A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z




Cabbage White

Common name for a butterfly in the family Pieridae, and with the scientific designation Pieris brassicae. READ ON.


See cacao tree.

cacao tree

See ton kohkoh.

Cai Shen (财神)

Chinese. ‘Wealth god’, ‘money spirit’ or ‘mammon’. There are numerous distinct Chinese wealth gods, differentiating between formal and informal, as well as civilian and military wealth deities. READ ON.

caitya (चैत्य)

1. Sanskrit. ‘Sanctuary’. An assembly hall for meditation and teaching. Originally an apsidal hall housing a stupa, or a funerary mound enshrining sacred relics of the Buddha, or objects used  by him. It is the precursor of the Thai chedi. Also transcribed chaitya. In Pali cetiya.

2. Sanskrit. A particular style of arch and window construction as found in early cave temples in India. Also transcribed chaitya.


See nahm tao.


Generic Latin name for any of the tropical plants, which in Thai are called bon.


Latin. Generic botanical name for large shrubs that belong to the family Fabaceae and the subfamily Mimosaceae, and with flowers that are often confusingly similar to those on trees and shrubs of the genus Albizia. They are originally from the North of South America and have typifying tassel-like flowers, usually white and pink or red, that grow on top of the branches. Within this large genus, there are two comparable species, i.e. Calliandra surinamensis or Pink Tassel-flower (fig.), and Calliandra haematocephala or Red Powder-puff (fig.), the latter which is also commonly called Blood-red Tassel-flower and Pink Powder-puff. In Thai, Calliandra surinamensis is called jamajurih (จามจุรี), whereas Calliandra haematocephala is called phu jomphon (พู่จอมพล), phu naay phon (พู่นายพล), and phu chomphu (พู่ชมพู), with the latter name also being used for the comparable Persian Silk Tree (Albizia julibrissin). In addition, the Thai name jamajurih is also used for a large tree in the same family and with similar flowers, and which is commonly seen in Thailand (fig.). To differentiate between the two, usually the prefix ton (ต้น) is added when referring to the tree, whereas the prefix phreuk (พฤกษ์) is used for the shrub.

Calling Crab

See piyaw.


Thailand's neighbouring country to the East, roughly between Vietnam and Laos, bordering the Gulf of Thailand. The official name is Kingdom of Cambodia and the capital is Phnom Penh. Its covers a land area of 181,040 km² and has a total of 2,572 km of boundaries with Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. Its coastline is 443 km long and its highest point is Phnum Aoral, with an altitude of 1,810 meter. Natural resources are timber, gemstones, some iron ore, manganese and phosphates. The currency is the Riel (រៀល), a name that literally means ‘Small Fish’. Besides the often silver colour of fish, akin to that of coin money, the term likely derives from the country's former bartering system, i.e. a mode of payment by exchanging goods for food, especially fish, that was commonly used in the past in the many fishing communities, that today still exist around Tonlé Sap (fig.), the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia (fig.). Cambodia has a population of just over 13 million, of which 90% are Khmer, the rest Vietnamese, Chinese and others. With 95% the majority of the people are Theravada Buddhist. The official language is Khmer, but also French and English are spoken. Following a five-year struggle, Communist Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh in 1975 and ordered the evacuation of all cities and towns. Over 1 million displaced people died from execution or enforced hardships (fig.). A 1978 Vietnamese invasion drove the Khmer Rouge into the countryside and touched off almost 20 years of fighting. UN-sponsored elections in 1993 helped restore some semblance of normalcy as did the rapid diminishment of the Khmer Rouge in the mid-1990s. A coalition government, formed after national elections in 1998, brought renewed political stability and the surrender of remaining Khmer Rouge forces in 1998. Apart from its well-known recent past, the country is perhaps best known for Angkor Wat, an ancient Khmer temple (fig.) and one of the seven Wonders of the World, which is also depicted on the current national flag of Cambodia (fig.). In Thai called Kamphucha. See also Thailand's Neighbours & Beyond.

Cambodian Lascar

Common name for a species of butterfly, with the scientific designation Neptis tiga. It has a wingspan of 4 to 5 centimeters, and the upper-wings have a dark brown ground colour with orange markings (fig.). On the forewings, these markings consist of broad orange streaks, whilst the hind wing has two orange bands, the one on the top broader than that in the lower area. It is very similar to the Common Lascar (Neptis hordonia), which has a blackish ground colour on the forewings rather than dark brown, a distinction which –depending on the light– is not always easy to differentiate in the field.


A genus of flowering plants in the family Theaceae, that are found in eastern and southern Asia, with around 200 described species, and known in Thai as ton cha, i.e. ‘tea plant’, since the leaves of the variety Camellia sinensis are processed to make tea. See also cha and Camellia amplexicaulis.

Camellia amplexicaulis

Botanical name of an unusual species of Camellia native to northern Vietnam, that has purplish-pink to purplish-red flowers, with massive clusters of yellow pollen in the centre. It’s flower buds, after which the plant is sometimes dubbed Pink Bubblegum (fig.), develop over a long period of time. Due to this, it is not uncommon to have many different size flower buds on a single stem, and which allow it to bloom all year if conditions are right. The plant has huge, glossy leaves, that are serrated, may grow up to 28 centimeters in length, and that –in mature plants– are dark green in colour. When the plant was introduced in northern Thailand, it was called yih hub/yee hoob (ยี่หุบแดง), i.e. ‘red coconut magnolia’, which is a rather misleading name as it has nothing to do with the Magnolia. The name however refers to the unopened flowers of the Coconut Magnolia, which –like those of the Camellia amplexicaulis- somewhat resemble small coconuts.

