. See MAP.

Wat Phrathat Sri Chom Thong Wora Wihaan (วัดพระธาตุศรีจอมทองวรวิหาร)

Thai. An important and charming temple (fig.) on Doi Din Thong hill in Chiang Mai province, that houses a sahrihrikathat, a relic believed to be a part of the right side of the Buddha's skull. The relic was found in 1452 AD and subsequently a gilded chedi was built for it. Although, king Meuang Kaew, who reigned the Lan Na kingdom from 1495 AD to 1526 AD, later had a wihaan built, where the relic is kept today. Interestingly, it is not buried underground, but kept in a container within the wihaan, allowing it to be brought out for bathing and blessing. The assembly hall is extensively decorated with wood carvings and gold paint. A museum-like room in the back of the Phra prathaan contains a collection of Buddhist art and valuable Buddha images. The temple yard has a large ficus religiosa or bodhi tree with its branches symbolically supported by large beams and sticks named mai kham (fig.), a custom believed to prevent hardship and prolong life, and a part of the northern Thai seubchatah ceremony. See MAP.

Wat Phrathat Suthon Mongkon Khiri (วัดพระธาตุสุโทนมงคลคีรี)

Thai. Temple in the tambon Den Chai in the province of Phrae with exceptional decorations and remarkable images (fig.). The temple was founded in 1984 by Phra Athikaan Montri (Phra Kruba Montri Dhamma), who sculpted his first Buddha image when he was only 5 years old. Today this monk is the abbot and a top artist and scholar in Buddhist art. The temple-monastery was built on an 20 meter high hill covering an area of 25 rai and is associated with the nearby northern Third Army base. It has an ubosot in Lan Na style, which houses a replica of the Phraphutta Chinnarat Buddha image (fig.), and an impressive stupa in early Chiang Saen style with multiple peaks. On the outside, in front of the temple complex, lies a giant reclining Buddha (fig.), which is very similar to the Chauk Htat Gyi reclining Buddha Image in Yangon, Myanmar (fig.). See MAP, TRAVEL PICTURES (1), (2) and (3), and PANORAMA PICTURE (1) and (2).

Wat Phumin (วัดภูมินทร์)

Thai. Temple in the city of Nan whose wihaan was previously depicted on the one baht banknote. According to city chronicles the temple was founded in 1696 AD by Phra Chao Chetabutpromin, the then ruler of Nan, and initially bore his name. The wihaan is important as it is the only one the biggest image of the goddess of mercy Guan Yin in Thailand built in jaturamuk style, i.e. four entrances, one for each point of the compass. Inside are four large Buddha images, called Phra Prathaan Jaturathit, seated with their backs against each other (fig.), so that every visitor, no matter through which door he enters, is always greeted by a Buddha image. The murals in the wihaan depict the historical life of Nan, folk tales and scenes from the jataka. See MAP.

Wat Phuthaisawan (วัดพุทไธศวรรย์)

Thai. Temple located on the southern bank of the Chao Phraya River, across from Somdet Phra Sri Nakarin Park on the main island of Ayutthaya. The temple is built in an area formerly named Wiang Lek (เวียงเล็ก or เวียงเหล็ก), purportedly on the place where King Ramathibodi I (fig.) in 1350 founded the city, when he moved the central power of his empire from the town of U-Thong. Today, the temple's main attraction is the Three Kings Monument, which features three important kings of the Ayutthaya Period (fig.), i.e. King Naresuan (fig.), King Ramathibodi I, and King Ekathotsarot (fig.), which are erected on the river bank facing North towards the river and Ayutthaya island.

Wat Poh (วัดโพธิ์)

Thai. Temple of the reclining Buddha in Bangkok (map - fig.), officially known Wat Phra Chetuphon. It is the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok, and the first educational centre. It is also an important training centre for traditional massage (fig.) and reflexology (map - fig.), in the past taught on the basis of didactic pictures and figures (fig.). The temple Wat Poh already existed since the 16th century, but its real history starts only in 1781, when the old monastery was completely rebuilt. The temple (fig.) is situated near the old Chinese district of Banglamphu and several figures and statues indicate a Chinese influence of old (fig.). The temple houses the most important reclining Buddha image in Thailand, with a length of 46 meters and a height of 15 meters (map - fig.). The temple has four large chedis erected in honour of the first three monarchs of the Chakri dynasty, with two chedis honouring Rama III. There are also 91 smaller chedis, an ancient Tripitaka library, a large bot (map - fig.) with 152 marble relief panels depicting the Thai Ramakien (fig.), a gallery with Buddha images, and four wihaans. Many of the temple's gates are flanked by large stone sculptures from China, among them Chinese warriors (map - fig.), similar ‒yet bigger in size‒ to those found at Dusit Maha Prasat (fig.). These heavy granite statues are said to have been brought to Siam as ballast to weigh down the otherwise empty ships. The temple is one of the few throughout Thailand conferred with the highest royal title of Rajavora Maha Vihaan. Its full name followed by this title is Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mang Khalahrahm Rajavora Maha Vihaan. See MAP.

Wat Pong Sunan (วัดพงษ์สุนันท์)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple rich in decorations and statues, and with Burmese influences. It is located in the city center of Phrae and features a large reclining Buddha as well as a giant tortoise, with a carapace decorated with large Buddhist amulets and a standing Buddha image on top. Underneath the tortoise, between its four legs, is a statue of Phra Upakhut, and to the front side of it a statue of Thoranih, the goddess of the earth. Also transliterated Wat Phong Sunan.

Wat Pong Sunan

Wat Prayun Wongsahwaht (วัดประยุรวงศาวาส)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in Bangkok's Thonburi District, adjacent to the Memorial Bridge. READ ON.

Wat Prok (วัดปรก)

Thai. ‘Overspreading Temple’. Name of a non-governmental, private Mon temple in Bangkok's Sathorn district. It was built in 1927 by people from Pegu, who settled in Thailand and wished to have a spiritual place to practice their religion, as well as a social centre for Mon people to meet. Ancient culture and traditions are still preserved, e.g. monks pray and preach in the Mon language and male visitors often wear longyi (fig.). The temple also operates a school that teaches both Mon and English, free of charge and to anyone with an interest. Its buildings are in the Hongsawadih style, the ancient capital city of Pegu before it became part of Burma, and its main chedi is in Sri Lankan style. The temple houses a white jade Buddha image. Its decorated outer wall and gate shows the Hamsa or hongse, the Mon national symbol. On Mon National Day, annually on the first day of the waning moon of the third lunar month, Mon history is recited and people take part in Mon ceremonies, as well as offer food to their monks. Officially called Wat Prok Yahnnahwah. See MAP.

Wat Phuak Chang (วัดพวกช้าง)

Thai. Temple of a Crowd of Elephants’. Name of a small Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai. READ ON.

Wat Rakhang (วัดระฆัง)

Thai. ‘Temple of the Bell’. Name of a Buddhist temple, located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River in Thonburi. READ ON.

Wat Ratchabophit (วัดราชบพิธ)

Name of a Buddhist temple, just off Rattanakosin Island in Bangkok, located along the north-south canal that runs parallel with the Eastside of Suan Saran Rom, the palace garden or park in Phra Nakhon. READ ON.

Wat Ratchaburana (วัดราชบูรณะ)

1. Thai. Name of an ancient Buddhist temple in Ayutthaya. It was built in 1424 by King Borommaracha II (1424–1448) to house the ashes of his elder brothers Chao Aai Phraya (เจ้าอ้ายพระยา) and Chao Yih Phraya (เจ้ายี่พระยา), who both died at Saphaan Pah Thaan (สะพานป่าถ่าน) battling each other on war elephants over the succession of the throne, after King Inthrathirat or Phra Inthracha (1409 -1424) had passed away. The temple's main prang is depicted on a Thai postage stamp issued in 1994, as part of a set of four stamps to commemorate the annual Thai Heritage Conservation (fig.). See MAP.

2. Thai. Name of a temple in Bangkok (fig.), which is officially known as Wat Ratchaburana Rachawora Wihaan (วัดราชบูรณะราชวรวิหาร).

Wat Ratchanaddah (วัดราชนัดดา)

Thai. ‘Temple of the Royal Granddaughter’. Name of a Buddhist temple (fig.) in Bangkok's old part of Rattanakosin. It is home to the Lohaprasat (fig.), a unique seven floor edifice that was commissioned by King Rama III, in order to commemorate his granddaughter princess Sohmanat Watana Wadih, who later became the first queen of Rama IV, and hence stands at the origin of the name of this temple. In full, it is known as Wat Ratchanaddahraam Worawihaan (วัดราชนัดดารามวรวิหาร), though it is usually transliterated Wat Ratchanaddaram Worawihan.

Wat Ratcha Orasaraam (วัดราชโอรสาราม)

Thai. Name of a temple erected in the Ayutthaya Period and located on the western bank of Khlong Sanam Chai (คลองสนามชัย) in Thonburi. READ ON.

Wat Ratchapradit (วัดราชประดิษฐ์)

Thai. Name of a small Buddhist temple on Rattanakosin Island, located opposite of the royal cemetery of Wat Ratchabophit. It was commissioned by King Rama IV, who had it built in dedication to the Thammayut Buddhist Sect. It is built mainly in grey marble and the main chedi has a golden spire. The inside features ten stone columns that are reportedly inscribed with religious verses in Pali and Thai, composed by King Mongkut himself, the ashes of whom are today kept underneath the principal Buddha image in the ubosot. As a memorial to this king, the murals inside the ordination hall depict 12 royal ceremonies and a solar eclipse, a reference to his 1868 journey to Wako (หว้ากอ) in Prachuap Khirikhan to a observe a solar eclipse, which he had predicted himself according to his own calculations, but where he also attracted the malaria that killed him. The temple's full name is Wat Ratchapradit Sathit Mahasimaram Ratchaworawihaan (วัดราชประดิษฐ์สถิตมหาสีมาราราชวรวิหาร). See POSTAGE STAMP and MAP.

Wat Ratchathiwat (วัดราชาธิวาส)

Thai. Temple located on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok's Dusit area. It is the first aranyawasi temple or forest monastery from the Thammayut Buddhist Sect and presumably dates back to the Lavo Period. It was re-established in the Rattanakosin Period by Somdet Phra Bowon Raja Chao Maha Surasinghanat (fig.), a younger brother of King Rama IV. As a monk, prior to becoming the Siamese monarch, King Mongkut lived in this temple. The temple's existing ubosot was refurbished in Khmer-style by Prince Narisara Nuwattiwong, who also designed the temple's wihaan made entirely from teak. Inside, the ordination hall houses the Phra Sam Phuttha Phannih Buddha image (fig.), eponymous to one of the principal Buddha images in the ubosot of Wat Phra Kaew, and the walls are decorated with frescoes depicting the Wessandon chadok (fig.), painted by the Italian artist Prof. Carlo Rigoli. Initially, the temple was known as Wat Samorai (วัดสมอราย), but since it became a second class royal temple its name has been changed to Wat Ratchathiwat Ratchaworawihaan (วัดราชาธิวาสราชวรวิหาร). The pronunciation is Wat Rajaathiwaat. See also POSTAGE STAMPS and MAP.

