Dive into the Rich and Fascinating Culture of Thailand

The kingdom of Thailand is renowned for its vibrant culture, highly developed craftsmanship, and profound spirituality. Situated in Southeast Asia, Thailand, also known as the ‘Land of Smiles,’ is home to over 68 million people, known for their hospitality!

Ancient stone sculptures of Buddha are artworks that depict Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. His face is typically characterized by half-closed eyes, a subtle smile, and a serene and calm expression.


The former name of Thailand is the ‘Kingdom of Siam.’ Its rich and complex history dates back to antiquity, with kingdoms such as Sukhothai and Ayutthaya flourishing from the 13th to the 18th century.

Thailand has consistently maintained its independence against neighboring empires like the Khmers and the Burmese, as well as against European colonial powers.

The history of Thailand is captivating, filled with determined warriors, revered monks, and sacred rituals that continue to endure today.

In 1782, Rama I established the Chakri dynasty in Bangkok, laying the foundation for the present reigning dynasty.

Today, Thailand is an endearing country with a rich culture, a developing economy, and global tourist appeal, all while facing modern challenges and striving to balance tradition and modernity.

Buddhist Calendar

The Buddhist calendar, based on lunar cycles, is widely used in Buddhist countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. Its starting point is the death (or passage into Nirvana) of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.

In practice, 543 years need to be added to our calendar to obtain the current year in the Buddhist calendar (so, in 2023, we are in the year 2566 or 2567 B.E. for Buddhist Era).


The official language is Thai, spoken by the majority of the Thai population and used in some neighboring countries due to Thailand’s cultural and economic influence.

Thai has borrowed words and expressions from other languages, notably Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese, English, and other regional languages.

It’s a tonal language: the meaning of words can vary based on the tone used during pronunciation. There are five different tones in Thai (high, low, rising, falling, and mid-level).

Thai Alphabet

The Thai alphabet is a complex and unique writing system. It is written from left to right, and words are separated by spaces. The order of diacritical marks is specific; they are placed around the base consonant to form a complete syllable. Tone marks are used to indicate the syllable’s tone.

The Thai alphabet is an abugida script consisting of 44 initial consonants (ก ข ค ฆ ง จ ฉ ช ซ ฌ ญ ฎ ฏ ฐ ฑ ฒ ณ ด ต ถ ท ธ น บ ป ผ ฝ พ ฟ ภ ม ย ร ล ว ศ ษ ส ห ฬ อ ฮ); 32 basic vowels (Short vowels: อะ อิ อี อุ อู อำ อํ แอะ แอ โอะ โอ อา; Long vowels: อาะ อิ อี อุ อู อำ อํ แอะ แอ โอะ โอ อา); diacritical marks (vowel marks), and 5 tone marks (5 tones).

The Thai alphabet might seem complex, but with practice and perseverance, it is possible to learn to read, write, and speak Thai. This learning experience can be rewarding and provides a deep understanding of the country’s culture and history.


Thais are known for their friendliness and hospitality towards visitors. Extending a warm welcome to foreigners is an important value in Thai culture.

Monarchy and Respect

The monarchy is a revered institution in Thailand. The king is regarded as a symbol of unity and stability. Respect for the monarchy is deeply embedded in Thai culture.

In Thailand, images of the king are often displayed in public spaces, places of worship, official buildings, homes, schools, and other locations as a sign of devotion, respect, and loyalty to the monarchy.

Social Hierarchy

Notions of respect and hierarchy hold significant importance in Thai culture. Thai people place great emphasis on demonstrating respect towards their elders and figures of authority.

Religion and Spirituality

Theravada Buddhism is the predominant religion in Thailand. Religious ceremonies, offerings, and Buddhist rituals are integral parts of daily life in Thailand.

Offerings to the Buddha encompass a variety of items and are not intended to “feed” the Buddha, who has attained Nirvana and does not require food or material goods. Offerings serve as practices to cultivate positive qualities such as gratitude, compassion, generosity, and spiritual awareness.

These offerings are diverse and include incense, candles, flowers, food, water, precious items, as well as music and chants.

Monastic Life

Monks play a significant role in the community by offering teachings and spiritual guidance to the faithful. They also conduct blessing ceremonies for special occasions such as weddings.

Buddhism holds a central place in life in Thailand and is considered a moral guiding force for most of its inhabitants. It’s common for Thai men to spend a period of time as monks, which can range from a week to several months, or even longer.

This experience in monastic life is seen as a way to accumulate merit and deepen one’s understanding of Buddhism.

Spirit Worship

Spirit houses are altars dedicated to protective spirits and ancestors. In Thailand, they can be found at every street corner, in front of houses, or nestled in trees! Although spirit houses have roots in pre-Buddhist animistic beliefs, they harmoniously coexist with Buddhism in Thailand.

Thai culture is infused with Buddhist traditions as well as ancestral animistic practices. Thais believe that spirits reside in the skies, trees, rivers, and the sea, and they worship these spirits in spirit houses, dedicated temples and shrines, and in nature. Spirits are believed to have a significant influence on the fortune and destiny of families and individuals.