Camphor Tree

Common designation of a large, broadleaf evergreen tree, with the botanical name Cinnamomum camphora, and which is also commonly known as Camphorwood and Camphor Laurel. READ ON.

can (蚕)

Chinese for ‘silkworm’. See also Can Shen.

Canda (चन्द)

1. Sanskrit-Pali. Name of the bodhisatta, i.e. a former chaht of the Sakyamuni Buddha, born as a Kinnara, who lived in the Canda mountains of Himavah, together with his spouse Yashodhara, who was born as the Kinnari Candah. Their story is described in the Canda Jataka.

2. Sanskrit-Pali. Name of a mountain range in Himavah (fig.), as described in the Canda Jataka, where it is described as the residence of Canda and Candah, a Kinnara and Kinnari, and former incarnations or chaht of Siddhartha and his shakti Yashodhara. In the jataka, it is described as a silver mountain and is also referred to as Canda-pabbata, i.e. the Mountain of the Moon’.

Candah (चन्दा)

Sanskrit-Pali. Name of a former chaht or incarnation of Yashodhara, when she was born as a Kinnari. See also Canda and Canda Jataka.

Canda Jataka (चन्दजातक)

Name of a jataka as told by the Sakyamuni Buddha and which describes one of his former chaht or incarnations, when he was born as a Kinnara, called Canda. He lived in the Canda mountains of Himavah, together with his spouse Yashodhara, who was born as the Kinnari Candah. One day, while the inseparable lovers were enjoying themselves near a  stream, Anuruddha Thera (fig.), the king of Benares (fig.), was out hunting and saw the couple. He immediately fell in love with Candah. Hence, he took his bow and shot Canda with an arrow, killing him instantly. When Candah wept aloud at the sight of her dead husband, the king revealed himself and offered her his love, as well as his realm. Candah ridiculed the offer and instead protested to the devas for allowing the tragedy to take place, praying for a miracle to happen. Hence Indra, the chief of the devas, who in Burma is associated with Thagyamin (fig.), Lord of the Nats, descended from Tavatimsa heaven in the guise of a brahmin priest and resurrected Canda (fig.). Compare with Shin Mway Loon nae Min Nandar (fig.).


Name of a jataka, which describes one of the former incarnations of the Sakyamuni Buddha, when he was was born as Candakumara. READ ON.


Indonesian. General term for all ancient temples, both of Hindu and Buddhist.

Candi Prambanan

See Prambanan.

Candle Festival

See Wax Candle Festival.

Cangjie (仓颉)

Name of an official historian of the Yellow Emperor (fig.), who is usually accredited with the invention of the Chinese characters, known in Chinese as Han zhi (汉字) and in Japanese as Kanji (漢字, i.e. the traditional Chinese script). Though he is not always considered a historical figure, legend has it that he lived around 2650 BC. He may also not be the sole inventor of Chinese writing, and Fu Xi is often mentioned as the inventor of Chinese characters alongside with Cangjie. According to legend, after unifying the country and to replace an earlier unsatisfying method of recording information, the Yellow Emperor commissioned Cangjie to create a script that could be used to embrace all Chinese languages and dialects. Inspired by an object that fell from the beak of an overflying phoenix (fig.), and which turned out to be an impression of a distinctive hoof-print belonging to a Bi Xie (fig.), different from the hoof-print of any other animal alive, Cangjie set out to create the new script by capturing in a pictogram the special characteristics that set apart each and every thing on the earth, and thus compiled a long list of characters for writing, according to the special characteristics he found in everyone and everything. According to the myth, when Cangjie revealed his invention, the gods cried and the skies rained millet. The Cangjie method, a Chinese character input method, is named after him. In Wade-Giles, transliterated Ts'ang-chieh.

Canna Lily

Common English name for a flowering plant, which is known in Thai as Phuttaraksah.

cannonball tree

Epithet for the sala tree, from its large cannonball like seeds.

Can Shen (蚕神)

Chinese. ‘Goddess of the silkworm’. Nickname of Leizu, the wife of the Yellow Emperor, Huang, who discovered silk at the age of fourteen and is said to have invented the silk reel and silk loom. Also known as the Chinese goddess of silk.


Indonesian term for a pen-like tool to draw wax lines and dots on cotton fabrics in order to make batik. It consists of a wooden or bamboo handle with a small copper vessel. The vessel is filled with wax and heated over a flame to make the wax fluid. At the bottom of this vessel is an thin exit spout that resembles a blunt, hollow needle, through which the wax can flow and controllably be applied on the cloth (fig.). Also spelled tjanting.

Cantonese vegetable

See phak kwahng tung.

Cao Dai (Cao Đài)

Vietnamese. ‘Highest Power’. Name of  a monotheistic religion that was officially established in 1926, in the city of Tay Ninh (Tây Ninh), in southern Vietnam. READ ON.


Architectural term for the uppermost, usually decorated part of a column, pillar or pilaster. See also cornice.


Spanish. Term that derives from a local word in the Philippines and which is used for the East Indian tame buffalo, commonly known as water buffalo and in Thai referred to as krabeua. Carabao is in Thailand also used as the brand name of a well-known Thai rock band.


