Jao Mae Guan Yin Temple

Jao Mae Guan Yin Temple

Tamnak Phra Mae Kuan-Im (‘Guan Yin Bodhisattva Hall’)

Map

Hours: Monday – Friday and Sunday 7AM – 7PM / Saturday 7AM – 9PM

Official Website / Video

This place is more of a tourist attraction than a venerable place of worship, but if you are interested in Buddhism, Chinese culture, architecture, photography, or sculpting, then this place should be right up your alley (or Chok Chai 4 Soi 39, also known as ‘Soi Jao Mae Guan Yin’ by Thai people).

The first site that you will notice from afar is the extravagant, 18-story pagoda. Upon entering this large, sculptural playground, you may find some familiar characters and deities from Buddhism or Chinese folk religion in the form of statues made from white jade stone — the Lord Buddha, Avalokitesvara, and more. There are 108 statues of Guan Yin in total, all in different postures.

The Guan Yin Bodhisattva Hall, built in 1988, was created based on the traditional Chinese belief that Guan Yin, traveled to “a deserted land” that called for a large shrine featuring 10,000 Buddha images to be constructed. This is why there are 10,000 Buddha images. The tall pagoda, known as Phra Maha Chedi Phra Phutthachao Muen Phra Ong (‘the Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas’), features colorful, Chinese-style murals depicting the lives of the Lord Buddha and Guan Yin, and is home to 10,000 Buddha images. (If you wish to know more, follow this link)

Guan Yin is an East Asian bodhisattva associated with compassion and venerated by Mahayana Buddhists. She has many other titles, including ‘Canon’ or “Goddess of Mercy and Compassion”. ‘Guan Yin’ in Chinese means “The One Who Perceives the Sounds of the World”.  In Thai, she is commonly referred to as ‘Jao Mae Guan Im’ (เจ้าแม่กวนอิม). Being who has sincere gratitude for her parents, she is best known as a symbol of gratitude. She teaches others to have gratitude for their mothers and fathers, who are givers of life.

The information given on the signs around the temple is limited, so it is recommended to either do  research before going in, or bring a device with Internet usage to research as you walk around in wonderment of the beautiful sculptures.

 

Perhaps this can just be a stop along your journey to reflect about gratitude for the people, animals, things, or opportunities in your own life.

Patongo Ruam Chok (Chai 4)

Patongo Ruam Chok (Chai 4)

Address

Open: Saturday, Sunday & Holidays from 7AM until approx. 8 or 8:30AM (or until they sell out)

If you are an early riser or have lived in Thailand for a bit, you are most likely familiar with ‘Patongo’, Chinese-style, deep-fried dough shaped like chromosomes, dunked in gooey condensed milk. This is a breakfast favorite for many Thais…and foreigners as well!

It tastes best when accompanied with warm soy milk or ‘cha nom yen’ (Thai tea). You can also dip this in ‘Sankaya’, a pandan-flavored pudding with Carnation milk. A greasy, not-so-nutritious treat but it definitely is delicious and crave-worthy!

Now, we have test-tasted many different ‘Patongo’ around Bangkok, but it seems that the best-tasting and best-selling award goes to a tiny, mom-and-pop shop right in our hood, Lad Phrao. This place is open only on Saturday and Sundays…It’s a family-run business, with two brothers actively rolling the literal dough and momma counting the figurative dough (taking care of the money).

If you are not an early riser, you will miss out on this but it is worth the sacrifice of sleep. The trick is to arrive at the storefront at around 7:15 AM and get a cue chip (in the form of a poker chip).  Then you can usually go do your veggie shopping at the nearby ‘Ruam Chok’ market for about 20 minutes while you wait for your fried goodie bag. People line up quickly and there is a very small window of opportunity to be granted with these delicacies. In fact, they are usually sold out by 8 or 8:30 AM. The early bird catches the worm!

The alternative to doing your grocery shopping would be to watch the action that ensues  in the creation of these golden fried puffs. The two brothers seem very serious and focused…It’s very difficult to break their flow but if you manage to do, they might share a smile with you. They have clearly been doing this for a long time, as they have a very efficient system to produce a great deal of Patongo in a short amount of time. Their chef hats and white t-shirts are usually soaked by the time they’re done, as they roll dough, fry, turn the dough over, let it cool/let the oil drip off, bag it, and finally — give it to the customer. They have a very large wok filled with a great deal of hot oil. The dough is cut into the same perfectly-sized logs, the Patongo, which are then tossed into the wok. They also have ‘Salapao’, which are large, dough, oval-shaped saucers. These are sweeter than Patongo, and do not usually need to be dipped in any kind of condiment. Both of them turn out to be not so oily (especially compared to other sellers). They are crispy and brown on the outside and soft and airy on the inside. Perfect with a hot cup of coffee (dunk if you dare!) or ‘khai luuak’ (a  cup of soft-boiled egg, topped with Thai pepper and Maggi seasoning sauce).

It is a treat to eat these breakfast delicacies. Just a warning, though, if you do venture out on a weekend morning to taste these Patongo, it will most likely ruin your experience eating it anywhere else. It’s very hard to compare!