Wat Rom Phothiyaan (วัดร่มโพธิญาณ)

Thai. ‘Temple of the umbrella, or parasol, of Enlightenment’. Name of a countryside Buddhist temple in the tambon Wang Thong (วังทอง), i.e. Golden Palace, in the amphur meuang of Kamphaeng Phet. See also rom, Photiyaan, and MAP.

Wat Rong Khun (วัดร่องขุ่น)

Thai. Temple in Chiang Rai's Pah Oud On Chai district. Its still ongoing construction started in 1998 and is supervised by Chalermchai Kohsitphiphat (Kositpipat), a renowned artist connected to Silpakorn University in Bangkok, who also designed the golden clock tower (map - fig.) and the nearby golden street lights (fig.), as well as the silver lantern poles found all over the city centre of Chiang Rai. The temple features a bot made of bright and white building materials ornamented with small pieces of glass, giving it an overwhelming, crystal-like appearance and the English designation White Temple. The white colour represents purity and religion, like in the thong chaht, the Thai national flag (fig.). Since 2010, the temple also features the Chalermchai Kohsitphiphat Hall of Masterwork (map - fig.), an adjacent museum that displays many of the original works of the named artist, featuring both sculptures (fig.) and paintings (fig.). In contrast to the silvery white colour of the ubosot, other buildings are constructed in overall yellowish gold. In the back garden of the premises a huge shrine in honour of the popular Hindu god Ganesha was recently added (fig.). See also Yattana Pontha. See MAP, PANORAMA PICTURE, TRAVEL PICTURES (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7) and (8), as well as THEMATIC STREET LIGHT.

Wat Rong Seua Ten (วัดร่องเสือเต้น)

Thai. Name of a modern Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai, which is distinguished by its vivid blue colouring and elaborate carvings. This monumental and ornate blue-toned temple, located in Rim Kok district, just to the north of the Kok River, is also commonly referred to as the Blue Temple. It was purportedly built upon the ruins of an ancient temple, that was abandoned about a century earlier. The temple was designed by Phuttha Kabkaew, a protg of Chalermchai Kohsitphiphat (Kositpipat), who built Wat Rong Khun (fig.). The entrance gate (fig.) is guarded by giant creatures half-human half-naga, with snake-like tails, reminiscent of the naga-king Phayanaag (fig.), some semi-human forms of the mythical snake naga (fig.), the serpent-like lower bodies of Naak Ganyah or Naak Galyah (fig.), the winged serpent-daughter of the Hindu god Shiva, as well as of the Chinese dragon-deities Nu Wa and Fu Xi (fig.). The guardians are standing on a lotus base adorned with decorative flame-like ornaments called kranok and the front of the pedestal located on the left side is decorated with the head of a tiger (fig.), which represents magnificence, as well as power and strength, and thus also destruction. The base on the right has the fierce head of a buck or male goat with silver lotuses sprouting from the sides of its open mouth. These animals correspond to the third (fig.) and the eight (fig.) sign of the Chinese zodiac respectively. Both sentinels are holding some lotus flowers, and while the greenish-blue giant standing on the left side is holding a blue ball, the bluish grey creature on the right side clutches a white conch (fig.). The stairs of the prayer hall are decorated with both nagamakara (fig.) and legged nagah (fig.), i.e. Burmese-style dragons (fig.), while against its outer back wall is a white standing Buddha image with an abhaya mudra performed with the left hand, and facing a blue pagoda with a golden dome and peak, which is adorned with characters from Thai and Burmese Buddhism, such as Shin Thiwali (fig.). Inside, the ubosot houses a white Buddha image seated in the lotus position with a bhumisparsa mudra. The courtyard includes a water basin with a statue of Shin U Pagok (fig.), a statue of the Buddha giving his first sermon to the five panjawakkih, a pool with naga fountains, Buddha images according to the Phra prajam wan geut system, etc. See also MAP, TRAVEL PICTURES (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9) and (10), as well as PANORAMA PICTURE.

Wat Saam Phraan (วัดสามพราน)

Thai. ‘Temple of the Three Hunters’. Name of a Buddhist temple in Nakhon Pathom and named after the tambon Saam Phraan (fig.), as well as the amphur of the same name, in which it is located. READ ON.

Wat Saen Fang (วัดแสนฝาง)

Thai. ‘Temple of a Hundred Thousand Indian Redwood Trees’. Name of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai. READ ON.

Wat Saensuk (วัดแสนสุข)

Thai. ‘Temple of Extreme Happiness’. Name of a large Buddhist temple in Bangkok's Minburi District. READ ON.

Wat Saket (วัดสระเกศ)

Thai. Temple in Bangkok on the artificial mount Phu Khao Thong or ‘Golden Mount’ (fig.). READ ON.

Wat Samaan Rattanaraam (วัดสมานรัตนาราม)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in the Tambon Bang Kaew (บางแก้ว) in Chachengsao Province, located on the banks of an island (fig.) in the Bang Pakong River (fig.), halfway between Ampheu Meuang and Bang Khla, and which is best known for housing Thailand's largest statue of a reclining Ganesha. The statue is 16 meters high and 22 meters long, and is represented with a pink complexion (fig.). The Hindu deity lies on a large square base that is in turn adorned with another 32 depictions of Ganesha in different poses, displayed as colourful bas-reliefs. Besides this, the temple has a collection of other −often large-sized− statues and objects from religion and mythology, including characters from Thai, Indian and Chinese belief and legend, such as two giant naga; a statue of Indra seated on Erawan; the largest statue in Thailand of the demon Rahu (fig.); Kuan Yin; the Three Star Gods Fu, Lu and Shou; a gigantic krathong-like (fig.) lotus flower floating on the adjacent Bang Pakong river; etc. This province is also home to a 39 meters tall bronze statue of Ganesha in a standing pose (fig.) located at Thevasataan Uthayaan Phra Phi Kaneht (map - fig.), which in turn is also the name used for a park in Nakhon Sawan (map - fig.), in English equally referred to as Ganesha Idol Park, which features a large Ganesha statue, also with a pink complexion, but in a seated pose. See MAP.

Wat Sap Bon (วัดซับบอน)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in the amphur Kaeng Khoi of Saraburi Province. READ ON.

Watsawalahok Thep (วัสสวลาหกเทพ)

Another name for Thep Patchanna.

Wat Sorasak (วัดสรศักดิ์)

Thai. Temple located within and alongside the northern part of the city wall of Sukhothai, close to Sahn (Sala) Tah Pah Daeng (ศาลตาผาแดง). According to a sila jahreuk stone inscription found at Wat Sorasak, a commoner with the name Inthara Sorasak (อินทร สรศักดิ์) in 1960 BE (1417 AD), asked the Oukyah Dhammaracha, i.e. Phaya Sai Leu Thai or Phra Maha Dhamma Racha III (พญาไสลือไท - พระมหาธรรมราชาที่ ๓), the 1400-1419 AD ruler (Chao Meuang) of Sukhothai, for a piece of land measuring 15 by 30 wah, in order to construct a temple in his honour. After the temple was completed, the venerated monk Phra Maha Thera Dhamma Trailohk (พระมหาเถรธรรมไตรโลกฯ) from the tambon Dao Khon (ดาวขอน), an uncle of the king, was invited to reside at the temple. The temple is noticeable for its bell shaped pagoda or chedi, of which the square base is surrounded by 24 caryatid-like figures in the form of White Elephants. The auspicious elephants lifting the burden of the chedi are believed to stand as a metaphor for Buddhism, which was firmly upheld throughout time. The temple, named after the commoner who initiated the land deal for its construction, is sometimes referred to as Wat Chang Lom, i.e. ‘Temple of the Encircling Elephants’, though this is in fact also the name of another temple with an elephant-surrounded pagoda in nearby Sri Satchanalai (fig.), and reminiscent of Wat Mahaeyong in Ayutthaya (map - fig.). The elephant-surrounded pagoda was particularly favoured in the Sukhothai period and was probably inspired by pagodas of a similar style in Sri Lanka. They were built in many towns, both within and beyond the Sukhothai region. See MAP.

Wat Sothon (วัดโสธร)

Thai. Temple in Chachengsao housing the famous Sothon Buddha image (fig.), one of the most sacred images in the nation, associated with the Legend of the Five Floating Buddha Statues (fig.) and with the noted Buddhist monk Phra saksit Luang Po Sothon. According to reports this monk foretold his own exact time of death, causing thousands of spectators to flock to the temple to watch him die, seated in the dhyani meditation pose. The full name of this temple is Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihaan. See MAP.

Wat Sri Boon Reuang (วัดศรีบุญเรือง)

1. Thai. Temple located in the tambon Mae Sariang, in Mae Hong Son's homonymous amphur Mae Sariang. It was established in 1907 and features a mixture of Burmese and Shan art styles. It was formerly named Wat Jong Mahkkaeng, a name that indicates that the grounds at that time used to have many tamarind trees. Today there is a sala tree (fig.) at the temple grounds and inside the temple there is a Jambupati Buddha Image, as well as a row of Buddha images used in the Phra prajam wan geut-system, in typical Burmese-Shan style. There is also a school which was added to train Buddhist monks and novices in the dhamma, and the pavilion for dhamma practice houses a Buddha image made of jade. Annually in the month of April, the local villagers celebrate Poi Sang Long at the temple. Often transcribed Wat Sriboon Ruang. It is located adjacent to Wat Jong Soong. See MAP.

2. Thai. Temple located along Khlong Saen Saeb (fig.) in Hua Mahk in the khet Bangkapi, Bangkok. This temple has a vihaan that houses the Phra prathaan and which outdoors is sided by a gallery of Buddha images seated in different poses. Beside this, the temple has several statues and images from Chinese and Burmese religion and mythology, such as the Chinese goddess Kuan Yin (fig.) and the Burmese nat-like deity Bo Bo Gyi (fig.). See MAP.

Wat Sri Chum (วัดศรีชุม)

1. Thai. Ancient temple ruin just outside the main domain of old Sukhothai's historical park, featuring a mondop which houses the 15 meter high Phra Atchana Buddha image, seated in the maravijaya-pose with a lap width of 11.3 meters. A hidden staircase in the southern wall leads to the top of the building, ending at a railing behind the head of the Buddha image. From here a monk could address his flok making them believe the voice they were hearing was actually the Buddha's. Today monks still use a fan called pad yot or talapat during ceremonies when they preach in name of the Buddha and not themselves, a fan often with a picture of the Buddha on it. The staircase is nowadays closed to the public to protect the inner jataka inscriptions and murals. See MAP.

2. Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in the northern province of Phrae, where in the beginning of the 19th century AD the monk Kanchana Aranyawasi (fig.) started his religious career.

Wat Sri Ihyam (วัดศรีเอี่ยม)

Thai. ‘Majestic Fresh Temple’. Name of a Buddhist temple in Bangkok's khet of Bang Na. READ ON.

Wat Sri Kohm Kam (วัดศรีโคมคำ)

Thai. Temple in Phayao housing the Ton Luang Buddha image (fig.), the kuh bahn kuh meuang of this city. This large gilded Buddha image is seated in the maravichaya position and is the symbol portrayed on the escutcheon of the province of Phayao (fig.). See MAP.

Wat Sri Sawai (วัดศรีสวาย)

Thai. Name of an ancient temple in Sukhothai Historical Park. It is a former Hindu shrine which was transformed into a Buddhist temple with an enclosing wall. It has three prang in Lopburi-style, which imitate the Hindu zikhara vimana or shikhara vimana (शिखर विमान), i.e. ‘summit shrine’, ‘peaked sanctuary’ or ‘crested sanctum sanctorum’, the towering superstructure above the garbhagriha (गर्भगॄह), the small unlit shrine of the Hindu temple, whereas their architectural style has been influenced by that of the Khmer. These prang are reminiscent of those of Phra Prang Sahm Yod (fig.) in Lopburi. See MAP.

Wat Suan Dok (วัดสวนดอก)

Thai. ‘Flower Garden Temple’. Name of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai. READ ON.

Wat Suthat (วัดสุทัศน)

Thai. Temple in Bangkok, of which construction was started during the reign of Rama I, but that was completed only during the rule of Rama III. READ ON.

Wat Suthat Thepwarahrahm (วัดสุทัศนเทพวราราม)

Official and full Thai name of Wat Suthat. Often followed by the highest possible title conferred by the King, i.e. Rajavora Maha Vihaan.

Wat Suwandararam (วัดสุวรรณดาราราม)

Thai-Pali. ‘Golden Star Monastery’ or ‘Golden Star Temple’. Name of a first class royal Buddhist temple located on the city island of Ayutthaya. READ ON.

Wat Suwannaram (วัดสุวรรณาราม)

Thai. ‘Golden Monastery’ or ‘Golden Temple’. Name of a royal Buddhist temple of the second class in Thonburi's Bangkok Noi district. READ ON.

Wat Ta-khe (วัดตะเฆ่)

Thai. ‘Sledgehammer Temple’. Name of an archeological site in Saraburi, located on the eastern bank of the Pa Sak River which flows towards Ayutthaya. It consists of the ruins of an ancient Buddhist temple, and its name derives from two sledgehammers that were found here during excavations. It comprises mainly of two stupas that stand side by side, sharing the same base, and which in Thai are known as Chedi Tham Jindah, which translates as ‘Stupa(s) of the Dhamma Gem’ (fig.). The temple dates from the 18th century AD, possibly from the end of the Ayutthaya period, though —as suggested from the style— the redented chedis (fig.) probably date from the early Rattanakosin period, as the type of stupa and the techniques used for the stucco decorations became popular only in Rattanakosinsok. Also transliterated Wat Takhae. See MAP.

Wat Tham Khao Krabok (วัดถ้ำเขากระบอก)

Thai. A famous, but controversial temple in Saraburi, where opium and heroin addicts are treated for their addiction using a treatment based on herbs and a strict regimen, combined with education from the Dhamma. Also called Samnak Songtham Krabok (สำนักสงฆ์ถ้ำกระบอก) and Wat Tham Krabok Co Inter (วัดถ้ำกระบอกโกอินเตอร์).

Wat Tham Khao Noi (วัดถ้ำเขาน้อย)

Thai. ‘Small hill temple cave’. Thai-Chinese Mahayana Buddhist temple (fig.), located about 15 kilometers south of the city of Kanchanaburi, constructed on a hill over a number of small caves and adjacent to the Thai temple Wat Tham Seua (fig.). The top of the temple offers a good view over the area (fig.). See MAP.

Wat Tham Krabok (วัดถ้ำกระบอก)

See Wat Tham Khao Krabok.

Wat Thammongkon (วัดธรรมมงคล)

Thai. Name of a temple in Bangkok's Phra Khanong district. It was founded in 1962 by Phra Ratchatham Jatay Ajaan (พระธรรมเจติยาจารย์) and has a stupa in the style of the Maha Bodhi pagoda in Bodhgaya in India and which is counted amongst the some of the tallest in Thailand. This stupa, called Phra Viriya Mongkon Maha Chedi (พระวิริยะมงคลมหาเจดีย์), houses relics of the Buddha which were brought from Bangladesh. Its spire consists of a chat made of 1,133 baht (17.27 kilogram) pure gold and is adorned with 1,063 diamonds. In the night the top of the stupa is illuminated and becomes a beacon in the neighbourhood. The temple also houses two jade images. One is a Buddha image, named Phra Buddha Mongkon Tham Sri Thai (พระพุทธมงคลธรรมศรีไทย) which was sculpted from a massive boulder  from Kings Mountain in Canada. The other is a large image of the Chinese goddess of mercy Phra Mae Kwan Im, reportedly the biggest ever made from jade. The temple's full name is Wat Thammongkon Thao Boon Nontha Wihaan (วัดธรรมมงคลเถาบุญนนทวิหาร). See MAP.

Wat Thamniyom (วัดธรรมนิยม)

Thai. ‘Temple of the Adored Dharma’. Name of a Buddhist temple in Ayutthaya, which on its courtyard features a large statue of the Hindu deity Brahma, in a standing pose. The time of the initial construction of the temple is unclear. According to some sources it was built by Phraya Yommaraat Sang, Regent of Nakhon Ratchasima in the reign of King Narai the Great (fig.), and the temple is hence by locals also referred to as Wat Yom. The principal Buddha image, located at the ubosot of the temple, is black in colour and is known as Luang Pho Dam (ดำ), literally the ‘Black Revered Father’. See MAP.

Wat Tham Pah Acha Thong (วัดถ้ำป่าอาชาทอง)

Thai. ‘Golden Horse Jungle Cave Temple’. Name of a forest temple in Chiang Rai province whose monks and novices set out to go bintabaat (alms begging) on horsebacks (fig.). See MAP.

Wat Tham Seua (วัดถ้ำเสือ)

1. Thai. ‘Tiger cave temple’. Temple complex (wat) in Ta Mameuang about 15 kms South of the city of Kanchanaburi, constructed around a small cave (tham) housing a tiger statue (seua). It is built adjacent to the Thai-Chinese temple Wat Tham Khao Noi (fig.). See MAP.

2. Thai. ‘Tiger cave temple’. Buddhist temple compound in Krabi located at the foot of a mountain which also belongs to the temple complex and which at its summit has a gilded chedi, a large gilded Buddha statue seated in the meditation pose, and several smaller Buddha statues, such as those of the Phra prajam wan system (fig.), and other images related to religion and mythology. The summit offers a panoramic view of the Kiriwong Valley and can be reached by climbing a strenuous flight of stairs with 1,237 steps. There are several caves and according to legend a monk meditating in the caves witnessed a huge tiger roaming the area, which led to the temple's name. See MAP.

Wat Tham Sila Thong (วัดถ้ำศิลาทอง)

Thai. ‘Golden Rock Cave Temple’. A Buddhist temple in Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat). This small forest temple is located near a cave and its courtyard features several religious sculptures, many in Burmese style. In the bat-dwelling cave is a small statues of a reusi (fig.), known as Reusi Pah Kae (ฤาษีป่าแก่), i.e. the ‘Old Forest Hermit’. At dusk, the microbats can be seen leaving this limestone cave from a large nearby opening at the top of the mountain in which they live during the day, in order to hunt for insects during the night. Flying out in an elongated flock of thousands ─if not millions of bats, birds of prey are awaiting them, disturbing the otherwise unbroken flow of bats as they hunt these creatures for prey in real aerial battles reminiscent of WW1 aerial combat maneuvers. See also VIDEO and MAP.

Wat That Thong (วัดธาตุทอง)

Thai. Name of a royal monastery and funeral temple in Bangkok's Sukhumvit area. READ ON.

Wat Thaton (วัดท่าตอน)

Thai. Name of a hilltop temple in the sleepy town and tambon of Thaton. READ ON.

Wattana Nakhon (วัฒนนคร)

Thai. ‘City Development’ or ‘City Prosperity’. Name of an Airbus A340-600 in the fleet of Thai Airways International, which was given its name by King Bhumiphon. It was taken into service on 29 September 2005, making a short test flight for VIPs from Don Meuang to Suwannaphum. It appears on the last of a set of four Thai postage stamps issued in 2010 for the occasion of the airline's 50th birthday anniversary (fig.). See also nakhon.

watthanatham (วัฒนธรรม)

Thai. ‘Culture’.

watthasongsaan (วัฎสงสาร)

Thai. ‘Life cycle’. The cycle of life, death and rebirth. Perpetual suffering. See also thevathut sie.

Wat Thawon Wararam (วัดถาวรวราราม)

Thai. ‘Temple of Permanent Excellence’. Temple (wat) located on the left bank of the Kwae Yai River, off Saeng Chuto (แสงชูโต) Road, between Ban Tai (บ้านใต้) and Ban Neua (บ้านเหนือ) districts of Kanchanaburi city, just North of where the river confluences with the Kwae Noi River to form the (Mae) Klong River, about 2.5 kilometers downriver from the Bridge over the River Kwae (fig.). Its main feature is a pagoda modeled after the Tian Tan tower (fig.) in Beijing, China. See also wararam. See MAP.

Wat Traimit (วัดไตรมิตร)

Thai. ‘Temple of the three friends’. Temple built in the 13th century AD, founded by three friends (trai mit) in Bangkok's Chinatown, who donated the land for the temple to be build, to house a 3.5 meter high and 5.5 ton Buddha image, made of solid gold, usually referred to as the Golden Buddha (fig.). During the siege of Ayutthaya this image was covered with plaster to hide it from the Burmese invaders. The statue cast in Sukhothai style was moved from Ayutthaya to Bangkok after the city was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767. Over time this plaster casing was assumed to be the original. Only recently was the original rediscovered when a crane moving the statue within the temple complex dropped it breaking open the plaster revealing the solid gold. The Golden Buddha, officially named Phra Phutta Maha Suwan Patimakon, was until 2009 housed in a small mondop at the temple's compound. At the end of that year it was moved to a newly constructed high-rise building (fig.). The shrine is open to visitors year-round. The temple's ubosot (fig.) however, is only occasionally open to the public (fig.), most likely on Buddhist holidays, such as Visakha Bucha. The temple's full and official name is Wat Traimit Witthayarahm Worawihaan. See MAP.