The seeds of an aromatic Southeast Asian plant, used as a spice and known in Thai as kra-wahn.

carnivorous plant

See ton mai kin malaeng.

Carpenter Bee

Common name for any of the large bees in the subfamily Xylocopinae, of which there are some 500 species, and that are also known as borer bees, deriving their name from the fact that most species make their nests by tunneling into dead wood. They does so by vibrating their bodies while scraping theis mandibles against the wood. Though usually solitary, the females of some species form social groups of cohabiting mothers and daughters. Whereas female carpenter bees have a stinger, males do not. Somewhat similar to bumblebees, carpenter bees can be distinguished by the fact that their often beetle-like bodies are naked and shiny, rather than veiled in dense hair. They have large compound eyes, which in most species are larger in males than in females. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES (1) and (2).

cashew nut

Fruit of a tree with the scientific name Anacardium occidentale. The shape of the cashew nut (fig.) resembles that of a mango, resulting in the Thai name ma muang himaphan, the Himaphan ‘mango’. A cashew nut tree bears its nuts at the far end of an edible ‘fruit’ that resembles the rose apple (fig.). Although edible this ‘fruit’ is seldom consumed. Cashew nut shells contain urushiol, a toxin that may cause skin irritation and which must be removed by shelling the nuts before the seed inside is processed for consumption. This is a manual process done one by one with a large nutcracker (fig.), a slow, labour-intensive and because of the toxin- a somewhat hazardous occupation, hence the relatively high price of cashew nuts. Afterwards the nuts are cooked, roasted or fried, making any possible remainders of the toxin non-noxious. Additionally, they may be salted or coated with a seasoned crunchy layer. The different varieties are then sorted and packed, which also is done by hand, which allows for a final quality check (fig.). In Thai also shortened to himaphan. Cashew nuts are a common ingredient in Thai cooking, such as in the dish kai pad med ma muang, ‘fried chicken with cashew nuts’.


Starch from the thickened root of the manioc plant, which is hence also referred to as the cassava plant (fig.). Also tapioca. In Thai paengman.

cassava plant

See manioc.


Term derived from the Portuguese word casta, meaning ‘breed’, ‘kind’ or ‘race’, and which is used to define the four varna or social classes that form Indian society, i.e. the Brahmans, the learned class; Kshatriya, the royal or warrior class; Vaishya, the class of traders; and Shudra, the agricultural and serving class. In China, the four social classes as defined in Maoism and represented in the republic's flag (fig.) are somewhat different, also in order of importance, with the highest class of people being the scholars and officials, who were given examinations to determine government positions; the second class and largest group of people were the farmers, who were considered to be the economic backbone of the country; only then came the artisans, who were considered skilled in crafting things; and finally fourth and lowest class, i.e. that of merchants, who were considered parasites, as they made their living off other people without any valuable skill of their own. Members of any of three upper castes are also called considered Dvija, i.e. ‘Twice-born’. See also chaht.

cast net

A type of circular net used for fishing and with a weight around its edge, usually a metal chain. Its is cast by hand (fig.) in such a manner that it spreads out on the water (fig.) and sinks due to the weight. When the net is hauled back the chain sinks to the middle and fish are trapped in between. It is also referred to as a throw net and net casting is still a popular way to catch fish in most Southeast Asian countries. See also pramong, chonsae (fig.), soom pla (fig.), shamuak (fig.), and cormorant fishing (fig.).

Cat Ba Langur

Common name for a species of Leaf Monkey with the scientific name Trachypithecus poliocephalus and also commonly known as Golden-headed Langur. READ ON.


Christian church which contains a cathedra, i.e. the throne or seat of a bishop, which in Greek is known as a kathédra (καθέδρα). An example of a cathedral in Southeast Asia is the St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hanoi (map). See also basilica.

Cattle Egret

Common name of a white, heron-like bird with the scientific name Bubulcus ibis. This bird is often seen associating with cattle (fig.), especially water buffaloes, from which it removes ticks and flies, a trait referred to in both its English and Latin names, with the word bubulcus meaning ‘herdsman’. Though officially listed amongst the wading birds, it actually prefers grasslands to marshes or mudflats. There are two geographical races, i.e. the Western Cattle Egret and the Eastern Cattle Egret. They are sometimes each classified as a species in its own right, with the latter being given the scientific name Bubulcus coromandus. The non-breeding plumage of Cattle Egrets is almost completely white, and they have a relatively short, thick neck and a hunched posture (fig.). They have long, greyish legs and a sturdy, yellow bill. The positioning of its eyes allows for binocular vision during feeding (fig.). Its diet consists mainly of terrestrial insects, though it can occasionally be found in shallow waters foraging on aquatic prey. During the breeding season (fig.), adults have some buff colouring  (fig.), which is darker in colour in the Eastern Cattle Egret. In addition, the bill of the latter is yellow near the tip and orange towards the base, its facial skin is purplish, its legs reddish, and the feet are dark grey (fig.). In Thai Cattle Egrets are known as nok yahng kwai.

cao lau (cao lầu)

Vietnamese. Name of a culinary specialty from Hoi An. READ ON.

Cau Thach Han (Cầu Thạch Hãn)

Vietnamese. ‘Thach Han Bridge’. Name of a bridge over the Thach Han River in Hai Lang (Hải Lăng) District of Vietnam's Quang Tri (Quảng Trị) Province, located alongside the historically important Cau Quang Tri (fig.), a railway bridge which during the Second Indochina War saw some fierce fighting. READ ON.

