Thai Green Papaya Salad – Som Tam ส้มตำ

“Som Tam” (Thai: ส้มตำ) is a very popular spicy Thai salad that is made from green papayas. Originally, Som Tum came from Laos but today this papaya salad is very popular in Isaan and everywhere else in Thailand. As a matter of fact, green papaya salad can be considered the Thai national dish! The basic ingedients for this salad are always the same. However, depending on the region, this salad might be seasoned differently. This papaya salad is most commonly eaten with sticky rice and different crudités (e.g. cucumber, lettuce). “Som Tum” literally means “sour pounded,” which makes sense considering the unripe papaya is kind of sour and to make it, you pound up all the ingredients with a pestle and mortar.

Som Tam Recipe

som tam, green papaya salad

Som Tam green papaya salad



  • 1 green papaya
  • 1 large carrot
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • 2-4 TSP peanuts
  • 1 pint of salt
  • 1-3 fresh red chillies (Prik Kee Noo Daeng) | พริกขี้หนูแดง
  • 2 lemons
  • 1-3 garlic gloves
  • 2 TSP palm sugar
  • 1-2 TSP fish sauce
  • optional green long beans
  • optional dried shrimps
  • optional tamarind paste
  • optional, you may want to use an appropriate clay mortar for making this salad. If you live in a Western country, you can get such a clay mortar in your local Asian supermarket. However, you can also use a large plastic bowl.

Som Tam ingredients

Som Tam ingredients (photo credit: Jens Timmermann)


Put the garlic cloves, the chillies and 1TSP peanuts in your clay mortar or bowl and mix them thoroughly together. Then add the fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar. If you want to add tamarind paste you may do this too. Continue mixing and mashing the ingredients together with a pestle until the palm sugar is completely resolved. Wash the green beans and cut them in 2 inch pieces. Put them in the mortar to your other ingredients and continue mash everything together. Peel the papaya and the carrot and cut them with a zick-zack peeler into fine stripes. Wash and cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters.

Put everything together with the rest of the peanuts and continue to mash everything together lightly. Finally, season your papaya salad with some more lime juice, salt and palm sugar. And you’re ready to serve!


Som Tam (photo credit: Jens Timmermann)


The following video by Rin Silpachai demonstrates comprehensively how to make this salad. Check this out, if you feel unsure about the preparation 😉

There is also a German version of this post on Som Tam available, check out my German partner website Hamburger-Thai-Kreis

Yours, Sirinya

(P.S. Please check out my Thai Food Dictionary for more information)


‘Baandam’: The Black House Museum by Thawan Duchanee

“In my imagination and dreams, time and space become one; they vibrate with an irrational quality attributable to the dream although I know they have the original beat of reality. Artwork is my love made visible; it represents everything in the infinite universe materialized through my imagination”  (Thawan Duchanee)

‘Baandam’ is the Black House Museum designed by Thai National Artist Thawan Duchanee (1939-2014). ‘Baandam’ is a complex of over 40 houses which are situated 10km north of Chiang Rai.

Thawan-DuchaneePicture of the artist Thawan Duchanee, from his site

Thawan Duchanee is a prominent representative of Thai and Asian art. He started his artistic education at the Poh Chang Arts and Crafts College. Thawan Duchanee then studied at Silpakorn University under the Italian painter Corrado Feroci (Silpa Bhilasri) who is known as the father of modern Thai art. Thawan Duchanee is also familiar with Western artistic traditions since he also studied at the Royal Academy of Visual Arts in Amsterdam.

Returning to Thailand, Thawan Duchanee developed a signature style of artistry using predominantly black and red tones. This is based on the styles of traditional Buddhist art and is supposed to symbolize the darkness immanent in humanity.