Temples in Thailand

Thailand is renowned for its magnificent temples, known as “wats” in Thai. Buddhist temples serve as important spiritual and cultural centers.

The country is home to numerous temples, both historic and contemporary, serving as places of worship, meditation, teaching, and religious celebration.

In Bangkok, we recommend visiting Wat Phra Kaew, situated within the Grand Palace complex, which houses the revered Emerald Buddha, a highly venerated religious statue. Wat Pho and Wat Arun are also must-visit temples in the capital. Less known, Wat Pariwat, located away from typical tourist routes, is a personal favorite of mine!

Covering Buddha statues with thin sheets of gold symbolizes devotion and reverence. The gold leaves represent the purity of the Buddha’s spiritual light. They adorn the statue and reflect light, serving as a reminder that Buddhist teachings illuminate the world like the sun.

Throughout the country, many other temples and sacred sites reflect the spirituality, architecture, and history of the nation. Their splendor and diversity are truly extraordinary!

The temple guardians, known as “Yaksha” or “Yak,” are mythological figures often placed at the entrances of temples to protect them and prevent negative or malevolent influences from entering their sacred inner space. These imposing statues can have a fierce and powerful appearance or take the form of fantastical or animal-like creatures.

Traditional Festivals

Thailand is rich in traditional festivities. One of the most iconic is Songkran, the Thai New Year celebrated in April. During this period, people engage in water fights and visit temples for purification rituals.

During Loy Krathong, which usually falls in November, Thais release small fire-lit lanterns onto rivers to symbolize the letting go of worries and sorrows.

Phi Ta Khon, also known as the Ghost Festival, is unique to the Dan Sai region. It features dances, colorful masks, and festivities to honor spirits and attract prosperity.

The Royal Barge Procession in Bangkok showcases splendid, elaborately decorated barges in an impressive procession that honors the royal family.

Phuket’s Vegetarian Festival is a period where participants abstain from meat and perform religious rituals to purify the mind and body.

The Surin Elephant Festival highlights the relationship between elephants and local communities through shows, parades, and cultural activities.

These traditional Thai festivals are just a few examples, reflecting the country’s cultural diversity.


Options Thailand offers a wide variety of transportation options for travelers. Tuk-tuks, small three-wheeled motorized vehicles, are popular for short city trips. Taxis, both traditional and app-based, are widely available in urban areas.

An iconic mode of transportation in Thailand, the tuk-tuk is a small three-wheeled vehicle often brightly decorated with lights and various ornaments. It’s a picturesque transportation experience highly favored by tourists!

The public transportation network includes local and intercity buses, providing an economical option for traveling between cities and provinces. Motorcycle taxis are common for quick and affordable travel in congested areas.

The longtail boat, known as “reua hang yao” in Thai, is the traditional Thai boat.

Trains connect numerous regions of the country, offering more comfortable and scenic travel options, notably the famous “Death Railway” connecting Bangkok to the Kanchanaburi region. Boats and ferries are used for navigating along rivers and visiting the islands.

The capital, Bangkok, is nicknamed “the Venice of Asia” due to its numerous canals, known as “klongs,” that crisscross the city.

Additionally, modern options like air-conditioned buses and minivans are popular for longer trips between cities. Domestic flights are also a convenient option for covering vast distances quickly.


The durian is dubbed “the king of fruits.” Its intense aroma and strong smell may deter some individuals, leading to regulations prohibiting its consumption in certain public places. However, others consider it a delicate and prized delicacy. Its unique and rich taste is a blend of sweetness, creaminess, and hints of almond.

Food is also at the heart of Thai culture. Thai cuisine is renowned for its unique blend of flavors, spices, and fresh ingredients. Thai dishes often strike a balance between the five fundamental tastes: sweet, salty, spicy, bitter, and sour. Food markets, street stalls, and restaurants are popular places to savor local cuisine.

The Pad Thai is an iconic dish and a delightful example of the rich palette of flavors and aromas that Thai cuisine has to offer. It consists of stir-fried noodles that combine sweet, salty, spicy, and sour tastes, garnished with fresh ingredients and herbs. Pad Thai is internationally celebrated for its well-balanced combination of textures and flavors.

Thai families often spend a lot of time preparing meals to celebrate special occasions and share them with their loved ones.

The dragon fruit, or pitaya, is widely cultivated in Thailand. Its flesh is sweet, juicy, and speckled with small black seeds. The fruit can be consumed fresh, sliced or cubed, added to fruit salads, smoothies, or used as a decorative topping.

Traditional Arts

Traditional Thai arts include classical dance, music, khon (classical masked dance), and Nuad Boran (traditional massage). Sepak takraw (kick volleyball) and Muay Thai (Thai boxing) are also significant cultural expressions.

Thai dance is elegant and diverse. Dancers often wear lavish costumes, masks, and portray mythological or historical characters.

Muay Thai is a traditional Thai martial art. Muay Thai fighters are renowned for their courage, endurance, and technique. They use punches, elbow strikes, knee strikes, and kicks for both defensive and offensive purposes, both in the sport and real-life situations.