Cau Quang Tri (Cầu Quảng Trị)

Vietnamese. ‘Quang Tri Bridge’. Name of a historically important bridge over the Thach Han River in Hai Lang (Hải Lăng) District of Vietnam's Quang Tri Province, in the North Central Region and which during the Second Indochina War saw some intense fighting. READ ON.

Cave Dwelling Snake

A snake with the scientific names Elaphe taeniura ridleyi and Orthriophis taeniura ridleyi, that occurs in southern Thailand and northern Peninsular Malaysia. It lives in or near limestone caves and preys primarily on bats. The top of its head is grey-blue with large, dark patches behind the eyes and an almost white throat. Its neck is orange-brown and gradates into beige toward the middle of its body, whilst a creamy-yellow vertebral stripe gradually appears, which usually gets darker and more visible as it progresses towards the tail. From the middle onward, the flanks become gradually black, whilst its underside also becomes creamy-yellow. This attractive snake may grow up to 2.5 meters long. Also called Cave Dwelling Rat Snake (Ratsnake) and Black-tailed Rat Snake, and in Thai known as ngu kaab mahk hahng nin.


Cayenne pepper or red pepper. A popular spice used as an ingredient in many a Thai dish, as well as in kaeng and in Thai curries, made of chili paste (fig.) mixed with coconut milk. In Thai prik pon. Also named chili pepper and Spanish pepper. See also TRAVEL PICTURES (1) and (2).


Earthenware with a blue-green to gray glaze, named after L'Astrée, a shepherd in the 1610 play by Honoré d'Urfé, who wore a green cloak with grey-green ribbons. Its colour is usually green and sometimes blue, but the hue may vary from pale to dark depending on the clay used, the glaze, and the temperature in the kiln. Modern celadon's finishing is finer (fig.), but the name is also often misused for pottery with a chemical glaze in which copper or lead are used. Originally it was produced in China where it was called ‘green-wares’, and later in other countries, including Thailand, where it first existed as a specialty of Sawankhalok, and in the beginning of the 20th century it was reintroduced by the Shan from Burma. Since celadon glaze is hard to control as it melts at a critical point under extreme temperatures, it was often not completely applied to the base, to avoid it sticking to the baking tray.


Sanskrit. Temple chamber housing the image or symbol of a god.


Generic name for a small genus of ornamental plants in the family Amaranthaceae. There are several different species, with a wide variety in appearance, size and colour (fig.), yet they are divided into two main categories, i.e. the so-called woolflowers (fig.) and cockscombs, of which the latter species has flower heads crested with a fasciation that is reminiscent of a cockscomb. Celosia plants and flowers are edible and also have some medicinal properties. Though originally from Africa, they can be found in many parts of the world, including South, East and Southeast Asia. In Thai, the variety of woolflowers is known as soi kai (สร้อยไก่), whereas the latter is called ngon kai (หงอนไก่), meaning ‘chicken mane’ and ‘chicken comb’, respectively.


Monument for someone who is buried elsewhere.


Hundred feet. Name for an invertebrate arthropod belonging to the class of chilopoda. It has an elongated flattened body that consists of several segments with each segment bearing a single pair of legs and with each a dorsal and a ventral plate. Most species have a pair of poison claws on their head, used for preying upon insects. These claws are connected to a poison gland that releases a poison when it bites. Its bite is painful and will paralyze its victims. Most centipede species can reach a length of well over 10 centimeters while the Asian Forest Centipede (Scolopendra subspinipes), which can grow to a length of up to 38 centimeters. They are among the largest terrestrial invertebrate predators on the planet and are extremely fast, highly aggressive and venomous, with a bite that releases a venom of which one of the major components is a neurotoxin. Their bite is excruciatingly painful and is able to kill even humans. Being feared for centuries, it in Japan inspired the legend of Omukade, a giant man-eating centipede that lives in the mountains and has a weakness to human saliva. Though able to slay even a powerful dragon, it can be killed simply by a weapon dipped in human saliva, i.e. a symbol for the wisdom of the body. The back end of centipedes has a noteworthy pair of legs called the ultimate legs which are not for walking but for defense and mating. Centipedes are nocturnal and live in a range of moist habitats and are typically found in leaf litter, under stones and around deadwood. The variety commonly found in Thailand usually belongs to the family of Scolopendridae, a family of large centipedes and called takaab in Thai. Centipedes are similar to millipedes (fig.), but centipedes are insect eaters, whereas millipedes are vegetarians, and while centipedes have just one set of legs per segment, millipedes have two sets of legs per segment, as well as more segments. In China, where the populace is said to eat everything on four legs, except for the table, also centipedes are eaten as a snack (fig.).

century egg

See khai yiew ma.

Cereal Leaf Beetle

Common name for a tiny beetle with the scientific names Lema subapicalis. It is largely black, with a buffish-orange head and neck. Though attractive and small, it is much feared by farmers as its larvae are capable of destroying entire harvests. It is very similar to other leaf beetles, such as Luperomorpha pryeri; Aulacophora nigripennis; Lema diversa, which is known in Japan as the Red-necked Narrow Flower Beetle; Oulema duftschmidi; and Lema melanopus or Oulema melanopus, commonly known as the Red-throated Cereal Leaf Beetle or Barley Leaf Beetle, and which has a black head.

Cetasika (चैतसिक)

Sanskrit term referring to the mental states or mental factors, which in Buddhism are identified within the teachings of the Abhidhamma. READ ON.