Black House Museum

Baandam Triple Building, Black House Museum

White Temple and Black House in Chiang Rai

Baandam Main Building‘Baandam’ main building*

Baandam Tiered Building‘Baandam’ tiered building* Baandam Tiered Roof Building‘Baandam’ tiered roof house*

This tendency is also reflected in the Black houses of ‘Baandam’ in Chiang Rai. Thus, the Black Houses are designed in different styles and what is special about them is that their colour is predominantly black. Hence, there are also some white buildings but their only function is to bring out the Black Houses even more distinctly. Most of the Black Houses of the ‘Baandam’ Museum serve as a kind of ‘showroom’ for various artefacts, curiosities and oddities.

Baandam Cylindrical Building‘Baandam’ cylindrical white building*

In fact, Thawan Duchanee’s estate is an interesting collection of bizarre, surreal structures including a zoo’s worth of animal skeletons 😉

Baandam Hides and Eggs‘Baandam’ collection of hides and eggs* Baandam On Skeletons‘Baandam’ On skeletons*

Nevertheless, ‘Baandam’ a special kind of museum because the objects and artefacts of the Black House Museum are all related to death, mortality and impermanence. In other words, one may also say that they highlight the negative side of nature.

Baandam Snake Skin‘Baandam’ snake skin* Baandam Skull and Egg‘Baandam’ skull and egg*

Hence, there are many skulls from different animals as well as skins (e.g. snake skins), hides, eggs and carvings of more traditional demons. In addition, ‘Baandam’ also has interesting furniture and special collectors’ pieces to offer.

Baandam Carved Facade‘Baandam’ carved façade* Baandam Carved Pillars‘Baandam carved pillars*

(*Photo credits: Anandajoti Bhikkhu)

I am very much impressed by Thawan Duchanee’s art and the Black House Museum in Chiang Rai, in particular. I think it is the mixture between traditionalism, curiosity and oddity and makes it so special. Considering Western artists, I think the Swiss surrealistic artist H.R.Giger would have loved ‘Baandam’ and its oddities!

Finally, I’d like to close this article by inserting this short video about ‘Baandam’, the Black House museum in Chiang Rai so that you can get some more impressions. In this video, Thawan Duchanee’s son Doi-tibet Duchanee explains something about the art and the intentions of his father. It’s worth watching! 🙂

Have you been to ‘Baandam’ and do you like this museum complex?

There is also a comprehensive book about Thawan Duchanee called ‘Modern Buddhist Artist’ written by Russell Marcus. Perhaps you’d like to check this out and my review to this book 🙂

Have fun exploring! And if you have the chance, visit ‘Baandam’ 🙂

Do you know that there is also a White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chiang Rai that serves as a kind of juxtaposition to the Black House museum? If you want to learn more, check it out here 🙂
Yours, Sirinya



Traditional Thai Dresses Part II

Following the first part of my article about traditional Thai dresses, I’d like to continue with the remaining four styles. In the previous post on traditionalistic Thai dresses I have presented the Thai Chakkri, Thai Boromphiman, Thai Siwalai and Thai Chakkraphat to you. Thus, I’d like to continue with the fifth one called Chut Thai Chitlada.

Traditional Thai Dresses

5. Chut Thai Chitlada

Chitlada is a daytime ceremonial dress. Hence, it is worn on formal occasions such as welcoming royal guests at the airport. The Chut Chitlada can be worn with a long sleeved buttoned silk blouse. The skirt (Pha-Noong) is a casual wrap skirt that has a brocaded band at the hem. It is not necessary to wear royal decorations with this style. However, the colour of the dress should be appropriate for the respective occasion.

thai chitraladaThai Chitlada dress*

6. Chut Thai Ruean Ton

The Chut Thai Ruean Ton is the most casual style of all eight traditional designs presented here. It is most often worn at non-official functions, for example for the religious ceremony of the conferring of royal offerings to the monks (Khtin ton). The Thai Ruan Ton comprises a collarless buttoned blouse and a striped or plain coloured skirt (Pha-Noong) with a patterned band at the hem. This is sometimes folded to one side. The Chut Ruean Ton is a two piece dress which means that the blouse and the skirt are separate.