Muay Thai is both a competitive sport and a form of traditional martial art deeply rooted in Thai culture, playing a significant role in the country’s identity.

Sepak takraw is a traditional Southeast Asian ball sport popular in Thailand. Players use only their feet, knees, heads, and chests to touch the ball and pass it over the net. Touches need to be executed swiftly and agilely to keep the game in motion. Professional players are stars in the country, and the sport is also enjoyed as a recreational activity.

Sepak takraw is spectacular to watch due to the acrobatic movements of the players in touching the ball. There are several styles and techniques of play, including “sepak raga” (played with the hip) and “sepak bulu ayam” (played with the inside foot wrapped around the ball).

Thai Traditional Crafts

Thai traditional craftsmanship, rich and diverse, dates back several centuries and is known worldwide for its high-quality and beautifully crafted products. Thai artisans specialize in various crafts, from pottery and weaving to jewelry making and sculpture. The vibrant colors, elaborate patterns, and diversity of offered items reflect the creativity and skills of local artisans.

Handwoven Silk: Produced for centuries to create clothing, bags, bedspreads, and other fashion items, Thai silk is renowned for its softness, high quality, and intricate patterns. Silk fabrics are also hand-dyed.

Wood, Bronze, and Other Material Sculptures: Thai artisans are esteemed for their skills in sculpting and carving. They create sculptures of Buddha, deities, animals, and other ornamental motifs.

Garuda, known as “Krut” in Thai, is a creature that is part-human, part-bird, symbolizing power, dignity, strength, loyalty, protection, and the Thai royal family. As a national symbol, it adorns official buildings, passports, and banknotes. A yellow flag with a red Garuda is raised over the royal palace when the king is present.

Ceramics and Pottery: Bowls, vases, plates, and figurines are crafted using traditional pottery and ceramic techniques.

Hand-Painted Umbrellas: Thai umbrellas, made from mulberry paper and bamboo, are hand-painted with floral patterns, traditional scenes, and elaborate designs.

In Thai culture, umbrellas are considered symbols of auspiciousness, protection, and good luck. They are often given as gifts during special occasions.

Jewelry: Silver, along with other materials, is used to craft intricate jewelry and ornaments, sometimes adorned with precious or semi-precious stones.

Thai Puppets: Traditional Thai puppets are crafted from carved wood and hand-painted. Traditional puppet shows often narrate epic and mythological stories.

Traditional Masks: Thai masks, frequently used in ceremonies and festivals or as decorative items, are made from natural materials such as wood, papier-mâché, and palm leaves.

Khon is a traditional Thai dance-theatre performance that depicts episodes from the Ramakien, a Thai epic based on the Hindu Ramayana. Khon masks are elaborate and colorful, representing mythical and legendary characters.

Woven Baskets: Handwoven baskets made from wicker and rattan are used for transporting goods and local produce. They are also frequently employed as decorative items.

Lacquerware Painting: Lacquerware craftsmanship involves applying layers of colored lacquer to wooden objects, creating intricate patterns and designs.

Wooden Massage Accessories: Designed for use in traditional Thai massage techniques or self-massage to help alleviate muscle tension and promote relaxation. These accessories include tools like reflexology sticks, reflexology boards, self-massage rods for the back, and more.

Cushions and Mattresses: Crafted using traditional artisanal techniques such as weaving, hand-stitching, and padding, Thai cushions and mattresses are often versatile and highly decorative.

Comfortable Clothing: “Made in Thailand” clothes includes Thai pants and Thai skirts, often made from soft cotton and natural fabrics, lightweight, breathable, and ideal for warm climates. They can be worn casually or formally, often adorned with embroideries or decorative details.

Traditional Clothing : Traditional Thai clothing reflects the history, culture, and societal influences of Thailand through the ages:


Chut Thai is worn during special occasions like religious ceremonies, weddings, and other significant events. Sabai is a silk stole worn over Chut Thai or other traditional clothing. Chakkri is often worn by women from royalty or high-ranking status.


Chang Kben is a traditional outfit consisting of a fabric belt wrapped around the waist and a matching shirt. Aksra is formal wear for men during special occasions. Chatai is worn notably by farmers for outdoor work, comprising loose trousers (suea pat) and a short-sleeved shirt.

These examples represent only a small fraction of the extensive range of Thai craftsmanship, which plays a crucial role in the country’s culture by preserving ancient traditions and crafting beautiful and functional objects.

The lotus and the naga are two significant and culturally important elements in Thailand. In Buddhism, the lotus is closely associated with spiritual awakening. It also symbolizes the illusory nature of the material world as, despite having roots in the mud, it rises above the water without being tainted by it. The naga (serpent) is a mythological creature, regarded as the guardian of underground treasures and knowledge, as well as the protector of waters and natural elements.

In summary, Thailand is a nation deeply rooted in Buddhist culture, rich artisanal tradition, spirituality, and annual festivals. Thai culture is steeped in ancient history, religious traditions, regional influences, and a strong national identity.

Thai traditional massage, “Nuad Boran”’s spirit

My name is Yeshé and I am a traditional Thai massage therapist based in Toulouse, France.