Pali for caitya.


Old name for modern Sri Lanka.

cha (ชา, 茶)

Thai-Chinese. ‘Tea’. Name of a small tree of which its dried leaves are soaked in hot water to make the beverage tea. READ ON.

chaab (ฉาบ)

Thai. Name for round, cup-shaped cymbals, similar to ching, but larger, thinner and not joined by a cord. Instead, they have a separate handgrip each, often a colourful tassel. There are two sizes, i.e. chaab lek (ฉาบเล็ก) and chaab yai (ฉาบใหญ่), with chaab lek measuring 12 to14 centimeters in diameter and the larger ones usually about 24 to 26 centimeters (fig.). To play, each cymbal is held in a hand, one in the right the other in the left hand, and both are then struck together, once with an outward sliding movement, then straight on, producing alternately a high-pitched pealing sound and a dampening blocked sound. The Thai name is an onomatopoeia, i.e. it mimics the sound of the instrument when the cymbals are brought together with the outward sliding movement that produces a muffled sound. In Thai, chaab may also refer to any other type of cymbal and hence, the traditional handheld type is also referred to as chaab ku (ฉาบคู่), i.e. a ‘pair of cymbals’. Also transcribed chaap, chahb or chab.

chaam (ชาม)

See cham.

Chaamphoowaraat (ชามพูวราช)

Thai. A monkey soldier in the Ramakien, on the side of Phra Ram. He transformed himself into a bear in order to bite through a large tree, making it fall and thus disrupting Indrachit's (fig.) poison arrow ceremony. Sometimes transcribed Chahmphuwaraht, Champhoovaraat or Champhuvaraj.

chaba (ชบา)

Thai name for the Hibiscus, especially of the type rosa-sinensis, but also used as a prefix to other types of Hibiscuses, as in chabanu, used for the Sleeping Hibiscus.

chabanu (ชบาหนู)

Thai designation for the Sleeping Hibiscus, an up to 1.5 meter tall shrub with the botanical name Malvaviscus arboreus Cav. var. drummondii  and also commonly known as Turk's Cap and Wax Mallow. It was one of seven types of dok maijan, i.e. sandalwood flowers, used in the royal cremation ceremony of King Rama IX, in October 2017, and is said to represents the heartfelt condolences of the people and a symbol of all in paying their final tributes to the late King.

chabathip (ชบาทิพย์)

Thai designation for one of the seven types of dok maijan, i.e. sandalwood flowers, used in the royal cremation ceremony of King Rama IX, in October 2017, and described as a newly created Hibiscus (chaba)-like flower that represents demise and divinity, and offered to pay a final tribute to the late King.

Chachengsao (ฉะเชิงเทรา)

Name of a province as well as the capital city of this province (map) in East Thailand, 82 kms to the East of Bangkok. READ ON.

Chachungsao (ฉะเชิงเทรา)

See Chachengsao.

chadah (ชฎา)

Thai. Golden conical shaped ornamented crown, as worn by Thai monarchs and the royal characters in classical Khon performances. Compare with radklao.

chadok (ชาดก)

Sanskrit-Pali-Thai. Each of the in total 547-550 incarnations that every soul needs to take before it is able to be born as a buddha. Generally, it stands for the former life stories of the Buddha. In Thai tradition the last ten incarnations of the Buddha are the most important and are called Totsachat. See also chaht and jataka.

chae im (แช่อิ่ม)

Thai. ‘Soaked to saturation’. General name for a method used to preserve fruits in syrup, or for the preserved fruits themselves, if prepared in this manner. Sometimes the word chae (to saok) is used in combination with the Thai name of the processed fruit, e.g. farang chae, soaked guava or syrup-preserved guava. A suffix may be added to refer to the kind of syrup used, e.g. farang chae buay (green syrup-preserved guava - fig.), farang chae krajiab (guava soaked in a krajiab or roselle based syrup) or farang chae strawberry (red syrup-preserved guava), etc. Other traditional methods of preserving fruits include kuan (boiling and stirring), cheuam (boiled in syrup) and dong (pickling).

chaht (ชาติ)

Thai term that derives from Pali and which means ‘life’, ‘incarnation’, and ‘birth’, but also ‘caste’ or ‘race’, as well as ‘nationality’. See also Totsachat.

chai (ชัย)

Thai for ‘victory’. It often appears as a name or as part of a name, e.g. Chainat, Chaiyaphum, Wat Chaiwatthanaram, Mahachai, etc. With words in or derived from Sanskrit, it is sometimes pronounced chaya, as in maravichaya.

Chainat (ชัยนาท)

Thai. ‘Echo of victory’ or ‘celebrated victory’. Province and provincial capital in Central Thailand (map), 194 kms to the North of Bangkok. READ ON.

chai pattana aerator

Name of an invention ascribed to King Bhumipon Adunyadet and used to transfer oxygen to bodies of still water. Since it can be used to solve water pollution problems in natural water sources it is also referred to as a waste water aerator. Research for the aerator was done by the Royal Irrigation Department whilst the Chai Pattana (‘Victorious Development’) Foundation assisted with providing the budget. On 2 February 1993 the Department of Intellectual Property presented the king with a patent for the chai pattana aerator model RX-2, the first ever given to any monarch worldwide. In 2007 a sculpture of the chai pattana aerator (map - fig.) was raised in the King Rama IX Royal Park in Bangkok, on the occasion of the 80th birthday of this monarch. In many aspects the device is similar to the floating paddle wheel surface aerators (fig.) that are found on fish, shrimp and other aquatic products  farms nationwide, and which are used to improve the water quality and odour, and reduce algae and harmful dissolved gases, in order to enhance the health and growth of the aquatic creatures that are being farmed. In Thai the chai pattana aerator is known as kang han nahm chai pattana. See also POSTAGE STAMPS (1) and (2).