thai ruean ton dressthai ruean ton dressThai Ruean Ton dresses*

7. Chut Thai Amarin

The Chut Amarin or Amarintra is a beautiful formal evening gown. It is made of brocaded fabric and ornaments. The blouse is usually round-necked and the skirt (Pha-Noong) is ankle length. With this style, royal decorations are worn. The Thai Amarin is a dress for an evening dinner or the Royal Birthday Procession.

thai amarin dressthai amarin dressThai Amarin dresses*

8. Chut Thai Dusit

Dusit is the most Western style of all eight traditional dresses presented here. It is a wide necked and sleeveless brocaded dress. The skirt and top are sown together so that they form a one piece dress. The Chut Thai Dusit can be worn for evening ceremonies in place of a Western style dress. For this kind of dress, Yok silk fabric is used. The Dusit can be either worn with Thai or Western style jewellery.

thai dusit dressqueen sirikit wearing thai dusit dress Thai Dusit dress & HM Queen Sirikit in Chut Thai Dusit around 1950*

I really enjoyed researching about Thai traditional dresses and since I have not been to the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles in Bangkok, this place is on my top priority list next time I have the chance to go there 🙂

Finally, I’d like to close this article with a picture of little me in a traditional dress 😉

Little Sirinya in traditional Thai dressThis is probably the casual Thai Ruean Ton style

I hope you enjoyed reading this post! Do you also like these dresses as much as I do?

Traditional Thai dresses

Traditional Thai dresses featured in this post (photo credit: bangkokpost.com)

In case, you’ve missed my first part of Thai traditional dresses, check this out here! Did you know that there is also a traditional make up look that goes well with traditional Thai dresses? What is more, it is also interesting to note that today the Siamese Fashionista group tries to encourage young Thais to dress traditionally.

Yours, Sirinya

(*All photos in this post are from the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles unless otherwise stated, a further source about traditional dresses in Thailand is here)


Thai Phanaeng Curry พะแนง

Phanaeng curry (พะแนง) is a Thai curry that is quite easy to make because you only need few ingredients. What is more, the curry paste (Khrueang Kaeng) consists of dried chilli peppers, lemongrass, galangal, coriander roots and seeds, garlic, cumin seeds, shrimp paste and salt. Sometimes this curry paste also includes peanuts and shallots.

If you live in a Western country, you may buy the curry paste at your local Asian supermarket.

You can prepare this dish with any kind of meat that you prefer (e.g. beef, pork, chicken, shrimp) or if you are a vegetarian or vegan you can take tofu instead. You will further need coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, palm sugar (or regular brown or white sugar), fish and oyster sauce and your respective curry paste.

Phanaeng Curry


Phaneang Curry only with vegetables (photo: Sirinya Pakditawan)

Phaneang Curry only with vegetables (photo: Sirinya Pakditawan)

Vegetarians and vegans may also want to replace the shrimp paste for Kapi Chae and the fish sauce may be substituted by soy sauce.

thai basilThai basil

Thai Phanaeng curry contains thick, creamy coconut milk and is usually eaten with rice in Thailand.

Here is a list of ingredients that you will need for this dish:

  • 2TSP (Palm) Sugar
  • 1TSP Fish sauce
  • 1TSP Oyster Sauce
  • 2TSP red curry paste
  • 2TSP Vegetable oil
  • 8TSP Coconut milk
  • 500g Meat (eg. chicken, pork, beef, shrimp) or tofu
  • 10Leaves Thai basil
  • 6Leaves kaffir lime
  • 3Chilies

The following video is very comprehensive and easy to follow. Thus, it will show you how to make this curry easily.

Recently, my father prepared this red curry with chicken for me. This is how it looked like:

homemade phanaeng curryphanaeng curryHomemade Thai Phanaeng curry (photo: Sirinya Pakditawan)

In fact, there is very much pepper on top of my curry but this is only for me because I prefer to have some vegetables in my dish 😉 Usually, you only take few pepper to decorate your curry as shown in the photos above.

Hence, have fun trying Thai Phanaeng curry and check out my Thai Food Dictionary for more general information!

Yours, Sirinya


Happy Chinese New Year in Thailand!