Wat Traimit Witthayarahm Worawihaan (วัดไตรมิตรวิทยารามวรวิหาร)

Thai. Full name of Wat Traimit.

Wat Wang Wiwekaram (วัดวังก์วิเวการาม)

Thai. ‘Wang [Ka] temple of the desolate araam’. Name of a temple situated on a hill side near the banks of the Khao Laem reservoir in Sangkhlaburi. Its pagoda is erected in the style of the Maha Bodhi pagoda in Bodhgaya (India) and is one of several such pagodas in Thailand, others include those of Wat Yahn in Chonburi (fig.) and Wat Mahathat Wachiramongkon in Krabi (fig.). The temple is built in a mixture of Thai, Burmese and Hindu styles and the monastery's abbot is a highly respected Luang Pho. Locally called Wat Mon.

Watwin (ဝါတွင်း)

Burmese. Name for the Buddhist Lent in Myanmar, which usually start in the month of July. See also Thadingyut.

Wat Wongsamoon Wihaan (วัดวงศมูลวิหาร)

Thai. Name of a small Buddhist temple, located at the western end of a large dry-dock at the Naval Dockyard, within the compound of the Royal Thai Navy base in Thonburi. READ ON.

Wat Yahn (วัดญาณ)

Thai. Buddhist temple complex in Huay Yai district in Chonburi province , with a pagoda similar to the Maha Bodhi pagoda in Bodhgaya, the place where the Buddha attained Enlightenment. It is one of two pagodas in Thailand that are built similar to the Maha Bodhi pagoda in India. The other one is that of Wat Wang Wiwekaram (fig.) in Sangkhlaburi (fig.) in Kanchanaburi province. Its full name is Wat Yahn Sangwarahrahm Woramahawihaan. See MAP.

Wat Yahnnahwah (วัดยานนาวา)

Thai. ‘Boat Vehicle Temple’. Name of a third class royal temple (fig.) in Sathorn district in Bangkok. READ ON.

Wat Yahn Sangwarahrahm Woramahawihaan (วัดญาณสังวรารามวรมหาวิหาร)

See Wat Yahn.

Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (วัดใหญ่ชัยมงคล)

Thai. ‘Great Temple of the Auspicious Victory’. Name of a temple in Ayutthaya, which was presumably built in the reign of King U-Thong, not so long after the founding of the capital in 1351. READ ON.

Wat Yai Suwannaram (วัดใหญ่สุวรรณาราม)

Thai. Name of a Buddhist temple in Phetchaburi which dates back to the Ayutthaya Period. Located against the wall behind the principal Buddha image in the ubosot is a Buddha statue with a maravijaya mudra. It is seated in the half lotus position and the visible foot uniquely has six toes, symbolizing the Buddha's six senses, i.e. the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. Also transliterated Wat Yai Suwannaraam. See MAP.

waw (ว่าว)

Thai for ‘kite’ or ‘kite’, which in Thailand are usually made of a skeleton of thin bamboo sticks and tensioned yarn, covered with some lightweight paper (fig.). The kites can be fashioned in any shape of ones likening, including that of animals, such as buffaloes (fig.) or snakes (fig.), though for competition, the chula or ‘male’ kite (fig.) and pak pao or ‘female’ kite (fig.) are typically used. The term waw is used in conjunction with any of these specific kites, e.g. waw chula, i.e. a ‘chula kite’, or waw kwai, i.e. ‘buffalo kite’, etc. See also kite flying and kite flying fights. See also chak waw and krabeuang waw.

Waw (ဝေါ)

Burmese. Small town in Myanmar's Mon State, which is home to the Bago-Sittaung (Pegu-Sitong/Sittoung) Canal, that connects the city of Bago with the Sittaung River. Along the canal, just north of this town, is a sun-dried fish production area, which sells much of its produce along the side of the road. The name is actually pronounced Wo. See MAP.

waw kwai (ว่าวควาย)

Thai. ‘Buffalo kite’. Name a kind of kite that originates from southern Thailand, where kite flying is practiced after the harvesting season. READ ON.

Wax Candle Festival

Annual nationwide festival at the beginning of the Buddhist Lent in which large candles (fig.) are beautifully moulded (fig.) or carved in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and paraded in a procession (fig.) of adorned pick-ups (fig.), called rot kraba in Thai. This festival is celebrated most exuberantly in Ubon Ratchathani where annually a parade takes place in which large floats carry massive wax candles and wax works displaying traditional characters and scenes from Buddhism and mythology (fig.). In 2009, the Thai Post Company Limited, issued a set of four stamps with different floats of the Wax Candle Procession at Thung Si Meuang in Ubon Ratchathani province (fig.). In Thai called Praphenih Hae Thian Pansa.

Wax Castle Festival

Festival in Sakon Nakhon to mark the ending of the Buddhist Lent. Tradition has it that local people at this time of year formerly had a wax tree built, which was carried to the temple in a procession. This over time evolved into the making of wax castles, a local heritage now handed down to make merit for the late ancestors. The wax castles symbolize the ideal spiritual dwelling place which Buddhists want as their final destination. To reach this heavenly place they are required to be eager and energetic in the making of merit, an act generally known as tamboon. Locals divide themselves into different community groups, comprising of farmers, merchants and governmental officials, each group donating money according to their own enthusiasm and striving to build the most beautiful castle. Also called Wax Prasat Procession and in Thai Praphenih Hae Prasat Pheung.

Wax Rose

Common name of a large evergreen shrub, with the botanical designation Pereskia bleo. It grows up to five metres tall and blooms all year round, bearing showy orange flowers. However, despite its name the Wax Rose is not a rose, but a deciduous, leaved cactus, that grows to a woody, prickly shrub, with a stem that is not succulent and hardly resembles the typical desert cacti, nor is it as drought resistant. Also commonly known by the names Rose Cactus and Leaf Cactus, and in Thai called Kulaab Pukaam (กุหลาบพุกาม), i.e. ‘Burmese Rose’.

Wayabud (ไวยบุตร)

Thai-Sanskrit. Name of a monkey-warrior character in the epos Ramakien. READ ON.

wayang golek

Indonesian-Javanese. ‘Traditional performance of puppets’ or simply ‘puppet show’. A kind of puppet theatre from Java, that uses wooden puppets. READ ON.

Wayubud (วายุบุตร)

Thai-Sanskrit. ‘Son of Vayu’. Another name for Hanuman. See also Bhima.

Weasel Olive

Common name for a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Olividae. READ ON.

Weaver Ant

Common name of an in Southeast Asia living genus of ants with the scientific designation Oecophylla smaragdina. READ ON.

Weeping Goldsmith

Nickname given in Myanmar to a kind of ornamental plant that bears white flowers with long yellow pistils, that grow in drooping clusters underneath large green leaves, and that are the floral offering of choice in Buddhist temples nationwide. The name refers to the fact that the shape of these flowers is so intricate that they cannot be copied, not even by a goldsmith, considered to be among the most skilled of artisans, thus making the goldsmith weep. In Burmese, known as panhtain ngo.

Wei Tuo (韦驮, อ้วยโท้)

Chinese-Thai. Name for the general-bodhisattva, who according to legend vowed to protect the members of the Sangha when they are disturbed by Mara, and to guard and preserve the teachings of the Buddha. READ ON.

Weiqi (围棋)

Chinese. Literally ‘encircling game’. Name for the ancient board game of Go.

wen fang si bao (文房四宝)

Chinese. Literally ‘Four Jewels of the Writing House’, but more commonly referred to as the ‘Four Treasures of the Study’. It is the name for a pen tray containing a set of writing brushes (fig.), an ink stick (fig.), an inkstone (fig.) and natural paper, four essential objects used in Chinese calligraphy (fig.). In addition to these tools also paperweights, a brush rest, a Chinese seal (fig.) and seal paste are used, and often included in larger trays.

Wen Shu (文殊)

Chinese. ‘Unique Culture’. Name for the bodhisattva of learning and wisdom in Mahayana Buddhism, who is in Sanskrit known by the name Manjushri (fig.). In Chinese iconography, he is often depicted riding a lion and holding a lotus flower, or a ruyi, which is often in the form of a lotus, from which it initially derived its shape. Whereas the lotus is a symbol of wisdom and Enlightenment, the bodhisattva riding the lion represents him using wisdom to tame the mind. His consort is Biancai Tian (辩才天), i.e. Sarasvati, whose Chinese name translates as ‘Heavenly Eloquence’, who in Tibet also has a wrathful form known as Vajra Sarasvati or Magzor Gyalmo in Tibetan, which means Queen of the Weapon Army’ (fig.).


See Wetsandorn.

Western Crowned-pigeon

Name of a large species of pigeon, that can grow up to 75 centimeter tall. It is largely greyish-blue in colour, with a dark purple throat and breast, an horizontal white and purple-brown bar on its wings, and a light grey horizontal bar at the end of its tail. It has red eyes and a greyish-blue beak. Its legs and feet are mixture of salmon, white and brown. On its head there is a typifying crown of grey-white feathers (fig.). Its is also known as Victorian Crowned Pigeon, Common Crowned Pigeon and Blue Crowned Pigeon, and by the scientific names Goura cristata and Goura victoria. In Thai it is called nok phiraab ngon, meaning ‘crowned pigeon’ or ‘crest-combed dove’.

West Indian Cherry

Common name of a tropical shrub or small tree, with the botanical designation Malpighia emarginata, which is also commonly known as Barbados Cherry. It originates from South and Central America, where it is known as Acerola. Its fruit is edible and high in vitamin C content. They are juicy, green to bright red in colour, and sour to sweet in taste. In Thailand, this fruit-bearing tree is commonly called Cherrih Thai (เชอร์รี่ไทย), that isThai Cherry, but it is scientifically referred to by its Spanish designation Acerola Cherry (อะเซโรลาเชอร์รี่). In Vietnam, it is known as sori (sơ ri).

West Indian Lantana

See phakah krong.

wetih muay (เวทีมวย)

Thai name for boxing ring’, though the term is often used more generally to refer to a boxing arena or boxing stadium as well, which is officially known as sanam muay. In Thailand, the term wetih muay most frequently refers to boxing rings used in muay thai (fig.). In Bangkok, there are two main such indoor boxing rings for muay thai, i.e. in Lumphini Stadium on Rama IV Road, and in Ratchdamnoen Arena on Ratchdamnoen Road.

Wetsandorn (เวสสันดร)

Sanskrit. Name of the bodhisattva in his tenth and last jataka as son of the king of Sivi, before his final incarnation as Buddha. His story is written down in the Wetsandornchadok and deals with the merit of charity. Also called Vessantara and Vishvantara. Also spelt Wessadon.