Chai Sing (ไฉ่ซิง, ไฉ่สิ่ง)

General Thai-Tae Chew name for any of the Chinese wealth gods, which in Mandarin are known as Cai Shen.

Chai Sing Ihya (ไฉ่ซิงเอี๊ย, ไฉ่ซิ้งเอี้ย, ไฉ่ซิ่งเอี๊ย)

Thai-Tae Chew name for the Chinese wealth god Tsai Shen Yeh. He comes in two guises, i.e. in a benign appearance, known as bountiful Cai Sing Ihya, where he is depicted holding gold riches and a ruyi (fig.), and provides good fortune, money, wealth and prosperity to his worshippers; and a fierce manifestation (fig.) known as the belligerent Tsai Shen Ye, who befits worshippers in terms of debt collecting or debt clearing, by making them afraid to cheat. He is known by a variety of other names, including the Chinese designations Zhao Gong Ming, Chao Kung Ming, etc. In Thailand, he is known as Phra Thonbodih and Thao Wetsuwan, and associated with Thao Kuwen. When worshipped as one of the Three Star Gods (fig.), he is referred to as Foo. Also transcribed Cai Shen Ye (fig.) and Tsai Shen Yeh.

Chai Sing Ihya Boo (ไฉ่ซิงเอี๊ยบู๊)

Thai-Tae Chew name for the Chinese deity Zhao Gong Ming (Chao Kung Ming), the military Chinese wealth god, who is typically portrayed either seated (fig.) or with his foot on a tiger, his mount that swallows all evil. In Thai-Tae Chew he is also called Uh Chai Seun Yeh. Also transcribed Cai Shen Ye Bu (fig.).

chaitya (चैत्य)

See caitya.

Chaiya (ไชยา)

One of the oldest and historically most significant settlements in southern Thailand where a number of sculptures dating from the Srivijaya period (7th -13th century) were found, many showing Mon and Indian influences. As a port Chaiya played an important role in the trade between the peninsula, India and China. The name is possibly derived from Siwichaiya, the Thai pronunciation for Srivijaya.

Chaiyaamphawaan (ไชยามพวาน, ไชยามพวาร)

Thai name of a monkey-warrior character from the Ramakien. READ ON.

Chaiyanta Mongkon (ไชยันตมงคล)

The birth name of Mahison Rachareuthay. Sometimes transcribed Jayanta Mongkol.

chaiyaphreuk (ชัยพฤกษ์)

Thai. ‘Tree of victory’. Name for the Javanese cassia, a kind of pink cassia tree (fig.) with the scientific name Cassia javanica, in the order of Leguminosae (family of plants with seeds in pods). It is sometimes referred to as the apple-blossom cassia. The names chaiyaphreuk and rachaphreuk are in Thai literature however often muddled up, using one for the other and visa versa, sometimes referring to the cassia agnes (a pink cassia tree) as rachaphreuk. The name is also often confused with another pink cassia tree, i.e. cassia bakeriana or kalapaphreuk. The official botanical list used by the Thai government as well as several prominent books on the subject however, tend to list both the cassia renigera (a subspecies of the cassia javanica which has pink flowers) as chaiyaphreuk, the cassia fistula (with yellow flowers) as chaiyaphreuk (khoon) and the cassia agnes (a pink cassia) as the rachaphreuk.

Chaiyaphum (ชัยภูมิ)

Thai. ‘Field of victory’ or ‘victorious land’. The name of a province (map) and its capital, in Isaan. READ ON.

chakra (चक्र, จักร)

1. Sanskrit-Thai. ‘Disc’, one of the attributes of the Hindu god Vishnu. In the Ramakien the chakra is incarnated by Phra Phrot. In Thai, it is pronounced chak. See also THEMATIC STREET LIGHT.

2. Sanskrit for ‘wheel’, representing the Buddhist Wheel of Law, symbol of the setting in motion of the Buddhist doctrine when the Buddha gave his first sermon, and symbol of the eternal cycle of birth, death and rebirth. One of the marks of an enlightened being. In Thai pronounced chak.

3. Sanskrit. Centre of spiritual energy in the body and symbol of the sun. In Thai pronounced chak. Compare with Shakra.

Chakraphad (จักรพรรดิ)

Thai. Term for an emperor. Usually in combination with the prefix Phra Chao. Sometimes transcribed Chakrapad, Jakrapat and Chakraphati.