Here I am massaging my friend Marie with “Sugar” the cat – Baan Hom Samunphrai, Chiang Mai, December 2022

When Cindy asked me to write about traditional Thai massage (also known as ‘Nuad Boran’), specifying: “but not about the benefits, because it has been done already”Yes, I can do that, I thought, but I wasn’t much inspired by it. I could have described the feeling of well-being Traditional Thai Massage brings to one’s as if all the  knots were being untangled in one’s body and a new fresh energy allowed to circulate in through one’s whole self. Of course I could have written about the profound physical  effects Thai Massage has on athletes, for example,  or on people who suffer from chronic headaches or debilitating lumbago issues. And yes, I do know how to write scientific articles, I can source my sentences with the utmost serious standardized nomenclature in the world. But scientific literature studies the results, and therefore the benefits… Then I started looking into magazine articles for a source of inspiration — in vain. I found the articles repetitive, written with more or less of an engaging or rather descriptive style. When I started copying and pasting a title and looking for synonyms, I thought this isn’t going to work for me.

Because to be honest, in my own Nuad Boran training I received almost no theoretical knowledge, but on the contrary I had the sense of absorbing wave after wave of non-verbal experience, transmitted orally and by touch, and always out of my teacher’s very own being. My experience was far more non-descriptive, transformative… universal. What is inspiring me to write this article on Traditional Thai Massage is my very particular experience in 2022 in Chiang Mai, and the connection I have made through it with the whole new world of ‘Nuad Boran’.

Deity in Nature – November 2022

Traditional Thai massage: my experience in northern Thailand

Between acupressure, yoga and meditation, traditional Thai massage is a common thing in this fish-filled rivers and rice fields’ Land. Traditional Thai massage is a true cultural heritage, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019.

These “ancient pressures” (literal translation) are 2500 years old. It is said that their roots go back to India and to Doctor Shivago (Shivaga Komarapat), contemporary of Buddha and the Buddha’s sangha’s therapist. 

At the bottom right, below the Buddha on the altar is a wooden statue of Doctor Shivago – December 2022

“Walking on the parents”

As for my teacher, Homprang Chaleekanha, thai massage was always practiced at home (in 1958 her village was like one big house!) ) and as a child she called Thai massage “walking on the parents.” 

Today, Traditional Thai massage is an integral part of traditional Thai medicine. Homprang explained that she herself worked in the clinic at the beginning of her practice.

What I find interesting is that Nuad Boran is not just a technique, but a way of being. Slowness, removal of stress seems to be part of the way of life. We in the West, who are wracked with anxiety and depression, could surely benefit from this holistic approach. 

I will try here to describe what I have been able to capture of Nuad Boran’s essence.

Massages in a temple in Chiang Mai – November 2022
Baan Hom Samunphrai School (on the left, the dining room, on the right my accommodation) –
November 2022

Living examples

At school, we meet Homprang, the fierce Homprang, who rebelled against her father as a youngster and against the future he reserved as a farmer. The one who cares for and masterfully leads her own school, allowing a big part of her family to be fed and employed today. Homprang shows the example, the way to practice Nuad Boran and takes away all stress and pain. She is used to making decisions in a determined and confident way. She is also my first Asian teacher. It may be a detail for you, but for me it means a lot. I grew up in the south of France and as a Eurasian, I had never had a role model looking like me. The fact that she is so fierce is just the cherry on top of the cake.

There is also Homprang’s right arm, her sister-in-law nicknamed Baang, the one with whom we spend hours, who corrects and massages us. Baang is of incomparable sweetness and kindness. She works without counting her hours, always with the same slowness, the same calm, the same serenity. She doesn’t own a cell phone, does not have any social media, she doesn’t manage the school, doesn’t really speak English, doesn’t wear any makeup and wears simple comfy clothes. But, above all, she conveys a lot through her way of being.

She corrects my movements by gently taking my hand and putting it in the right place. She speaks quietly. One single word. Sometimes, she would show several movements and I’d feel lost. It’s no big deal. I focus. I will understand next time. We are training every day. She hangs out the laundry slowly, walks quietly, calmly prepares the ginger tea. 

I received a massage from her that lasted more than 3 hours. I was surprised by her touch’s compassion and also by her slow pace. Homprang confirmed that this was, indeed, the way they teach Nuad Boran.

One afternoon, I saw Baang talking under the porch with my mother. I decided to take a break from training and join them. A heart-to-heart discussion ensued. She is authentic, human. Her lack of a hierarchical stance definitely puts me at ease.

Baang showing me a gesture – November 2022

It takes a village (to raise a child)

And the village is in Thailand. My 15-month-old baby at the time is also welcome at the school. Everybody there took such great care of us.