Chinese New Year is a very popular festivity in Thailand because there are many people with Chinese ancestors in Thailand. In point of fact, over half of ethnic Thai today are descendants of people who migrated from southern China about 1,000 years ago (source: Wikipedia). In Thai, Chinese New Year is called ‘Wan dtrut jiin’ and it is also known as the Spring Festival.

This year, New Year is on 19th February, this is when the year of the goat begins. The festivities last for five days from 17th to 21st February.

The year of the goat is supposed to be a harmonious and calm year. In fact, I was born in the year of the goat 😉 Hence, I hope this will be a lucky, harmonic and successful year for me too!

Chinese New Year

goat-year chinese new yearYear of the goat

Centre of the New Year festivities in Thailand are Chinatown on Yaowarat Road in Bangkok, Phuket Town and Chiang Mai.

chinese new year thailandLions in front of Siam Paragon Bangkok

Celebrations in Thailand & ‘Lions’ in front of Siam Paragon in Bangkok (photo credit: Bangkok Post)

Traditionally, families clean their houses in order to get rid of any misfortune so that there can be a fresh start into the new year. Hence, they make way for incoming luck. This is also known as ‘Spring cleaning’.

On the eve, families have supper together and feast on Chinese dishes and delicacies like duck, chicken, pork and sweets. The night is ended with fireworks and on the following morning, children greet their parents by wishing them a happy new year. The children will then receive the so-called lucky money in red envelopes which are called ‘Ang Pao’.

Lucky money, red envelopeRed envelope for lucky money

Usually, the married people will give money to the unmarried who are mostly younger people and children.

During the New Year celebrations in Thailand, the Dragon and the Lion dance are the most popular highlights. In particular, the Dragon is supposed to bring good luck since the Dragon is believed to posses qualities like power, fertility, dignity and wisdom. Thus, the longer the dancing Dragon is, the more luck and power it brings to people.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) invites everyone this year to visit Chinatown in order to celebrate the Lunar New Year at Yaowarat.  The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration wants people to learn about the history of Yaowarat road on 19th and 20thFebruary 2015. Tomorrow, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will preside over the opening ceremony at Chalermphrakiat Gate, Odeon Circle, Yaowarat Road.

chinese new year thailanddragon chinese new year tourism authority of Thailand

Dragon Dance (photo credit: Tourism Authority of Thailand) 

Finally, I’d like to round off my post by sharing with you a recipe on how to make Rice Cakes for this occasion 🙂

Along these lines, I wish you all a very happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai!  (‘I wish you wealth’)

By the way, the Thai New Year (Songkran) takes place in April 🙂



Traditional Thai Dresses Part I

Ever since I was little, I have been fascinated by the amazingly gorgeous traditional Thai dresses. The Thai national or traditional dress is called ‘Chut Thai phra ratcha niyom’ (ชุดไทยพระราชนิยม) in Thai which means ‘Thai dress of royal endorsement’. This kind of dress (chut Thai) is commonly worn on formal occasions as national costume.

traditional dresses at Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles

Traditional Thai dresses at the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles, Bangkok, Thailand*

Today we can distinguish between eight different styles of Thai national dresses. They are said to have originated in the mid 20th century. In fact, when HM Queen Sirikit accompanied the King in state visits to Western countries in 1960, she realized the need for a modern national costume. Thus, Queen Sirikit had research conducted concerning historical records of royal dresses. Consequently, eight official designs were developed and also promoted by HM Queen Sirikit herself.

I will focus on traditional (national) Thai dresses for women but of course there are also national attire for men. I have divided this article into two parts, simply because there is so much material and information. Hence, I think it is better to have smaller ‘bites’ 😉

Traditional Thai dresses

Traditional Thai dresses featured in this post (photo credit: bangkokpost.com)

Traditional Thai Dresses

1. Chut Thai Chakkri

Chut Thai Chakkri is a very formal and elegant dress. This kind of garment is usually produced by using the Yok weaving technique. A special feature of the Yok weaving method is that it creates additional thickness within the fabrics without adding extra threads. In the Chakkri Style, the ‘Pha-Sin’, that is the ‘Pha-Noong’ or skirt, is a full length wrap skirt. This skirt has two pleated folds in front which are called ‘Na- Nang’.