Chakraphong Phuwanaht (จักรพงษ์ภูวนาถ, จักรพงษภูวนารถ)

Thai. Name of the 22nd son and 43rd child of King Rama V, with the title Prince of Phitsanulok. He was born on 3 March 1883 and died on 13 June 1920, aged 37. In his youth, he was sent to study at the Page Corps of Tsar Nicolas II in Russia, to be trained as a military cadet. After his graduation, he returned to Siam with a Russian wife named Catherina, with whom he later had a son, i.e. Prince Chula Chakraphong (จุลจักรพงษ์). Field Marshal Prince Chakraphong Phuwanaht went on to serve as Chief of Staff of the Royal Siamese Army and −together with his half-brothers Field Marshal Prince Jiraprawat Woradet (fig.) and General Prince Burachat Chaiyakon (fig.)− became instrumental in the early development of aviation in Siam. In 1911, he and his half-brother Prince Burachat took a ride as a passenger (fig.) in the airplane Henri Farman (fig.) of the Belgian pilot Charles Van den Born (fig.) during his flight demonstration at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club's (fig.). His name is also transcribed Chakrabongse Bhuvanarth or Chakrabong Bhuwanath, with chakra being a disk-like weapon (fig.) typically held by gods and rulers and part of the logo of the Chakri Dynasty (fig.) while the bong or krabong is a club, i.e. a weapon typically held by door guardians (fig.). Both weapons make up the family logo of the House of Chakraphong.

Chakravartin (चक्रवर्तिन्)

Sanskrit. ‘Emperor’ or ‘universal monarch’. Indian royal term used for the Buddha as the spiritual ruler of the universe. He who ruled with a chakra, i.e. the weapon of Vishnu, considered by many to be the supreme deity of the Hindu Trimurti.

Chakrawat (จักรวรรดิ)

Thai. Name of a giant or yak character in the Ramakien. He has a white complexion and is described as having four faces and eight arms (fig.). In Thai iconography, he is hence depicted wearing a chadah-like crown, with an additional three small white faces, and either with two or more arms. The peak of his crown is shaped like a thick giant plume that bends toward the back (fig.), and which is usually referred to as a cockerel's tail. He is the ruler of Krung Maliwan (กรุงมลิวัน) and a comrade of Totsakan (fig.). He joined Phainasuriyawong (ไพนาสุริยวงศ์), a son of Totsakan, to restore Langka City, capturing Phiphek (fig.) before he had started his enthronement ceremony, and appointed Phainasuriyawong as the new ruler instead, whilst renaming him Thao Totsaphin (ทศพิน). The event thrickered Phra Phrot to attack the city and recapture it, while extending the battle to Maliwan City, though without being able to defeat Chakrawat. This then resulted in a longlasting war, until Phra Phrot finally terminated Chakrawat with his bow, his lethal arrows hitting him in the chest, arms and legs. Thus, peace returned to the city. In Wat Phra Kaew, Chakrawat is one of the gatekeepers, who stands at the first of the three western gates, together with Thao Atsakammalah. His name is also transcribed Chakrawati and Chakravarti, and is related to the Sanskrit term Chakravartin. See LIST OF RAMAKIEN CHARACTERS and TRAVEL PICTURE.

chakrayahnyon (จักรยานยนต์)

Thai. ‘Motorbike’ or ‘motorcycle’. READ ON.

Chakri (จักรี)

1. Thai. The dynasty that has reigned in Thailand since 1782 and was founded by General Chao Phya Chakri who was crowned King Phra Phutta Yotfa Chulalok, known to westerners as King Yot Fa. During the reign of King Phra Nang Klao, the third King in the Dynasty, a new royal title system was established giving all the kings the crown title of Rama. His predecessors were posthumously given the titles Rama I and Rama II, whilst taking the title Rama III for himself. All successive kings of the dynasty (fig.) have since ruled with the crown title Rama, including the present King, Rama X. With Rama being the seventh avatara of the powerful Hindu god Vishnu, the preserver of the universe, the link can be seen to the Thai monarch as the preserver of the nation. The Thai royal emblem is likewise the mythical bird Garuda, the vehicle of Vishnu. Note that there have been nine avataras of Vishnu with the tenth yet to come, as there have been nine Chakri monarchs, the tenth also yet to come. The coat of arms of the Chakri Dynasty is a trisun (trident) encircled by a chakra (disc), the weapon of Vishnu. In the centre of the trident is sometimes also a small depiction of Narai (the Thai designation for Vishnu), riding on the Garuda (fig.). The Chakri Throne Hall (map - fig.) is the main palace building of the Chakri monarchs, located within the compound of the Grand Palace in Bangkok (fig.) and its central spire contains parts of the ashes of the Chakri Kings of the past (fig.). See also list of Thai kings. MORE ON THIS.

2. Thai. In the Ayutthaya, Thonburi and early Rattanakosin Periods, the title or rajatinanaam for a military commander in service of either a governor of a principality or the King, the equivalent of Commander-in-Chief. The word is related to the chakra, an attribute and weapon of several Hindu gods, including Vishnu and Brahma, and a symbol showing on the ensigns of the Royal Army and Navy today (fig.). The rank of Chakri was the highest military position at that time and carried the bandasak of Chao Phraya.

3. Thai name for a style of female national dress of Thailand, fully known as Thai Chakri, and in 1972 depicted on a Thai postage stamp (fig.).

Chakri Day

Thai public holiday on April 6, on which Phra Phutta Yotfa Chulalok, the founder of the Chakri Dynasty is remembered. In Thai Wan Chakri.

Chakri Nareubet (จักรีนฤเบศร)

Thai. ‘Chakri the Brave’. Name of Thailand's first and only aircraft carrier. READ ON.

