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Ward Off Evil at Ta Prachan Amulet Market in Bangkok

Published by Mary Chong, Writer

Country: Thailand

The Experience

Religious amulets, charms, figures and talismans are sold throughout the streets of Thailand, and the largest concentration of these can be found at the Bangkok's Amulet Market. The entrance to Ta Prachan Amulet Market is well hidden, and there are no signs, so look for the crowds of people at the stalls located in a long and narrow alley across from Wat Mahathat, between Thalon Maharat and the Chao Phraya River.

As you walk through Bangkok's Amulet Market, there are stalls on both sides of the alley displaying their wares. Along the way, you will see “experts” examining the amulets with loupes (jeweller’s eyepieces) to see the quality of each piece.

Amulets, known as pra and talismans, known as kreung rang, come in all shapes, styles, sizes and budgets. Amulets bear the depiction of many famous monks, and talisman reflect a range of holy symbols such as Buddhas, elephants, monkeys and buffalos. Each individual amulet and talisman has a different function for its owner: To either bring a specific kind of luck, or to ward off a specific type of evil. For this reason, it is very common to see multiple amulets worn around the neck of the many superstitious Thais throughout Bangkok.

The power of each amulet lies within the amulet itself, and lives beyond the lifespan of the current wearer. As a result, some amulets can be quite old and are either handed down between generations of a single family, or are sold to the next lucky wearer.

Some amulets have been blessed or created by significant monks, and thus are more valuable and rare. Amulets with a history of protection, warding off evil or saving lives also increases price. They even possess certificates of authenticity to show their pedigree. Price varies accordingly, beginning as low as few dollars for an amulet by an amateur monk, to thousands for something from a revered monk. There is great competition among the sellers to have a highly valued, rare piece in their collection for sale.

The Bangkok Amulet Market is a great tourist spot to visit, and the local Thais take their amulets and their amulet shopping quite seriously. In view of this, treat the amulets and the experience with respect. It’s quite obvious that the rare and valuable amulets in the closely guarded display cases are meant for the locals. The more inexpensive ones are piled on top of each other in plastic bins on tables for the tourists.

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Puzzle

When to Go to Amulet Market

The Ta Prachan Amulet Market is open daily, but Sunday is the busiest day to visit.

June to October is rainy season in Bangkok, and there could be some flooding. The best time of year to visit Bangkok in generally is November to February as the temperature isn’t as hot as the rest of the year.

Odds n' Ends

Food vendors are located at the far end of Ta Prachan Amulet Market closest to the river.

If you should see a monk at the Amulet Market, be careful not to touch or even brush against their robe, as this is not allowed.

Don’t be dismayed if you can’t find a “blessed” amulet you like, you can always request to have a monk bless your amulet the next time you visit a temple.

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Language Guides

Japanese , Lao , Malay , Mandarin , Thai , Vietnamese are some of the languages spoken in Thailand. If you know of a freely available phrase book or podcast for one of the missing languages, let us know!


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