Wetsandornchadok (เวสสันดรชาดก)

Sanskrit. Chadok of Wetsandorn, the Buddha in his tenth and last incarnation as bodhisattva. A story that emphasizes the merit of ‘giving’. Wetsandorn was born the son of king Sanjaya and queen Pusati who ruled over the kingdom of Sivi and from an early age he enjoyed giving things away. Also called Vessantara jataka. MORE ON THIS.

Wetsuwan (เวสสุวัณ)

Thai. A deity and guardian of the North. He is depicted as a yak or giant, sometimes with a green complexion. He is also known as Thao Wetsuwan and Phra Paisarop. In Sanskrit, he is referred to as Vaisravana. See also Kuperan (fig.).

Whale Shark

With a length of up to about 17 meters, the largest living fish species on the planet. Its upper body is mostly brownish grey, with pale yellow spots and stripes, that are different in each animal, making them as unique as a fingerprint and allowing for accurate identification. It has three prominent ridges that run along each side of the body and a white belly. It has five large pairs of gills and two small eyes, that are located towards the front of the wide, flat head. Despite its common name, the Whale Shark is not a whale, as that is a mammal, but a slow moving, filter feeding shark, feeding mainly, though not exclusively, on plankton. It moves its entire body for swimming, making it an inefficient swimmer, with an average speed of only around 5 kilometers per hour. Whale Sharks live in the open sea and are found in tropical and warm oceans, including the coastal waters of Thailand. They may live for up to 70 years. It has the scientific name Rhincodon typus and in Thai it is known as pla chalaam waan. See also POSTAGE STAMP.

Wheel of Fire

Standard means of transportation of the Taoist child-deity Nezha, which allows him to freely travel through the sky at great speed and which is able to carry him to whichever place he wishes to go. READ ON.

Wheel of Law

Iconographic symbol of the dhamma, the teachings of the Buddha, which are never ending. See also dhammachakka and Wheel of Fire.

Whip Scorpion

Common name for a member of an order of terrestrial invertebrate arachnids. READ ON.

wishing gem

See chintamani.

White-bellied Minivet

Common name for an extended species of an up to 16 centimeter tall, black, white and orange bird in the family Corvidae. Its scientific name is Pericrocotus erythropygius. Its appearance is strikingly similar to the slightly smaller, 13-14 centimeter tall, male Stonechat (fig.). The White-bellied Minivet is found mostly in dry, deciduous forest, as well as in scattered trees in semi-desert, dry lowland cultivation. In Thailand, this uncommon bird is known by the name nok kalaad sih chomphoo-khao (นกขลาดสีชมพู-ขาว), i.e. ‘timid pink-white bird’.

White-bellied Sea Eagle

Name for a very large bird of prey, with the scientific name Haliaeetus leucogaster. READ ON.

White-breasted Kingfisher

Common name for a species of wood or tree kingfisher, with the scientific name Halcyon smyrnensis. It is widely distributed and there are several subspecies, the one common in Southeast Asia being Halcyon smyrnensis perpulchra, which has a dark chestnut head and belly, and a white throat and breast (fig.). Its upper tail feathers and wings are mostly turquoise (fig.), apart from chestnut and black wing coverts, and a whitish shoulder patch. Its bill, legs and feet are reddish-orange (fig.). This widespread species has a variety of habitats, always in the vicinity of water and with ample trees or other perches, such as wires or fence posts (fig.). It is also known as White-throated Kingfisher and in Thai it is called nok ka-ten ok khao (นกกะเต็นอกขาว) or nok kra-ten ok khao (นกกระเต็นอกขาว). See also POSTAGE STAMPS, WILDLIFE PICTURES, and TRAVEL PICTURES.

White-breasted Waterhen

Common designation for a waterbird, with the scientific name Amaurornis phoenicurus. It is is widely distributed across South Asia (fig.) and Southeast Asia. They have mainly dark slate-grey upperparts and flanks, and a white face, neck, breast and upper belly. The lower belly, vent and under-tail are rufous-chestnut coloured. They have long toes, a short tail and yellow legs, as well as a yellowish bill with a red spot at the upper mandible's base. They use their bill to probe in mud and shallow water, in search of food, which includes insects, aquatic invertebrates, small fish and seeds. Its body is flattened laterally, allowing it easier passage through reeds and undergrowth. Sexes are similar, but females are smaller, and immature birds are duller and have only traces of white on the front (fig.). In Thai, this bird is called nok kwak. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.

White-browed Prinia

Another common name for the Plain Prinia.

White-browed Shortwing

Name for a bird with the scientific name Brachypteryx montana, distributed from India in the West, over Nepal, Bhutan, China and Taiwan in the North, to most of Southeast Asia, including Thailand, where it is a resident bird, found in the high mountains of the North, especially on the upper slopes of Doi Inthanon. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. The male is distinctly different from the female, i.e. indigo-black, with a prominent white stripe over the eyes, that sometimes seem to join across the forehead, whereas the female is olive-green to brown, with a reddish brown forehead and a short supercilium. In Thai known as nok pihk san sih nahm ngun, i.e. ‘blue short-winged bird’.

White-browed Wagtail

Common name of a species of bird with the scientific name Motacilla maderaspatensis. With a size of about 21 centimeters, it is the largest member of the wagtail family Motacillidae. It has black upperparts, a black head and black breast, white outer-tail feathers, white underparts and white primaries, and a long white supercilium. This bird is endemic to the Indian subcontinent and a resident breeder in parts of Nepal and India, where it is found South of the Himalayas (fig.), East of the Indus River, and to the West of Bangladesh. Also known as Large Pied Wagtail (fig.).

White-cheeked Gibbon

See Gibbon.

White-crested Laughingthrush

Common name of a passerine bird with the scientific name Garrulax leucolophus. It is characterized by a conspicuous snow-white crest, throat and chest, that stands out against the black mask and beak. Its upperparts and belly are bright reddish-brown, and its legs are greyish. This common forest resident (fig.) has distinguished call that sounds like hysterical laughter. In Thai it is known as nok kraraang hua ngok, or alternatively nok karaang hua ngok. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.

White-crowned Hornbill

A species of hornbill, with the scientific names Aceros comatus and Berenicornis comatus, and also commonly known as the White-crested Hornbill. It is about 90 to 101 centimeters large. Adult males (fig.) have blackish upperparts, whitish underparts, a whitish head, neck and tail, and white-tipped flight feathers. In addition, they have a shaggy crest, a greyish bill, and pale blue facial skin (fig.). Adult females are similar, but their neck and underparts are blackish (fig.). It is found in subtropical and tropical forests on the Thai-Malay Peninsula, on Sumatra and in Borneo. Unlike most hornbill species, that make a loud, whooshing sound as they fly, this species' flight is almost noiseless. Like owls, silent flight might help the White-crowned Hornbill sneak up on prey, such as lizards, snakes, insects and even small birds. Therefore, it is also different from other hornbills, because it is carnivorous, rather than frugivorous (fruit-eating). In Thai, it is known as nok ngeuak hua ngok (นกเงือกหัวหงอก), meaning ‘silver-grey-headed hornbill’.

White Dragontail

Common name for a species of swallowtail butterfly found in parts of southern China, South Asia and Southeast Asia. READ ON.

White-eared Bulbul

Common name for a species of bulbul in the family Pycnonotidae, with the scientific designation Pycnonotus leucotis. It is found in the eastern parts of southern Asia. This songbird is ashy grey above with a black face and white cheek-patches, and a lighter grey below, with a yellowish-orange vent. The sexes are alike. Its white ear-patches make it somewhat reminiscent of the Red-whiskered Bulbul (fig.), though some of its features also resemble those of the Himalayan Bulbul (fig.) and the Sooty-headed Bulbul (fig.).

White Elephant

Brownish pink to white Asian Elephant. READ ON.

White-eyed River Martin

Common name for a species of rare passerine bird, with the Latin scientific designation Pseudochelidon sirintarae. Adults have a mostly glossy greenish-black plumage, a white rump, and a tail with two elongated central tail feathers. It has a white eye ring and a broad, bright greenish-yellow bill. The sexes are similar in appearance, but juveniles lack the tail ornaments and are generally browner than adults. In Thai, this species is known by the names nok chao fah ying sirindhorn (นกเจ้าฟ้าหญิงสิรินธร) and nok naang aen tah phong (นกนางแอ่นตาพอง). This bird is depicted on a Thai postage stamp issued in 1975 as part of a set on Thai birds (fig.).

White-handed Gibbon

Common name for a kind of gibbon, i.e. a species of primate in the family Hylobatidae, with the scientific designation Hylobates lar, and hence also commonly known as Lar Gibbon. There are several morphs, which have either a light fur and a dark face (fig.) or a dark fur with a white rim around its face, yet all morphs have white fur on their hands and feet. They occur in all of Southeast Asia and spend most of their life in treetops (fig.), as they are rather clumsy on the ground (fig.). They live in small family groups consisting of a male and female with up to four young. They feed on fruits and insects alike and might occasionally even eat squirrels and small birds which they, through their speed, are said to pick from the air. They have a lifespan of about 25 years. In Thai, they are called chanie, a word which can also be used derogatory for women, since the White-handed Gibbon call sounds like ‘phua’, the Thai word for husband, thus indicating a gibbon sounds like a woman who is calling for her husband. This distinctive call can be heard from up to two kilometer away.

White-headed Bulbul

Common name for a species of medium-sized songbird, with a body length to 26 centimeters. It belongs to the family of bulbuls (Pycnonotidae) and has the scientific designation Hypsipetes thompsoni. It has a dark grey to chestnut body and tail, with a white neck and a rather large white head. Its  legs, as well as its slightly elongated bill, are orange. Its eyes are brown or red. It has a long tail and short, rounded wings, and an overall compact appearance, especially compared to the Black Bulbul, of which certain subspecies also have a white head (fig.). Its natural habitats are subtropical to tropical moist highlands and lowland forests, especially the edge of evergreen forests, in secondary growth, scrub and clearings. It usually dwells between 900 to 2,000 meters, but occasionally descends to foothills. It is known to occur from Burma to Vietnam and in Thailand it is an uncommon resident, which numbers may perhaps be augmented by some winter visitors. Its harsh call is varied, with short, scratchy or squeaky sounds, including a distinctive, rhythmic chit-chiriu sound. In Thai it is called nok parod thao hua khao.