Cuddle in a tuk-tuk – Chiang Mai, 2022

There is not “one” mother, Thai babies have multiple mothers, in the sense that everyone takes care of them. And it’s true that wherever I go with my baby, adults naturally take care of it, and seem very happy about it! How pleasant! At the restaurant, at the café, at school… everywhere, I meet kind and caring people towards him, towards us. This feeling of unity and mutual aid heals me and fills my heart with serenity. Having a baby is already tiring enough as it is, and having to worry about not disturbing others, or worry about being able to be welcomed properly is an additional burden that creates a lot of unnecessary stress for young parents. Here, there is no such problem, everyone participates. I am grateful to every person who smiled at him, handed him a piece of coconut, taro, talked to him, played with him, played guitar, hide and seek, saved him from falling , cooked him something, offered him something, if only a smile or a “tsa ééé” (I deduced that it was the equivalent of the French “coucou”, like many Thai people have fun playing hide and seek while saying the famous “tsa ééé” )

Maw2 Homprang, school founder, herbal doctor and Nuad Boran specialist, picking flowers with baby Noah – November 2022
2 “Maw” means “doctor” – term referring to surgeon or dentist. Homprang is often referred to as Maw Homprang because she is a licensed “Maw Saunphrai”. It literally means a “plant doctor” but is usually translated as “doctor of traditional medicine”. She is also sometimes referred to as “Ajarn” Homprang, by her professional colleagues, meaning Professor.

The bloodline1

The feeling of belonging that is so good is also fostered by our “bloodline” . We talk about “Mothers” , “grandmothers” as any person from which the teaching comes from (no matter the gender from my understanding but I may be wrong!).

Mae” is a respectful term that can be used before the teacher’s first name. Mae means “mother“. All the rivers in Southeast Asia are mothers, like Mae Ping, the brown river which crosses Chiang Mai and on which thousands of Krathongs (small floating baskets with a candle) are placed during the great annual Loy Krathong festival as an offering to the Goddess River.

 1Alternative word to “lineage”, the original word I used. I’ve been told “lineage” might be too much associated with a father-like image, and the notion of succession. We’d like to take away any anxiety from “who the father is” and the pedestal a successor can be put on by using more of a motherly, water-inspired image. “Mothers” or “Grandmothers” do that, no matter the gender. We could also say the flow, the stream, the bloodline.

Loy Krathong Festival in Chiang Mai – November 2022
Krathong of flowering bamboo that I am about to drop on the Ping River – November 2022

In addition to daily yoga, we sing and pay homage to the founder of Thai massage and our “bloodline”. I think of Thai medicine women, as well as all the massage therapists who have massaged me since childhood, in Thailand and elsewhere, instilling in me a taste for it. I am also thinking about the rice farmers who for hundreds of years have also perpetuated and shaped the traditional Thai massage. We mass as we irrigate a rice field. Sometimes to irrigate an area, you have to open the valves elsewhere.


Nuad Boran is practiced on the ground, comfortably lying down or sitting on a mattress. It promotes anchoring. We become aware of our link with Earth, with nature. 

Traditional Thai massage is practiced dressed in Thai pants and a large cotton T-shirt, soft, natural and comfortable. I find it really practical and pleasant. With Thai people, no problem. It is simple, and I like it when things are simple (I’m a mother of 2 young children). It is also something containing, unifying, a mother’s womb like image. It is also reassuring for many people and their insecurities. “No Sylvie, no need to wax yourself.” Nothing will be seen either. All modesty is preserved.

Posture demonstration – December 2022
Cathy massaging mom. Photo taken by myself. My mother and I were the guinea pigs of Catherine Mangematin, trained at Nuad Boran in Thailand – Tarn, 1997
I am 10 years old and sleep in a mezzanine among the Taras, Bosch’s Garden of Delights and Thai cushions – Fiac, 1997

To feel

“Feeel” Homprang repeats. We are talking about a society that has not split the body from the mind (see Descartes’ error, Antonio Damasio, 1995), which has not hierarchized the mind above the body. Mind, body, soul together as one. What is beautiful is the feeling of wholeness. It’s not having a cut. There is a soothing wholeness that prevails. No painful split. 

We have the right to feel, it is even essential! Emotions are normal internal events, which have to pass through us. They need to go out because, yes, it goes without saying, but let’s make it clear: “it’s better afterwards”.

Buddhism is part of the culture, but spirituality is not a religion! Anything with the right intention can be spiritual. It is a question of intention. Statues and carvings of Buddhas are found in nature, covered in moss, vines and foliage, forming one. It is the very spirit of Nature.

Meditative Buddha in nature – November 2022
Noah, here seated on the steps of a flowery moss-covered stupa, quickly figured out how to greet here – December 2022

Nuad Boran is like a river

The silt bed of the Nuad Boran river is in direct connection with the Earth since it is composed of it. Nuad Boran River’s visage is fashioned by the different strata of past mothers. The inscription in the line of these wild women, wise women, and medicine-women – allows to calm the ego and to remember that one is not a “self made woman”. We know what we know thanks to the work of previous generations. 