chakkri style Thai dresschakkri style Thai dressChakkri style dresses*

Traditional Thai dress, Chakkri (photo credit: Amat Nimitpark)

Traditional Thai dress, Chakkri (photo credit: Amat Nimitpark)

2. Chut Thai Boromphiman

Like Thai Chakkri, Thai Boromphiman is also a formal evening attire. It can be worn in formal ceremonies and royal functions. The Boromphiman comprises a long sleeved round necked buttoned blouse which is tucked beneath the ankle length ‘Pha-Noong’ skirt with its front pleats (‘Na-Nang’). The blouse and the skirt are sown together so that they form a one piece traditional dress. The Boromphiman is made of brocaded fabrics in order to create a very luxurious appearance.

thai boromphiman dressthai boromphiman dressBoromphiman dresses*

3. Chut Thai Siwalai

The Thai Siwalai is a formal evening gown similar to the Boromphiman and the Chakkri. The only difference between these Thai traditional dresses is that the Siwalai has a shawl draped over the long- sleeved blouse. This shawl is also called ‘sbai’ in Thai. Chut Thai Siwalai is worn in royal ceremonies and other formal occasions. By the way, the term siwalai was derived from the English word ‘civilized’.

thai siwalai dressqueen sirikit in thai siwalai dress

Thai Siwalai dress & HM Queen Sirikit in Thai Siwalai dress around 1950*

4. Chut Thai Chakkraphat

First of all, it is important to mention that ‘Chakkraphat’ means emperor in Thai language. Hence, Thai Chakkraphat is an official and conservative traditional dress with a shawl similar to Chakkri. Nevertheless, it appears even more put together than the Thai Chakkri dress because the shawl is thicker, richly embroidered and decorated with beautiful ornaments. It can be worn in royal or national ceremonies.

thai chakraphat, thai traditional dress of queen sirikit of thailandthai chakkraphat dress

Thai Chakkraphat dresses*

In the following part, I will feature the remaining four styles of traditional Thai dresses. Hence, stay tuned if you like these amazingly beautiful garments! Or click here to check it out immediately 🙂 It is also interesting to note that today the Siamese Fashionista group tries to encourage young Thais to dress traditionally.

Yours, Sirinya

(*All photos in this post are from the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles unless otherwise stated, a further source about traditional dresses in Thailand is here)

Sirinya Ann’s Atelier: Art & Crafts

Maybe you’ve already noticed that I have a small handicraft shop here called ‘Sirinya Ann’s Atelier’. I’ve started this shop at DaWanda about two years ago and have added some articles from time to time since then. Everything you find in this store is handcrafted by myself 🙂

For instance, here are some of my handcrafted items:

Sirinya Ann's Atelier: collar necklace with Thai fabric

Sirinya Ann’s Art Atelier: collar necklace with Thai fabric

Clutch decorated with Thai fabric, Sirinya Ann's Atelier

Clutch decorated with Thai fabric, Sirinya Ann’s Atelier

Collar necklace with Thai brocade Sirinya Ann's Atelier

Collar necklace with Thai brocade Sirinya Ann’s Atelier

Hair barrette made from Thai brocade, Sirinya Ann's Atelier

Hair barrette made from Thai brocade, Sirinya Ann’s Atelier

Sirinya Ann’s Atelier

In my shop you find extravagant and extraordinary accessories, hair accessories, fascinators and jewellery made from Thai fabic, silk, brocade, satin, pearls, rhinestones or other similar materials. The fabrics are chosen with care and most of them I bring with me from my travels to Thailand. Sometimes opulent or sometimes subtle, my products have an extraorinary exotic touch.
From time to time, I also offer Vintage articles in my shop.

You see, I very much enjoy crafting accessories and jewellery with traditional Thai fabric simply because the material is so special and extraordinary.