White-lipped Pit Viper

A venomous and dangerous species of pit viper, that ranges from India through Burma, Thailand, Indochina and southern China to Malaysia and large parts of Indonesia, including Borneo, Sumatra and Java. It has a short and stout body with strongly keeled scales and its head has a distinctive triangular shape. Its dorsal side is green, whilst the ventral side is yellow and the tail brownish (fig.) but, though unusual, it may occasionally be overall yellowish (fig.). Generally its eyes are yellow (fig.), yet some species have brownish red eyes (fig.). In addition, males have a thin white ventrolateral stripe that runs along the body and which is sometimes visible on the first row of body scales. As with all pit vipers, it is distinguished by the presence of a heat-sensing pit organ located between the eye and the nostril on either side of the head. The designation white-lipped’ comes from the fact that the side of its head, below the eyes, is much lighter than rest of the head, i.e. white, pale yellow or pale green (fig.). It occurs in forest and open grassland, as well as in urban areas. This snake is nocturnal and feeds on a variety of vertebrates, including small birds, rodents, frogs and lizards. When aroused it is quick to bite, though its venom is seldom fatal to humans. By day it is less aggressive. Also called White-lipped Tree Viper and White-lipped Bamboo Viper, and in Thai known as ngu khiaw hahng mai thong leuang. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.

White Mulberry

Common name for a short-lived, fast-growing shrub or medium-sized mulberry tree, with the botanical name Morus alba. READ ON.

White-naped Crane

Common name of a large bird in the crane family Gruidae, with the scientific name Grus vipio. It is found in China, breeding from northeastern Mongolia to the northeastern regions, and wintering near the Yangtze River, as well as in Taiwan, Korea and Japan. It grows up to around 130 centimeters tall, is mostly slate grey, with a white nape and hindneck, pinkish legs, and a red face patch, that extends from around the eyes. In Thai, it is known as nok krarian kho khao (นกกระเรียนคอขาว), i.e. ‘White-necked Crane’.

White-necked Laughingthrush

Common name for a bird with the binomial name Garrulax strepitans. It has an overall dark appearance with a  dark brown, near-black breast, throat and face, a white neck, and a brown spot on both sides of the neck. Its vent is also slightly brownish, and it has a warm brown crown and rusty ear-coverts. It is found in evergreen forests, between 500 and 1,800 meters, and is an uncommon to common local resident. In Thai, it is known as nok kraraang ok sih nahm tahn mai (นกกะรางอกสีน้ำตาลไหม้) or nok karaang ok sih nahm tahn mai (นกกะรางอกสีน้ำตาลไหม้).

White Orange Tip

Common name for a species of butterfly, with the scientific designation Ixias marianne. The upperwings of the male are white with an orange patch on the upper-apex of the forewings, and broad black margins on the apical half of the forewings, as well as on the terminal margin of the hindwings. Females are similar, but the orange patch is narrower and it bears four black spots. There underside of both sexes is sulphur-yellow and is covered with reddish-brown markings and minuscule dots. The wet-season form is more heavily marked on the forewings. This butterfly is very similar to the white form of the Yellow Orange Tip (fig.).

White Pelican

Common name for a bird in the pelican family, with the scientific designation Pelecanus onocrotalus. It is also commonly known by the names Eastern White Pelican and Great White Pelican, and is one of two species that occur in the region of Southeast Asia, the other one being the Grey Pelican (fig.). The White Pelican is mainly whitish, with a greyish-brown bill, a yellowish pouch,  pinkish legs and feet, which are webbed, and a bare pink facial patch around the eye, whilst the underside of the flight feathers is black. In the breeding season, the plumage has a pinkish tinge, the facial patch is pinkish in males and yellowish-orange in females, the pouch is bright deep yellow, it has a yellowish-buff patch on the breast, and it has a tufted crest at the back of the nape (fig.). Immature birds are greyish-brown and have dark flight feathers.

White-rumped Munia

Name of a 10-11 centimeters small passerine bird with the scientific name Lonchura striata. It has light underparts, a white rump (fig.) and largely brown upperparts, with both its neck and breast speckled with lighter brown spots. Its stubby bill and legs are greyish black, whereas its tail is black. It is also known as Striated Finch and in Thai as nok kratid tapohk khao. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.

White-rumped Shama

Common name for a passerine bird, with the scientific name Copsychus malabaricus, of which in Thailand two subspecies are prevalent, i.e. Copsychus malabaricus interpositus and C.m. pellogynus. Adult males are blackish-blue, with a white rump and orange-rufous underparts (fig.). Their long tail is blackish, with white outer feathers. Males grow up to 28 centimeters tall. The dark parts of females are greyer, while the underparts are paler and the tail shorter. Juveniles (fig.) are brownish with buff speckles, and a buff throat and breast which is dark scaled. This bird has a highly varied, melodious song, which includes mimicry. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES and TRAVEL PICTURES.

White-shouldered Starling

Common name for a passerine bird in the family Sturnidae, with the scientific designation Sturnia sinensis. READ ON.

White-spotted Guitarfish

Common name for a species of fish in the Rhynchobatidae family, with the scientific designation Rhynchobatus djiddensis and in Thai called Pla Roanan Jud Khao (ปลาโรนันจุดขาว), i.e. ‘White-spotted rohnan fish’. It has a distinctive wedge-shape and tiny white spots on an otherwise olive-grey upper body, whilst the lower body is white.

White-tailed Fighting Cock

See Yellow White-tail Fighting Cock.

White Temple

English name for the Thai temple Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai (fig.), as well as for the Ava temple Yattana Pontha in Inwa (fig.).

White-throated Babbler

Common name for a species of bird, with the scientific designation Turdoides gularis, and which is endemic to Myanmar. Adults have a very long tail and in whole they measure about 25.5 centimeters in size. It is rich buff below and streaked with grey above, and –as its name suggests– it has a white throat. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES and TRAVEL PHOTOS.

White-throated Fantail

Common name for a species of fantail, a passerine bird in the family Rhipiduridae, with the scientific designation Rhipidura albicollis. READ ON.

White-vented Myna

Common name for a species of starling in the Sturnidae family and with the scientific name Acridotheres grandis. It is mainly black with a prominent crest, a yellow to orange bill and legs, and white under wings and undertail-coverts (fig.). It is found in Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and China. It prefers open countryside and cultivated areas, where it is sometimes found perching on the back of cattle, ridding them of parasites (fig.). In China, the White-vented Myna is often bred and held as a pet (fig.). Like its relative the Talking Hill Myna (fig.), it is also able to mimic human speech. In Thai it is called nok ihyang ngon. Compare to the Common Myna (fig.).

White Wagtail

Name for a small passerine bird, with the scientific name Motacilla alba and belonging to the wagtail family Motacillidae. There are several subspecies, with quite a number of them dwelling in southern Asia, including Swinhoe's Wagtail (Motacilla alba baicalensis), the Streak-eyed Wagtail (Motacilla alba ocularis), the Black-backed Wagtail (Motacilla alba lugens), the Black-eared or Hodgson's Wagtail (Motacilla alba alboides), the Masked Wagtail (Motacilla alba personata), and the Amur Wagtail (Motacilla alba leucopsis). The latter is black above, with broad white fringes to its wing-coverts and tertials, and white outer-tail feathers (fig.). The male has a white head and underparts, a black hindcrown, nape and an isolated black breast patch, which in the breeding season extends to the lower throat and joins the black of the mantle. The female is similar, but light gray above and with a narrower breast patch (fig.). Females also have some very light yellow colouring on the face (fig.), around the eyes. The male Masked Wagtail in non-breeding plumage is grey above and has a black hood, with a white forecrown, eyering and upper throat (fig.). The White Wagtail is a winter visitor to Thailand and in Thai it is called nok um baat (นกอุ้มบาตร), the bird that carries an alms bowl, referring to the black patch on it's breast, which is reminiscent of a Buddhist monk's alms bowl (fig.). See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.

White-winged Wood Duck

Name for a species of duck, with the scientific names Asarcornis scutulata and Cairina scutulata. Males have a body size of up to 81 centimeters, whilst females are no larger than about 66 centimeters. Males are mostly dark, with white lesser and median coverts and inner edges of tertials, and bluish-grey secondaries. The whitish head and upper neck are speckled with black, and the bill is mostly dull yellowish. The irises are a brownish-orange. In flight, the white wing-coverts contrast with the rest of the wings. Besides being smaller, females usually have a more densely mottled head and upper neck. Juveniles are overall duller and browner. The bird is somewhat similar to the female Comb Duck, though the latter has mostly whitish underparts and all dark wings. In the past, this species was widely distributed from northeastern India and Bangladesh, through Southeast Asia to Java and Sumatra, but since both the bird and its eggs are hunted for food, as well as an ongoing habitat loss, it is now endangered with an estimated population of less than a thousand, spread over India, Bangladesh, Burma, Indochina and Thailand, and only a few on Sumatra. This species is also known as simply White-winged Duck, and in Thai it is called pet kah (เป็ดก่า). A male and female White-winged Wood Duck are depicted on a postage stamp which was issued in 1996 as part of a set of four stamps on ducks found in Thailand (fig.).

wiang (เวียง)

Thai for a walled city. Also transcribed viang or even vien, as in Vientiane.

Wiang Kum Kahm (เวียงกุมกาม)

Thai. Name of an ancient settlement in northern Thailand, that was founded by king Mengrai after his victory over Haripunchai, and predates Chiang Mai. It existed along the Ping River until it was flooded and eventually abandoned, some 700 years ago. Wat Kuh Kham (วัดกู่คำ), a temple that was built around 1287 AD −but is nowadays referred to as Wat Chedi Liam (วัดเจดีย์เหลี่ยม)− is the only edifice of that period still standing, though archeological excavations conducted in the area have revealed more remnants and ruins of the former community. See MAP.

Wichai Prasit (วิไชยประสิทธิ์)

Thai. Name of a fort in Thonburi, on the banks of the Chao Phraya river, at the mouth of Khlong Bangkok Yai canal. It was built by the French in the reign of king Narai and is now occupied by the Royal Thai Navy. It was previously named Wichayen Fort and Bangkok Fort and in the Thonburi period it was the rear of the palace compound of King Taksin, who was later also executed here. Today his statue stands in front of the fort, facing the river (fig.). See MAP.

Wichian, wichian (วิเชียร)

1. Thai. Another name for wachira, meaning ‘diamond’, ‘lightning’ or ‘thunderbolt’, the weapon of the god Indra. In Sanskrit called vajra.

2. Thai. Name of a kingdom in the Ramakien, located on the slopes of the Universe and ruled over by the yak Vayuphak.

wichian maat (วิเชียรมาศ)

Thai. ‘Golden Thunderbolt’ or ‘Golden Diamond’. The Thai designation for the Siamese cat. See also wichian.

Wichitmahwan (วิจิตรมาวรรณ)

Thai. Name of one of the seven guardian spirits that looks out for children and that are generally known as Mae Seua. This thevada guards all the children that are born on a Sunday and is represented with a red human-like body and the head of a lion (singh).

