Tieland to Thailand

Quit Your Job – Sell Your Stuff – Travel Abroad

"We spent last year selling everything and paying off thousands in consumer debt, planning our wedding, and ultimately figuring a way out of the daily nine to five. Twelve months later here we are living a truly free and location-independent lifestyle, currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand"

Monk Blessing Ceremony in Thailand

Monk Blessing Ceremony

We were delighted to be invited to a traditional Thai monk blessing ceremony as the 2013 year came to a close. This celebration was on behalf of our good friend, Bee, who runs a guesthouse and restaurant in Chiang Mai. It was the first Thai ceremony we experienced since coming to Thailand, and we were honored to be included among family and other friends for this personal event.

While this type of ceremony is not typically held on birthdays, our friend chose to combine her birthday with a blessing of her guesthouse for the upcoming New Year. Bee was dressed up and wore a modernized Thai traditional outfit for this occasion.

Be Beez Birthday in Chiang MaiShe and her family had been up early preparing for the ceremony, cooking food for the guests and setting up the guesthouse entryway with a traditional Thai altar featuring a Buddha statue with candles and flowers.

The Monk Blessing Ceremony Begins

The monk blessing ceremony began promptly at 10am and was performed in the open-aired first floor area of Be Beez Cafe & Guesthouse. Five Thai Buddhists monks lined up against one wall beside the altar. Friends and family knelt on straw mats across from the monks while Bee knelt in front of the altar.

View of a buddhist monk blessing ceremonyCandles were lit for the Buddha, and everyone waiied and bowed their heads slightly as the monks began their rhythmic chanting. The monks held a white string in between their hands, which was wrapped around a candle that dripped wax into a bowl of holy water.

Beginning of the Monk Blessing Ceremony

The chanting continued for twenty minutes. Afterwards, Bee and her family members presented small gifts to the monks, including fresh flowers and the auspicious saffron robes they are renowned for wearing.

Making Offerings to the Monks at the Buddhist CeremonyThe monks performed the last bit of the ceremony by presenting small dishes of holy water to Bee and her family. The five monks sprinkled the holy water onto each person, and the remaining holy water was sprinkled around the guesthouse, as the monks wished Bee happiness and good fortune for her business in the upcoming year.

Buddhist Holy Water for Blessings

Ceremonial Feast

At the conclusion of the monk blessing ceremony, Bee gave thanks to the Buddha by offering a small dish of food. The monks were also presented with a table laden with Thai food as thanks for their services.

Feeding of the Monks

There were traditional Thai dishes, included grilled river fish and snakehead fish, lemongrass seafood soup, pork soup, spicy papaya salad, sweet and sour fish and vegetables, and a Northern Thai “soufflé” of spices, egg, and seafood. For dessert we were served fresh fruit and rice flour noodles in sweetened coconut milk.

Bee used this time to open her birthday presents and take pictures with everyone who had joined in the event.

As the monks were being sent off to the temple in a songthaew, everyone helped themselves to food, which was laid out on the straw mats where the ceremony was held.

Thai Buddhist Monks in a Songthaew

Feasting After the Monk Blessing Ceremony

Wishing You Good Luck and Happiness

Thank you, Bee, for inviting us to the monk blessing ceremony of your guesthouse and restaurant! We also wish you good luck and happiness this year, and happy birthday, too!


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Chris and Angela sold everything, paid off their debt, and left behind the nine-to-five lifestyle in the US. Today they live as full time expats in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Subscribe to their weekly Thailand Vlogs on Youtube! To see a full list of their blog posts all in one place check out the Archives. For more frequent updates follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

  • Hillary @ Life With Luggage says:

    Such a cool opportunity! I’m going to Thailand for the second time this March but it will be my first time in Chang Mai (or Chang Rai — can’t decide yet!).

    January 5, 2014 at 11:59 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Thanks. We’re lucky to have a friend who would ask to be part of a special day like that.

      If you want to go to chiang Rai, we’ve been told that it is what Chiang Mai used to be like about 15 or 20 years ago. If you want a slower-paced place to visit with less foreigners, and if you are comfortable interacting with people who generally don’t speak much English, then check it out. It’s about three and half hours from Chiang Mai.

      January 5, 2014 at 3:41 PM
  • Dale says:

    What a fantastic way to bring in a new year! I’m sure it’ll make your memories even brighter to know that certain people (maybe us, maybe) were in bed and almost asleep when midnight came around. No joke.

    January 4, 2014 at 3:37 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      We thought this ceremony was a great way to bring in the New Year, too! Our friend makes it a habit every year to do the monk blessing for her business.

      January 5, 2014 at 4:12 PM
  • Emily Shea says:

    What an amazing experience. Great photos, thanks for bringing us along for the ceremony. =) Happy New Year!

    January 3, 2014 at 12:07 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Happy New Year to you, too! We are lucky to have a good friend who asked us to share in her special day :)

      January 3, 2014 at 7:14 PM
  • Vince says:

    Enjoyed this post very much. Happy New Year Chris and Angela. Sending Best Wishes to Bee also. We’ve been in Chiang Mai just over 2 days and are loving it. Maybe we could meet at Be Beez after the New Year’s craziness is over for a bite to eat and a visit. Would love to check out one of your favorite places.

    December 31, 2013 at 6:53 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Thank you, Vince. We absolutely need to get together while you all are in town. We are so glad that Chiang Mai is living up to your expectation. Talk soon :)

      December 31, 2013 at 1:40 PM
  • Mark D says:

    Pretty awesome. Haha i jump on here everyday waiting for a new post, i cant wait to travel and see the world.

    December 31, 2013 at 3:16 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Thank you Mark! We took a bit of a break this month to enjoy the holidays. Full steam ahead in the new year. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      December 31, 2013 at 3:22 AM
  • rogerlucr says:

    Happy New Year. Lovely photos of an authentic ceremony. Let us know the name of her guest house and if she has a website so we can make reservations. Cheers!

    December 31, 2013 at 1:38 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Thanks, Roger! Happy New Year to you too. Her guesthouse is called Be Beez Cafe & Guesthouse. Unfortunately she isn’t accepting online reservations in the high season due to frequent no-shows, but you can call prior to your trip.

      December 31, 2013 at 1:49 AM

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