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  • Writer's pictureEdaan Getzel

Bangkok Spirit Houses

While it is easy to get lost in the Bangkok food and tailoring scene, at its heart, Bangkok is a city for spirituality.

Bangkok Spirit Houses

Spotted across nearly every corner of Bangkok in almost as high volume as the candy-colored taxicabs are spirit houses, which are one of the best physical examples of the reverence Thais show to their religion. Each house is created as a shrine to the spirit of the land where their home or business was built, and they are designed to resemble small temples. These colorful houses are found in an auspicious spot that is almost always in the corner of the property. From an outsider’s perspective, these holy shrines are seen as a type of karmic insurance.

What are Bangkok Spirit Houses

The houses range in size and flashiness, and rituals are performed to make the dwelling an acceptable earthly home for the spirits. The more permanent spirit houses are placed on a tall pillar, which keeps the spirit house tall enough to show respect while making it easy for locals and residents to make their daily offerings of candles, flowers, pre-made food, and even Fanta soda. Makeshift spirit houses can often be seen popping up near motorcycle taxi stands and street food carts to bring the workers good luck and prosperity.

What to do at Spirit Houses

Look for Thai people to wai—the traditional bow and sign of respect—as they pass the spirit house that protects their home or business and even bring gifts of offering. This genuine reverence is part of the Buddhists belief that if the spirits are not happy, they can bring misfortune and bad luck on the house or business and the people that live and work there.

How to find Spirit Houses

If you’re driving from Bangkok to the seaside town of Hua Hin, you’ll be able to spot roadside shops selling pre-assembled, new spirit houses that are ready to be blessed and decorated. When the times comes to build a new spirit house or expand on the current one, a ceremony is performed to transfer the spirit and the old house will be sent to a temple.

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