Wichudah (วิชุดา)

1. Thai. Name of a female yak and one of the seven protector-demons in the Ramakien, including also Phi Seua Samut (fig.), who live in the coastal waters around Langka, the city-state of the demon-king Totsakan, which they patrol and guard. Also transcribed Witchuda.

2. Thai. Name of a remotely operated, unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) used by the Royal Thai Navy for surveying the sea and named after the female yak from the Ramakien, who patrols the ocean around the island of Langka. Also transcribed Witchuda.

wih (วี)

Northern Thai term for a kind of large fan, woven from bamboo strips. It is round in shape and has wooden handle, which in the middle runs over the total length of the fan, as well as a rim for strength. They are always used in pairs, as a tool for winnowing rice, i.e. to fan the chaff from the grains, after it has been threshed. They are used habitually over a large threshing basket, known as a piyad. Also known as kah and kah wih (ก๋าวี).

wihaan (วิหาร)

See viharn.

Wihaan Phra Mongkon Bophit (วิหารพระมงคลบพิตร)

Thai. Name of a viharn located to the south of Wat Phra Sri Sanphet in Ayutthaya. It houses a large bronze Buddha image, named Phra Mongkon Bophit and seated in a virasana with a bhumisparsa mudra (fig.). The Buddha image, which dates from the 15th century, was originally enshrined outside the Grand Palace, which lays to its East. King Song Tham later had it transferred to the West, where it was enshrined in a mondop. In the reign of Phra Chao Seua, the mondop (fig.) was hit by lightning and burned down. The king consequently commanded that a new building be built in the form of a wihaan. In 1767, during the fall of the capital to the Burmese, the building and the image were once again badly damaged by fire, eventually resulting in the present edifice. See MAP.

Wihaan Sadet Pho Phra Siwa (วิหารเสด็จพ่อพระศิวะ)

Thai. Viharn of His Highness Lord Shiva’ or ‘Father Shiva Temple’. Name of a Thai Hindu sanctuary in Bangkok's Khoo Bon area, dedicated to the god Shiva. READ ON.

Wihaan Sian (วิหารเซียน)

See Anek Kuson Sala. The name is a compound of the word wihaan and sian (xian).

Wihaan Thep Sathit Phra Kiti Chaleum (วิหารเทพสถิตพระกิติเฉลิม)

Thai. Name of a Thai-Chinese temple complex dedicated to the Taoist child-deity Nezha San Taizi. READ ON.

wihlah (วีล่า)

Thai name for the Vila, i.e. Slavic versions of nymphs who have power over wind and delight in causing storms. In Thailand, they are described as creatures half-human half-spirit who manifest themselves as beautiful yet jealous girls with a bright skin, who have the power to make any boy or man fall in love with them, but turn into gruesome demons when angered. Also transliterated Weelah.

Wild Boar

Common name of a species of a boar, i.e. a pig, with the binomial name Sus scrofa and belonging to the biological family Suidae. It is the wild ancestor of the domestic pig. It is often simply referred to as a boar, though that designation is also used for a male wild pig or an uncastrated male pig. Likewise, it is sometimes called Wild Hog, a term normally reserved for a castrated male wild pig. This species has a dark body, narrow pointed nozzle without warts or bumps, and a mane of black hair that stretches halfway down back. The young are dark brown to blackish, often with lighter stripes along the body. One of Vishnu's avatars is a boar, known by the name Varaha. Wild Boars are distributed throughout many parts of the world, including Europe, North Africa, North America, as well as South, East and Southeast Asia. In Thai it is called moo pah. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES (1) and (2), TRAVEL PICTURES, and WATCH VDO.

Wild Hog

See Wild Boar.

Wild Peanut Flower

Common name for a kind of ornamental grass, belonging to the botanical species Arachis. It blooms bright yellow flowers, that strongly resemble those of the Peanut Plant (Arachis hypogaea - fig.) and the Perennial Peanut (Arachis pintoi), hence the name. The grass however consists of more rounded leaves and it bears no peanuts under the ground. Even though this is a wild plant, it is often used in oriental gardens, especially as a ground cover for lawns and at the base of trees. See also thua lisong.

Wimala (วิมาลา)

Thai. Name of the wife of the large crocodile Chalawan in the Thai classical story of Kraithong. READ ON.

Winayok (วินายก)

Another name for Phra Wikhanesuan, i.e. Ganesha.

wine fly

See malaeng wih.


The first Thai vines were planted at Chteau de Loei (fig.) in 1991 and its first commercial harvest was in 1995. READ ON.

Win Ga Bar (ဝင်္ကပါ)

Burmese. ‘Maze’ or ‘Labyrinth’. Name of a brick Buddhist temple structure in Inwa, located adjacent to and to the west of Myinmo Taung. READ ON.

Winged Calabash

See tihn pet farang.

wipatsanah (วิปัสสนา)

Thai term that properly means ‘Enlightenment’, but in popular speech may also refer to ‘insight’ or ‘meditation’. Also transcribed vipassana.

Wiphawadi Rangsit (วิภาวดีรังสิต)

Thai. Name of a princess of the late Rattanakosin Period, who was born on 20 November 1920 as the eldest daughter of Prince Phitayalongkorn. READ ON.

Wire-tailed Swallow

Common name for a 13.5 centimeter tall swallow, with the scientific name Hirundo smithii. Adults have a chestnut crown and very blue upperparts. Below they are snowy-white, including the throat. They have a more or less square tail, with very long streamers. Together, the tail and streamers are more than 12.5 centimeters in length. Juveniles have no streamers and are more brownish above, with a paler crown, a dark patch around the eyes, and a vaguely buffish throat.

Wirun (วิรุณ)

Thai. Name of a submarine, usually referred to as the HTMS Wirun, i.e. a U-boat of the type Madchanu that was once used by the Royal Thai Navy (fig.), and which is named after the yak Virunchambang, i.e. a giant with a navy blue complexion (fig.).

Wirunchambang (วิรุฬจำบัง, วิรุณจําบัง)

Another spelling for Virunchambang.

Wirunhok (วิรุฬหก)

1. Thai. Name of a giant or yak character in the Ramakien (fig.). He is usually described as having a dark blue complexion (fig.) and wears a chadah-style crown, which is topped with the figure of a naga, similar to Mangkonkan (fig.). He is the ruler of the underground city of Maha Anthakaan (มหาอันธการ) and likes to adorn himself with jewelry in the form of nagas. He is also described as a lokaban, i.e. a guardian, of the South. In a later incarnation, he was born as the monkey-warrior Geyoon (fig.). Wirunhok is one of the twelve yak characters from the Ramakien that stand guard at Bangkok's International Airport Suwannaphum (fig.), as well as one of the 12 giants, set up in 6 pairs, that guard the entrances in the enclosure of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (fig.), i.e. Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok (fig.), where he is erected in pair with Mangkonkan (fig.). His name is also transcribed Virunhok. See LIST OF RAMAKIEN CHARACTERS.

2. Thai name for Virudhaka or Zeng Zhang Tian (fig.), one of the Four Heavenly Kings. Also transcribed Virunhok.

Wirunjambang (วิรุฬจำบัง)

See Virunchambang.

Wirupak (วิรูปักษ์)

Thai. Name of a deity that appears in the Ramakien. READ ON.

Wisakha Bucha (วิสาขบูชา)

See Visakha Bucha.

Wisantrahwih (วิสันตราวี)

Thai name of a monkey-warrior character from the Ramakien. He is from the city Meuang Chomphoo (เมืองชมพู) and is described as having a fur in the colour of lychees (fig.), i.e. dark-pink. He wears a golden taab, a decorative and protective neckpiece, as well as a golden kabang-style crown. He is usually depicted with his mouth open. He is one of the eighteen Wahnon Sip-paet Mongkut, who in his previous chaht or incarnation, was the deity Phra Angkahn, the Thai god of Tuesday, as well as the god of war (fig.). Also transcribed Wisantrawih, Visantrawee and Visantraavee, or similar. See also LIST OF RAMAKIEN CHARACTERS.

Wisdom Eyes

Name for the giant pair of eyes that are present on virtually every Buddhist stupa in Nepal, and most famously on the Bodnath Stupa in Kathmandu (map - fig.). They are painted on the four sides of the stupa, looking out in the four directions to symbolize the omniscience of the Buddha. One eye is said to represent Wisdom, the other Compassion. Underneath and between the eyes, where the nose would be, is a curly symbol that looks like a question mark without a dot (). This is the Devanagari symbol for the number one (see Devanagari numerals) and is said to symbolize unity and oneness. Above this is a urna or third eye, a symbol for great, all-seeing wisdom. Wisdom Eyes may also appear in other places, such as on Tibetan singing bowls (fig.), ands can occasionally even be found in Thailand (map - fig.). See also Evil Eye.

Wishbone Flower

Common name for  a small, ornamental, creeping plant, with the botanical designations Torenia asiatica and Torenia travancorica. READ ON.

wisung khama sima (วิสุงคามสีมา)

Thai term for the royal granting of the land to monks to have a temple constructed, which materializes in the presenting of the consecrated boundary foundation stone of the ordination hall. See also bai sema.

wisut (วิสูตร)

Thai for purdah.

Witsanu (วิษณุ)

Thai for Vishnu.

Witsanukam (วิษณุกรรม)

Thai pronunciation for Vishnukam.


Common name for a butterfly with the scientific name Rhinopalpa polynice, and found in South and Southeast Asia. It is the only member of the genus Rhinopalpa and gets its designation from the pair of long palpi projecting from its head. The upperside of the wings is brownish-orange, with broad black edges and four circular, black dots on each of the hindwings, of which three are located just on the side of the black edge, which posteriorly is narrower, and one to the side and above this row of three. Depending on the season, the underwings either have the colour and pattern of a dead leaf, somewhat reminiscent of the Common Evening Brown in dry season form (fig.), or with a similar pattern mixed with brownish-orange and white strigae, i.e. patterns of thin lines, and a row of eyespots along the edges. In 2001, this butterfly was depicted on one of a set of four Thai postage stamps featuring Thai butterflies (fig.).

woht (โหวด)

1. Thai. A circular, pan flute-like, woodwind instrument, used in Isaan, especially in traditional mo lam music and is in musical ensembles that include the pong lang. It is named after the sound of a steam whistle, which in Thai is the same word. It is made from the same materials as the kaen (fig.), i.e. the firm stems of reed (fig.), which are left in their natural colour. The woht is a symbol of Roi Et, as well as an OTOP product from this province. Also transcribed wot, wote, voht, vot and vote.

2. Thai. The sound of a steam whistle.

wok (锅)

Pidgin English-Chinese. Derived from the Cantonese word wo, whereas the Mandarin word is pronounced guo. A large bowl-shaped metal frying-pan used in oriental and in particular, in Chinese cookery. In Thai, referred to by the nonspecific term kratha.