From this awareness, the emptiness in oneself can be born, allowing one to better listen to one’s receivers. Listening to the words, the pains but also observing the breathing, the body… Listening to one’s feelings and one’s intuition makes it possible to locate knots, blockages, tensions… and in order to adapt to the recipient with as much fluidity as possible… 

Like a river, the practitioner in Nuad Boran will become one with the water element, so as not to shock or block, but to bring transformation through movement. The massage therapist in Nuad Boran seeks to refluidify the solidified fluid elements by series of waves, tapping, pitching…etc (“Thai body therapy, NUAD BORAN, From sources to practice., Charles Breger) 

Finally, the notion of inter-being seems essential (Thich Nhat Hanh), of systemic inter-activity (Charles Breger) or even the notion of mirror neurons, transference, empathy… The awareness that myself as I am impacts the other and vice versa. Energies and diseases can be transmitted and therefore it is important to take care of yourself to take care of the other. To catch nothing and give nothing harmful.

Practice and western adaptation

Today, I practice traditional Thai massage in Toulouse and the Tarn areas in France, adapting it to western constraints. A time constraint: traditional Thai massage can last for hours (3 to 4 hours). I offer a very complete version of 1h30, a shorter one of 1h.

The temperature too: I invested in a mattress heater and we keep our socks on in the winter! I have other training projects in Thai massage (womb lifting, therapeutic, etc.). Slow but steady. One thing at a time. It’s my new mantra. Before each massage, you will see me (or not) join my hands in a lotus bud: I ask for protection, permission to touch the body and to heal it. Then, I drive out the bad energies, and the massage begins. 

Yeshé Dionnet-Barbot, massage therapist

Passaddhi, well-being of the mind & body 

07 70 18 50 29



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Article posted with Homprang Chaleekanha and Cathy Mangematin’s kind permission. Special thanks to Christopher Woodman for conscientiously proofreading the English version. 

Homprang enjoying the moment sitting on her pontoon with my baby – November 2022

The benefits of traditional Thai massage

Traditional Thai massage, or Nuad Bo Rarn, restores balance and energy to the body, and provides many benefits.

In Thailand, thai massage is an integral part of everyday life. They are practiced mainly as a preventive measure, because their regular practice allows you to stay in good health.

Traditional Thai massage is a true alternative medicine that has its roots in the ancestral traditions of Ayurvedic medicine.

In Thailand it is called Nuad Bo Rarn or Nuad Boran. Nuad means “pressure” and boran means “old”.

Of Indian origin, its practice spread to Thailand at the same time as Buddhism, around the 5th century BC.

The Nuad Boran is practiced on the ground on a futon, dressed in loose and comfortable clothes, and without oil or lotion.

The masseur uses his thumbs, elbows, knees, feet to exert pressure on the whole body, as well as stretching and postures.

It is an invigorating massage that works the whole body, and its health benefits are numerous.

In addition to softening the joints and relaxing the muscles, Thai massage helps detoxify the body, in parallel with the 3 other elements of traditional Thai medicine: nutrition, herbal medicine and meditation.

It frees the mind from accumulated stress, relieves tension and stiffness in the body, it is beneficial for blood and lymphatic circulation and it improves the quality of sleep.

You will leave your session completely relaxed and regenerated.

Be careful, however, because there are contraindications, for example for pregnant women, and certain serious illnesses. If in doubt, seek the advice of a doctor.

To give or receive a Thai massage, you should wear loose and comfortable clothes, such as Thai pants and a Thai shirt.

You will find some on my online store, also discover our massage and self-massage accessories!

For a Thai massage in Toulouse, France, we recommend contacting Yeshé from Passaddhi Massages!

Learn more about the spirit of Nuad Boran.

Thai proverbs, full of wisdom!

At Arasia, we have the soul of the traveler, and one of our favorite countries is of course Thailand, which seduced us with its refinement and omnipresent spirituality, whether in its cities or its countryside!

Discover our Thai proverbs full of wisdom!

Discover our selection of popular Thai proverbs, which often evoke the rural and animal world, because Thailand has traditionally been an agricultural and rice-producing country.

The bond between man and animal, each taking care of the other!

“The rice that is in your attic is your enemy because it arouses the jealousy of those who do not have it”

There is no point in amassing too much wealth, better to share it with your neighbors! If everyone is happy, it will make the world a better place!
“The hen sees the snake’s legs, the snake sees the hen’s teats”

Everything is relative and depends on our point of view: always keep an open mind!
“When the water drops, the ants eat the fish; when the water rises, the fish eat the ants “

Events can cause situations to change, or even reverse themselves completely, never taking anything for granted!
“If a dog bites you, don’t bite the dog”

Take a step back from the events, do not react on a whim, and take the time to think it will be beneficial to you!
“Draw a tiger to scare the cow”

Be smart and don’t hesitate to bluff your opponent!
“It’s hard to get the cane out of the elephant’s mouth”

And now my favorite Thai proverb:
“There is no other happiness than peace”

Let go of what is no more. Let go of what isn’t yet. Observe deeply what is going on in the present moment, but don’t get attached to it. It’s the most wonderful way to live. Buddha

“Stick a gold leaf on the back of a Buddha statue”

This popular Thai expression refers to Buddhist culture: It designates a person who likes to do good, humbly and in all discretion.

Awaken your consciousness, gently, and keep your feet on the Earth, enjoying the present moment, this is the secret of authentic spirituality!

He who sows silence reaps peace.

He who is under the sky, how can he fear the rain?