Hairband with Thai brocade appliques

Hairband with Thai brocade appliques

collar necklace made from Thai fabric, brocade from Sirinya Ann's Atelier

Collar necklace made from Thai fabric, brocade from Sirinya Ann’s Atelier

Recently, I’ve also tried to do some decoupage art using copies of Chakrabhand Posayakrit’s marvellous paintings. In my tribute to this Thai artist, I’ve already shown you some of my decoupage art.

Decoupage art with image by Chakrabhand Posayakrit, Sirinya Ann's Atelier

Decoupage art with image by Chakrabhand Posayakrit

Decoupage art with image by Chakrabhand Posayakrit

Decoupage art with Buddha image by Chakrabhand Posayakrit

At the moment I have discontinued my shop but if there is any interest, please let me know in the comments and I will reopen Sirinya Ann’s Atelier at DaWanda or Etsy 🙂

Yours, Sirinya

Happy Valentine’s Day!

14th February is a special day because it’s Valentine’s Day, a day of love and harmony. If you ask yourself if this special day for lovers is only a ‘Western matter’ or whether it is also popular in Thailand, you can be sure that the celebrations in Thailand beats Valentine celebrations in the Western world by far.

In point of fact, 14th February festivity for lovers is extremely popular in Thailand, it’s celebrated enthusiastically and passionately. Hence, a lot of time and money is spent for this day and you may also critically say that it is a commercial ‘thing’ over there. In particular, teenager and young people like to exchange presents with their loved ones and they often like to go to a romantic dinner in the evening.

Valentine’s Day Celebrations

Valentine's Day Tree (photo: Johntex, wikimedia.org)

Valentine’s Day Tree (photo: Johntex, wikimedia.org)

It is the time when guys give beautiful flower bouquets, chocolates and other kinds of sweets to their love.

However, not only teenagers but also adults very much enjoy Valentine’s special Day celebrations in Thailand. Thus, exchanging gifts on this day has become a tradition in Thailand.

Valentine's Day gifts in thailandSelling gifts for lovers in Thailand

Thai flower bouquet for Valentine's Day

Thai flower bouquet

On 14th February, shopping malls are beautifully decorated to suit Valentine’s Day and its setting of love and harmony.

In the malls, there are also stalls which sell flowers, sweets, toys and heart shaped balloons on this special day.

In addition, and this is an interesting and fun fact, many couples like to get married on Valentine’s Day in Thailand. Thus, on this day many couples go to the municipal offices in Bangkok’s district of Bang Rak (บางรัก) in order to register their marriages. In fact, Bang Rak means the ‘love district’ (‘Rak’ is the Thai word for love, to love). As a matter of fact, the Bang Rak district office gives 12 gold marriage certificates to 12 fortunate couples who register their marriage at the district office on 14th February.

Suiting the this day’s theme, I’d like to feature a new song by theBOYKOR. It’s called ‘The Wedding Singer’.

Along these lines, I wish you all a very happy Valentine’s Day wherever you are!

Yours, Sirinya

Thai Dessert: Bananas in Coconut Milk (Kluai Buad Chi) กล้วยบวชชี


Kluai Buad Chi (กล้วยบวชชี), bananas in coconut milk, is the first Thai dessert that I’ve ever prepared for myself because it’s very easy to make and you only need a few ingredients.

My first try on banana dessert in coconut milk (Kluai Buad Chi) did not turn out perfect since my coconut milk was to thick and creamy. Hence, the dessert was too thick and the bananas could not move in there 😉
This was because I only had the creamy part of the coconut milk but not the watery part of it.

Well, let me tell you something more about Kluai Buad Chi, (‘Kluai’ is the Thai word for banana): First of all, it can be considered a very common Thai dessert that is completely vegan.

Bananas in coconut milk

thai dessert: bananas in coconut milk

Thai dessert: bananas in coconut milk (photo credit: Pinterest)

This Thai bananas in coconut milk dessert is usually made with a special type of banana, most commonly small (baby) bananas are used. The banana type used for this dessert is called ‘kluay nam wa’ (musa sapientum). However, you can also use other types of sweet banana for this recipe. Further, you will of course need coconut milk, brown or white sugar as you prefer, a pint of salt and a pandan leaf but this last ingredient is optional.