See kao kih.

Wolong (卧龙)

Chinese. Literally, it means ‘hidden dragon’, but actually, it is figurative speech for ‘emperor in hiding’. In addition, wohu (卧虎), which means ‘crouching tiger’, is a metaphor for ‘a major figure in hiding’, i.e. ‘concealed talent’. The famous movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon by the Taiwanese-American film director Ang Lee (李安), thus has an idiomatic title meaning ‘concealed talent’.

Wonder Coral

Thai. Name of a large polyp stony coral, with the scientific designation Catalaphyllia jardinei. READ ON.

Wongsah Thiraht Sanit (วงษาธิราชสนิท)

Thai. Name of a prince with the title of Krom Luang, who was born on Saturday 9 July 1808 as the half-brother of King Rama III. He served as a physician to the King, as well as to members of the royal family and high ranking noblemen at the Court. His groundbreaking work in the field of combining traditional Thai with Western medicine earned him a seat at the New York Academy of Medicine. Besides his knowledge of medicine, the Prince was also well versed in literature, writing mainly poetry. The second volume of his poetic proverbs called Chindamanih (จินดามณี) was in the past used as a textbook for the study of Thai culture, and UNESCO proclaimed him an Important Person for the Year 2008-2009 in the category of Scholars and Poets. To mark the occasion, a Thai postage stamp with his portrait was issued in 2009 (fig.). Prince Wongsah Thiraht Sanit passed away on 14 August 1871, aged 63, and was creamted in Wat Arun Rajawarahrahm, on 5 December of the same year. His name is also transliterated Wongsa Dhiraj Snid.

Wong Wian Yai (วงเวียนใหญ่)

Thai. ‘Great Roundabout’ or ‘Large Roundabout’. Name of a big traffic circle in Thonburi, near the Wong Wian Yai Train Station, which connects Thonburi with Samut Songkhram over the Mae Khlong-Mahachai Railway. It consists of a plantation, with paved lanes and in the centre an equestrian statue of King Taksin, wearing a Phra Malah Biang combat helmet (fig.), a taab (fig.), and wielding a sword (fig.). The statue, which in Thai is fully known as Phra Boromma Rachaanusawarih Somdet Phra Chao Taksin Maha Raj Songmah or alternatively as Phra Boromma Rachaanusawarih Somdet Phra Chao Taksin Krung Thonburi, is elevated on a tall, oval-shaped pedestal, that has a commemorative plaque on the front and scenes related to the life of this king in bronze bas-reliefs on the sides. Also transliterated Wongwian Yai. See MAP.


See kiyaw.


1. A fruit of a tree with the scientific name Limonia acidissima, found in subtropical and tropical southern Asia, from India and Sri Lanka in the West to parts of Indonesia in the East. It has a hard, wooden rind, which needs to be cracked open and contains a sticky brown pulp with small pale seeds and tastes either sweet or sour. In the latter case, it is usually eaten with some sugar.  In Burma, the bark of this tree is pulverized by rubbing it on a stone slab (fig.) in order to obtain a fragrant paste called thanaka, which is applied as facial painting (fig.). Also known as elephant-apple.

2. A fruit of a tree with the scientific name Aegle marmelos, found in South and Southeast Asia, and known in Thai as matuhm (fig.).

wooden fish

See muyu.

Woolly-necked Stork

Common name for a large wading bird, with the scientific designation Ciconia episcopus and belonging to the family Ciconiidae. This bird is almost entirely black, with a purplish shine, a woolly white neck, white lower belly and undertail-coverts (fig.), and reddish-grey legs and bill (fig.). It is a widespread species that breeds both in Africa and Asia, where it occurs from India (fig.) and southern Nepal (fig.) to most of Southeast Asia, including Thailand, where it is known as nok krasah kho khao, meaning ‘white-necked stork’. There are a few subspecies, as well as a similar species with a red bill, known as the Storm's Stork, that occurs in Malaysia and on some of the Indonesian islands. It is a common resident in marshlands and around lowland pools. It has nowadays become more rare in Thailand and is most likely found on the peninsula. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.

wora (วร)

Thai-Pali. ‘Glorious, superb’. It is often used as a prefix in combination with other words, often referring to royalty or beauty, e.g. Phra Worawong Te (พระวรวงศ์เธอ), meaning ‘prince’ or ‘princess’; worakai (วรกาย), meaning a the ‘body of a king or prince’; woranut (วรนุช), meaning ‘beautiful or ‘glorious younger sister’, etc. Sometimes pronounced wara, as in wararam. See also Woraburi and Wang Woradit.

Woraburi (วรบุรี)

Thai. ‘Glorious city. Name of an oriental kind of Utopia, an idyllic location populated by fairies, who revel in perpetual happiness. The name is composed from the words wora and buri.

Woradis Palace

See Wang Woradit.

Woradit Palace

See Wang Woradit.

World of Desire

Eleven levels dominated by Mara, the god of desire and death. There are four levels of ‘unfortunate destination’, i.e. hell, animals, spirits, and asuras; and seven levels of ‘fortunate destination’, i.e. humans and six of divine beings.

Wreathed Hornbill

A species of hornbill, also commonly known as Bar-pouched Wreathed Hornbill, and with the scientific name Rhyticeros undulatus. READ ON.

Wrinkled Hornbill

Common name for a species of hornbill, which is also commonly known as Sunda Wrinkled Hornbill, and with the scientific name Aceros corrugatus. READ ON.

writing brush

See mao bi.

Wuchang Uprising

Revolt in Imperial China that began with the dissatisfaction of the handling of a railway crisis. READ ON.

Wudang (武当)

Chinese. ‘Equal Warrior’. Name of a small mountain range in China's Hubei province. In mythology it is believed to be the abode of Zhenwu, the protector god of the North in Chinese Taoism. It is also known as Taihe Shan, the ‘Mount of the Greatest Peace’.

Wu Lu Cai Shen (五路财神)

Chinese. ‘Five path wealth gods’. Five Chinese wealth gods that come from five directions, i.e. the East, West, North, South and the centre. Popular myth has it that whoever invokes the blessing of Wu Lu Cai Shen will experience good fortune, no matter ones whereabouts. Also referred to as the ‘wealth gods of the five directions’ or ‘wealth gods of the five zones’. They are the subordinates of the god of windfall who is also known as Tua Peh Kong, the god of earth. Sometimes transcribed Wu Lo Cai Shen or Wu Lu Tsai Shen. Also called Ngo Lo Cai Sin. See also Cai Shen.

wundji mya young (ဝန်ကြီးများရုံး)

Burmese. ‘Cabinet office’. Name for the Secretariat Building in downtown Yangon, which was formerly known as the Government Secretariat. It was completed between 1902 and 1905, and used as the administrative seat of the local government during the British colonial rule in Burma. It was in this complex that General Aung San was assassinated by three gunmen on 19 July 1947, together with six of his cabinet ministers, including his older brother Ba Win, as well as a cabinet secretary and a bodyguard. Today, the building stands completely forsaken and neglected. See MAP.

wun look chub (วุ้นลูกชุบ)

Thai. Name of a traditional hand-made Thai sweet. In usually consists of a small, clear plastic cup, filled with a sweet often coloured jelly made of sticky rice flour and topped by kanom look chub, i.e. miniature tropical fruits or vegetables (fig.) made of sweetened mung bean paste and coated with a thin layer of jelly. This type of candy is depicted on a postage stamp issued in 2018 as part of a set of six stamps on traditional Thai sweets (fig.).

wun maprao (วุ้นมะพร้าว)

Thai. A dessert made of jelly powder, slices of young coconut, coconut juice and sugar. First the jelly powder is dissolved into the coconut juice, sometimes by adding some pandanus to produce a green colour. Then this is boiled, the sugar is added, and it is stirred at regular intervals. Finally it is poured into a rectangular mold and left to cool, after which the obtained jelly is sliced up in small cubes, though sometimes it is poured into molds of a specific shape, cooling the jelly in any form preferred. In English known as coconut jelly and in Thai also called wun maprao oun (วุ้นมะพร้าวอ่อน).

wun sen (วุ้นเส้น)

Thai. ‘Jelly thread’. Name for the jelly noodle, a type of tiny almost clear noodle made from green grams (mung bean starch) and water. They are sold in dry bunches and need to be boiled prior to consumption. This kind of noodle is used as an ingredient in kaeng jeut (fresh soup), a clear and thin soup with minced pork, soft tofu and some vegetables; in the dish yam wun sen (jelly noodle salad), a spicy salad of jelly noodles mixed with sliced chilies, lime juice, ground pork, shrimp, mushrooms and seasonings; and in wun sen ob poo (baked crab jelly noodles), a dish prepared in a lidded clay pot. Also known as glass noodles, cellophane noodles, Chinese vermicelli, bean threads or bean thread noodles.

wu sha mao (烏紗帽)

Chinese. ‘Black cloth hat’. Generic name for the black hat with wing-like flaps worn by Han court officials. The style as worn by feudal officials during the Ming Dynasty has two short, wing-like flaps of thin, oval shaped boards and is officially known as zhan chi fu tou, whereas the kind worn by the officials of the Song Dynasty has an elongated, horn-like projection on either side and is called zhan jiao fu tou. Both styles are also simply referred to by their abbreviated term fu tou. The term wu sha mao is in China still used today as slang to refer to anyone holding an official post. In Vietnam, this style of winged hat is referred to as mu canh chuan.

Wu Wei (无为)

Chinese. ‘Not have’, ‘not do’ or ‘idleness’. An important concept of Taoism, that involves knowing when and when not to act, and natural action, i.e. the automatism of doing the natural thing, a principle which is often referred to as Wu Wei Wu (无为无), i.e. ‘action without action’ or ‘action through inaction’.

Wu Xing (五行)

Chinese. ‘Five Elements’. Ancient Chinese philosophy or theoretical system that seeks to describe the interactions and relationships between the five natural elements of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. In Vietnamese, the Five Elements are called Ngu Hanh (Ngũ Hnh) and the Marble Mountains in Da Nang (fig.), in Vietnamese known as Ngu Hanh Son (Ngũ Hnh Sơn), are named after it. See also CHINESE CALENDAR.

Wu Yuan/Wu Yun (伍员)

Chinese. Another name for Wu Zixu, though normally pronounced Yuan, the second character (员) is here in actual fact read as Yun.

Wu Ze Tian (武则天)

Chinese. Name of the only woman in the history of China to assume the title of Empress Regnant (Huang Di), ruling China between AD 690 and 705, after she rose to power through cunning deceit and murder. READ ON.

Wu Zixu (伍子胥)

Chinese. Name of a general and politician of the Wu Kingdom in the Spring and Autumn Period. READ ON.