The fruits do not fall far from the tree.

Hope rises higher than the mountains.

Don’t wake the sleeping tiger.

Who helps his body, helps his mind and calms his mind.

The professor is like a boat waiting for passengers to take them across the river.

Breaking your leg today can save your life the next day.

In youth one must seek knowledge; in old age, a master.

Life is so short, you have to move slowly.

And you, what is your favorite proverb? Do not hesitate to comment on this article !

The banyan trees: sacred trees

The banyan, also called pagoda fig tree, Bo tree, pipal, or ficus religiosa is a majestic tree that can reach 30 meters, and several hundred meters in circumference!

With its aerial roots descending from its bushy crown to the ground, becoming trunks, and its heart-shaped leaves, the banyan invites to meditation. In Asia, they are found everywhere: in the towns, in the middle of a road, in front of a building or in the middle of a parking lot, and are tended to by devotees who come to place some offerings or prayers.

Indeed, it is said that Buddha attained enlightenment under the shadow of a banyan tree. And the Bhagavad-Gita made it the tree of supreme knowledge.

This tree has a particular energy, the banyan trees are very often found near the temples, and can live up to 1500 years. It has the power to calm the mind, but also to take the mind very high to heaven.

In South America it is called “the tree that walks” because it seems to have enormous legs that can be compared to elephant’s that leave the “main trunk”.

Some famous banyan trees:

The most famous and most sacred is in the holy city of Bodh-Gaya, in northeastern India, where the Buddha would have attained enlightenment.

The Great Banian of Howrah, near Calcutta, India. Its diameter is over 130 meters.

Another famous Banyan is the Dodda Alada Mara in Bangalore.

The banyan is part of many Ayurvedic remedies. One uses its sap, its leaves, or its bark.

Operation 1 euro = 1 tree in Bengal!

Arasia’s reforestation

Arasia, an ethical initiative with its suppliers

Arasia has put in place an ethical approach with most of its suppliers in Asia.

We are concerned about the manufacturing conditions, and the comfort of workers. We made a point to visit the workshops to find out where our products come from.

An Arasia’s supplier

The Thai pants and Thai skirts, for instance, are ordered from a very nice Thai couple, Bank and Tete.

They have a small ready-to wear business that make, sells and export traditional Thai clothes.

Here is Bank, my main contact with whom I communicate regularly and who has become a friend. He runs several small shops on the side of Hua Hin a seaside resort (200 km south of Bangkok).

The large packages next to him contain Thai pants and skirts ordered by Arasia.

The depot in Chiang Mai

The following picture was taken in a small village near Chiang Mai (northern Thailand), at the depot where Bank regroups all its orders after the clothes are made. From left to right: Cindy the founder of Arasia-Shop, Tété the wife of Bank and Som the cousin of Tété. Both women manage the orders and the administrative part of the business.

The village seamstresses

Thai pants and skirts are made in a small village near Chiang Mai by local seamstresses. When a large order is placed, most of the women in the village are asked to give a helping hand and help to carry out the order as soon as possible.

A relationship of trust

This councious partnership with Arasia ensures a comfortable and regular income for its suppliers and contributes to the improvement of their standard of living.

A relationship of trust has been established and Arasia can thus place orders from France and does not need to travel all the way to order.


Once the items are ready, they are grouped together with other orders and sent by boat to France (by containers). This means of transport takes more time, but is much less polluting than the airplane.

Here is a picture of the team managing logistics and exporting in Thailand, with Cindy the manager of Arasia on the right.

For more information visit our website

And check out our ethical charter!

Arasia’s Thai pants

Thai pants, also called Shan baun-mi or fisherman pants, are originally Thai fishermen’s pants. Nowadays they are often worn by tourists visiting Thailand, who have spread those pants all over the world.

Pants with unparalleled comfort

Its convenience and its incredible comfort have made the Thai pants an essential item in the wellness and Buddhist world (massages, shiatsu, yoga …), indoor sports or martial arts, as well as for dance performances, batucada … etc

These pants allow a great freedom of movement. For this reason, it is highly appreciated by all those who want a garment that combines comfort and flexibility.

Suitable for many occasions, elegant and comfortable, sober or colorful, Thai pants is also a practical garment during pregnancy, since it adapts to the waist through a set of folds.

ARASIA offers a wide range of Thai pants, Thai trousers XL (20 cm longer for very tall people), Thai capris, as well as Thai pants for children.

Our pants are either in thick cotton, or in fine cotton, or in rayon, a fluid and light fabric, or in hemp, a very robust and natural fabric.

We also offer Thai skirts and shorts (medium and long), and thai shirts made of cotton or cotton.

How are our Thai pants made

What is the symbolism behind the elephant?

The Elephant is mainly known as a gigantic animal, but it is actually a pacifistic animal with a keen intellect.

Unfortunately counted nowadays as an endangered species because of poaching, deforestation and industrialization.

A distinction is to be made between the African elephant and the Asian elephant.