Chakri Throne Hall

The largest of the palace buildings of Phra Rachawang, the Grand Palace, which consists of a main facade building, visible to the public and in Thai called Phra Tihnang Chakri Maha Prasat, and a number of other palace buildings built in the back of it and that are part of it. Collectively, this group is referred to by the same name of the facade building, i.e. Phra Tihnang Chakri Maha Prasat Group (fig.). Besides the main building, the group includes Phra Thihnang Moon Sathaan Borom Aht (พระที่นั่งมูลสถานบรมอาสน์), Phra Thihnang Sommathi Thewaraat Uppabat (พระที่นั่งสมมติเทวราชอุปบัติ), and Phra Thihnang Borom Ratchasathit Maholaan (พระที่นั่งบรมราชสถิตยมโหฬาร). The Chakri Throne Hall was designed by the British architect John Chinitz and shows a combination of Thai and European style architecture. The central mondop-like multi-tiered spire on the roof of the facade building enshrines the ashes of each of the Kings of the Chakri Dynasty, whilst the flanking spires house the ashes of princes who never inherited the throne. Today it is the place where royal banquets are held in honour of royal guests. The Chakri Throne Hall at is watched over by a honour guard provided by the ceremonial unit of the King's Own Guard (fig.), whose former barracks are located within the same compound (fig.). Also known as the Grand Palace Hall. See MAP.

Chakri Throne Hall

chak waw (ชักว่าว)

Thai for ‘flying a kite’, ‘kite flying’.

chalaam (ฉลาม)

Thai for ‘shark’, a species of fish of which there are many varieties. They are characterized by pectoral fins that are not fused to the head and multiple gill covers known as slit gills and found also in rays. Most sharks have eight fins, a feature known in Thai as hoo chalaam (fig.) and considered a delicacy in Asian cuisine. One of the more commonly seen shark species off Thailand's coast are reef sharks, such as the Blacktip Reef Shark (fig.). Also pla chalaam.

chalaew (เฉลว)

See talaew.

Chalawan (ชาละวัน)

Name of a crocodile in the Thai classical story Kraithong, a love story that originated in the province of Phichit (fig.). Also Chalawankumphih and sometimes transliterated Shala One. See also POSTAGE STAMP

Chalawankumphih (ชาละวันกุมภีล์)

See Chalawan.

Chaleum Prakian (เฉลิมพระเกียรติ)

Thai-rajasap. ‘Honour’. Term often used when referring to structures built or projects initiated in honour of the King, e.g. Chaleum Prakian 80th Anniversary Lighthouse (fig.). Also transliterated Chalermprakian.

Chalky Percher

Another common name for the Ground Skimmer.

chalom (ชะลอม)

Thai. A small round basket made of bamboo strips called tok (fig.), with the vertical strips at the top left unwoven, in order to tie the basket shut. It is used to vend bulked food in at markets. Nationwide, vendors at natural hot springs sell quail's and chicken's eggs in them, to enable visitors to easily cook them. There is a legend of a Sukhothai king, which tells that this ruler was so fast and skilled, that he could even transport water in chalom baskets.

chalong phra baht (ฉลองพระบาท)

1. Rajasap. Footwear for a king.

2. Thai. Footwear in the form of golden sandals which are a part of the Thai royal regalia or kakuttapan.

cham (ชาม)

Thai. Bowl or rice bowl, or a deep plate. Also written chaam.

Cham (Chăm)

1. Vietnamese. The inhabitants of central (map - fig.) and southern Vietnam since ancient times, probably of Indonesian origin. In 192 AD, they founded the Indianized coastal Kingdom of Champa which consisted of a collection of independent Cham polities that extended across the coast of what is today central and southern Vietnam until it in 1832 AD was absorbed and annexed by Nguyen Emperor Minh Mang. Between the 4th and 14th centuries My Son was Champa's religious centre (map - fig.). The Cham produced a unique style of architecture and sculpture, known as Cham art, much of it which is now housed in the Museum of Cham Sculpture in Da Nang (map - fig.) and to a lesser extend in the Vietnamese National History Museum in Hanoi (map - fig.). In 1177 AD the Cham invaded the Khmer Empire and stayed in Angkor until they were defeated in 1181 AD (fig.) by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII (fig.). Afterward, they were briefly annexed and controlled by the Khmer, between 1181 to 1220 AD.

2. Vietnamese. Art style with a unique genre of architecture and sculpture (fig.) between the 7th and 17th centuries AD, made by the Cham people (fig.) of Champa.


Tibetan. ‘Masked dance’. Name of a lively ritual associated with some sects of Buddhism and performed to exorcise evil. The ceremony and local variations of the festival were once practiced in Tibet, Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, China and Mongolia, and consists of a series of sacred dances, in which the dancers dress up as demons or deities in a ferocious form, such as Yamantaka (fig.), wearing ornamented costumes and wraithlike masks, usually decorated with miniature skulls and some even made in the form of a genuine human skull (fig.). Because Chinese officials have in the past prohibited the festival, and still discourage participation, performances in Tibet are now rare and Cham masks have mostly become collectables. Also spelled Tsam, Tscham or Chaam.

Cha Ma Dao (茶马道)

Chinese. ‘Tea Horse Road’. Name of an ancient tea route, i.e. a mountainous trade link that developed about a thousand years ago and over which mainly tea, especially tea bricks, but also salt was transported, both by porters on foot as well as on horseback, typically using ponies and mah klaeb-like horses, and that ran from Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces in southwestern China, over Myanmar to India, as well as to central China and Tibet. There is an Ancient Tea & Horse Road Museum on the northern outskirts of the city of Lijiang. See also cha and mah.

Chamadevi (จามเทวี)

Thai. Name for Chamadevi of Lopburi, the former city of