Born as a Monkey? Go That Phanom!

If you happen to be born in the Year of the Monkey you want to go to Wat Phra That Phanom in Nakhon Phanom, North-East Thailand, at least once in your life to earn merit and good luck. It is most auspicious when done in the Zodiac year of your birth.
(Go check here:

The Thai Zodiac is very closely related to the 12 well-known Chinese star signs. Just that the dragon is replaced by a large snake and in Northern Thailand an elephant may be used in place of the Chinese sign for the pig. (The Vietnamese by the way exchange the rabbit for a cat. Just so you know.)

In Thailand each sign of the Zodiac is officially connected to a certain temple, most of them located in the North of the country, where the tradition is particularly strong. These temples are not your ordinary place of worship: Each of them has a distinct association with the Lord Buddha. They usually keep a relic and / or claim the Buddha had come along himself some 2560+ years ago, even founded the temple.

That Phanom is said to house a relic from a chest bone of the Buddha. Moreover the great That (=Stupa or Chedi) is highly revered not only all over Thailand but also by Lao pilgrims. Legend has it that a stupa in this location was built a mere eight years after the death of the Lord Buddha. More likely is the opinion of a couple of archeologists who date a first structure in Khmer style between the 7th to 9th centuries AD. It has undergone multiple renovations and restorations since.

Either way: It is old, it is cherished and it carries a beauty beyond what the refined architecture reveals. Devout Buddhists come here to sit and meditate in every possible corner of the compound and the walls are echoing the vibration of this dedicated practice.

Although busy at all times of the day it is a serene place to just be and come to calm and peace within. The early morning hours as well as the transition from day to night, when the illumination of the compound starts, holds a magic only few places offer.

For your own Thai Zodiac pilgrimage chose one of the following temples:
Year of the Rat: Wat Phrathat Sri Chom Tong, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Year of the Ox: Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang, Lampang, Thailand
Year of the Tiger: Wat Phrathat Chohae, Phrae, Thailand
Year of the Rabbit: Wat Phrathat Chaehaeng, Nan, Thailand
Year of the Dragon: Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Year of the Snake: Wat Jed Yod, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Year of the Horse: Schwedagon Pagoda, Rangoon, Myanmar
Year of the Ram: Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Year of the Monkey: Wat Phrathat Nakorn Panom, Nakorn Panom, Thailand
Year of the Rooster: Wat Phrathat Haripunchai, Lamphun, Thailand
Year of the Dog: Wat Kedkaraam, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Year of the Pig: Wat Phrathat Doi Tung, Chiang Rai, Thailand

More about the Thai Zodiac:

Since for many people the temple for their Zodiac sign is too far to visit, Wat Ban Den in Kru Ba Tuang has now become some kind of joker temple: It contains stupas for all 12 star signs for the  for pilgrims: 

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