The Asian elephant’s height reach, in average, below 3 meters and weigh less than 3 tons. Its ears are small and its tusks are often short or even nonexistent and its trunkpossess a sole finger. The African elephant however, can be up to 3,5 meters and weigh up to 4 or 5 tons! It ears are so big that they can cool him off or frighten its opponent. Its tusk is long and hefty and its trunk possess two fingers.

The Asian elephant has been domesticated for more than 4,500 years firstly to travel or animal traction. Nowadays, the elephant is mainly seen in the tourism industry. It is the biggest land-based animal on earth.

What is the symbolism behind the elephant?

The Elephant is mainly known as agigantic animal, but it is actually a pacifistic animal with a keen intellect.

Unfortunately counted nowadays as an endangered species because of poaching, deforestation and industrialization.

A distinction is to be made between the African elephant and the Asian elephant.
The Asian elephant’s height reach, in average, below 3 meters and weigh less than 3 tons. Its ears are small and its tusks are often short or even nonexistent and its trunkpossess a sole finger. The African elephant however, can be up to 3,5 meters and weigh up to 4 or 5 tons! It ears are so big that they can cool him off or frighten its opponent. Its tusk is long and hefty and its trunk possess two fingers.

The Asian elephant has been domesticated for more than 4,500 years firstly to travel or animal traction. Nowadays, the elephant is mainly seen in the tourism industry. It is the biggest land-based animal on earth.

The symbolism behind the elephant always has been “superior wisdom”. The animal is also associated with the idea of having a good memory, longevity (can reach 86 years of age !!), wealth, strength and goodwill.

In India, the elephant impersonates the world’s four pillars which it carries on its back.

In Hindu philosophy, Ganesh, god of wisdom and students’ patron. The son of Shiva one of the main deity worshiped in India and the god of Cosmos.

The elephant is also often found in religious ceremonies where it occupies a special place.

You will find on Arasia’s blog numerous articles about elephants, drapery, statues, ornamentation etc., right here !

Bhumibol, King of Thaïland

The death of King of Thailand plunged the country into uncertainty.

The king of Thailand RAMA IX aka Bhumibol Adulyadej, was born on December 5, 1927 and died on Thursday, October 13, 2016. He ruled over Thailand for 70 years. His dynasty, the Rama dynasty, succeeded the dynasty of the kings of Ayutthaya and Bangkok was established as the capital of the kingdom in 1782.

Bhumibol is revered like a demigod and his portrait is omnipresent in all homes. 90% of the population had only him as a ruler, he held a central role in the unification of the country.

The designated successor is his only son Maha Vajiralongkorn. He is not very popular because of his erratic personality and lack of commitment. Most Thai people would prefer to see his sister,Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, on the throne

The troubled political context of the country:

After a strong economic growth in the 85’s -95’s, Thailand was among the four dragons of South East Asia, nowadays the country is experiencing a troubled politicalclimate.

The relations between the army, the royalist “yellow shirts” and the pro-democratic “red shirts” are often violent. The country is plagued by coups, internet censorship and the imprisonment of journalists and opponents.

Any unfavorable opinion towards the king or his family is punished as a crime of lese majesty according to the Thai constitution. Its authority and legitimacy are truly immutable. The King is the symbolic father of all Thai people.

By tradition, Father’s Day is set on the king’s birthday (therefore on December 5 since 1946) and it is the same for Mother’s Day.

Following the death of the king, the entire country was grieving. A mourning period of one year was declared after which the new sovereign will be crowned.

I convey my condolences to the Thai people for this difficult moment in their history, which I am sure they will be able to face with the wisdom that characterizes them.

The significance of the lotus

The lotus is an aquatic plant with blue, pink, purple or white flowers that is similar to the water lily.

Emerging from the mud, it rises towards the light and thus represents elevation and spiritual realization.


The lotus (padma in Sanskrit) is the sacred flower of Buddhism and Hinduism and its symbolism is rich and powerful.

According to Buddhist tradition, when the Buddha walked, lotus flowers bloomed…

Brahma, the creator God of the Hindus is said to have been born in a lotus. This flower is the symbol of the origin of the manifestation of life.

It also often serves as a throne for the deities.

In India

A symbol of beauty, purity and elegance, it is also the national flower of India.

The Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India, is an architectural curiosity in the shape of a lotus flower about to bloom. It aims to be universal and open to all religions. No particular ritual is performed there, but people simply come to meditate in silence and with an open heart.


In yoga, the lotus posture (padmasana) is a symbol of meditation and awakening. Like a lotus, a novice person is mired in the materiality of the world. But as she progresses in yoga, she has the opportunity to open up beautifully.

In this posture, the arrangement of the arms and legs evokes the petals of a lotus. This position calms the mind and awakens the divine energy that lies dormant within us.

Lotus mudra

The lotus mudra, to be done at the heart level, is excellent for helping us feel the warmth of existence. This mudra called the lotus flower opens our heart to universal love.

The lotus symbolizes the heart where the divine sits, as well as the chakras, which are also called the lotuses, or the wheels. The wheel is a stylized lotus, where everything starts from the center and returns to the center.

Arasia Shop offers you natural white lotus incense

And the mandala or lotus flower puzzle

And many other products on the theme of the lotus…