First, you need to shortly cook the bananas in water (approx. 10 min) and then peel and cut them. Then you prepare the coconut milk and add about a cup of sugar (a bit more or less as you like) and your pint of salt. You can also add a pandan leaf for good taste and aroma but this is optional. Then add your bananas into the pot and let cook with the coconut milk for about 10 minutes. Finally, add the creamy part of the coconut milk. And you’re ready to serve!

Homemade bananas in coconutmilk (photo taken by myself)

Homemade bananas in coconutmilk (photo taken by myself)

I’d like to round this post off by inserting a very nice video on how to make our Thai dessert Kluai Buad Chi, bananas in coconut milk.

It’s by Alif Silpachai who has an interesting and inspiring Thai linguistics and language YouTube channel. Thus, if you are a learner of Thai, you can also learn some Thai words here while preparing your easy Thai dessert!

Check this out and have fun making Kluai Buad Chi! By the way, if you’ve acquired a taste for bananas and coconut now, you may also want to try a Thai style smoothie with bananas, coconut & pineapple 😉


(For more information about Thai desserts, check out my Thai Food Dictionary)

John Thomson: Pictures of Old Siam

“His [Thomson’s] photographic style can be perceived from the beauty of his works. Back then when all he had was natural light, he still managed to get the beautiful photographs”

(Paisarn Piemmettawat, the exhibition’s organizer’s assistant)

John Thomson: the crown prince of Siam (Rama V)

John Thomson photography: the crown prince of Siam (Rama V)

John Thomson Photography

Recently I’ve come across an interesting article in the Bangkok Post. It is about a photo exhibition of the Scot J. Thomson, born in 1837, who was one of the first photographers in the Far East.

young Siamese prince

A young Siamese prince

The National Gallery on Chao Fah Road in Bangkok now shows 60 of Thomson’s black and white photos of old Siam. These photos were taken in 1865 – 1866. The exhibition is called “Siam Through The Lens Of John Thomson”. It started on 10. January and runs until 28. February 2015. You have free entry to this exhibition.

Siamese nobleman Racha Chaya

Siamese nobleman Racha Chaya

The photographer arrived in Bangkok on 28. September 1865. Thus, the exhibition marks the 150th year since his arrival in Siam.

Siamese Buddhist bonze.

Portrait of a Siamese monk, 1865

While staying in Siam after living and travelling some other places in Asia like Ceylon and Malaysia, Thomson took photos of the King of Siam, members of the royal court but also of ordinary people. Hence, he also documented village life.

L0055805 Siamese boatman, Siam [Thailand].

A Siamese boatman with his oar.


siamese teenager with topknot

A Siamese youth with traditional topknot

What is special about Thomson is that he was the first (Western) photographer to be allowed into the Grand Palace and to take photos of King Mongkut, Rama IV. The King was very much impressed with his skill of taking photos.


King Mongkut, Rama IV, in European attire, 1865


L0055542 The 1st King of Siam, King Mongkut, in state robes, Bangkok

King Monkut in traditional Thai attire and regalia of royalty, 1865

Hence, there is a very special picture of a procession taken in front of Wat Pho because the situation was that the King called everyone to stay still so that Thomson could take photos of this event. In fact, this is a rare picture of a historical moment that displays the greatness of Thai tradition.

king of siam and procession

The king and his procession in front of Wat Pho

What is more, Thomson also took photos of the city of Bangkok and Ayutthaya.

the chao phraya river as seen from the main spire of Wat Arun

The Chaophraya river viewed from Wat Arun


The pictures in this post are all taken from the Wellcome Library, London. They also have more photos of Thomson’s travel to other parts of East Asia.

Well, the exhibition is over but there is now a new book called ‘Siam Through the Lens of John Thomson’ published by River Books. If you are interested in history, old Siam and John Thomson’s photography, I strongly recommend you check out this work 🙂

Yours, Sirinya