Goddess Tubtim Shrine

Tucked behind the Nai Lert Hotel, alongside the San Saeb canal and underneath an ancient ficus tree, lies a shrine dedicated to the goddess Tubtim.  Originally a spirit house, the place where the spirit of the land (who was disrupted by your building on it) would reside, the shrine evolved over time into an unintentional fertility shrine as more and more worshipers brought offerings of phalluses.  Ranging from the symbolic to the highly realistic, the collection fills the area around the shrine.

While my friend David and Chor Pharn were visiting from Singapore, we stopped by for a look.  Here’s a short video to give you a sense of the setting.


A healthy selection of phallus-shaped offerings left around the largest ficus tree at the shrine.  The irony is, sex toys are illegal in Thailand so if you were to try to bring a legitimate dildo into the country, you would be stopped.  By highly realistic phalluses for the purpose of spirit worship?  That’s okay.


Some of these phalluses are quite detailed.  And at least one has studs in it, perhaps representing the Folsom Street Fair community?


Normally, spirit houses have some small sculptural figures meant to represent both the spirits as well as those who are there to entertain and serve them.  So many figures have been added that they are arranged on two adjacent shelves.  You can see the San Saeb canal in the background.


The figures include representation of parents as well as a host of animals.


Also, there are more than 100 traditional Thai dancers to keep the spirits entertained.


And, inexplicably, a pair of male dolls.  Barbie’s gay brother Eric and his lover Stephen?  The women on the upper shelf are all ladies in waiting.


Who’s living in the spirit house?  I spy a kitten!


This one seems to have a fungal infection.  Experiencing any itching or burning sensation?


On a tangential note, I thought I’d share this picture of the jasmine garlands that are sold by local flower vendors.  These are the types of garlands that Tawn and Chor Pharn were trying to make in this entry.


0 thoughts on “Goddess Tubtim Shrine

  1. Oh, my! I’ve never seen one with a fungal infection! What an interesting spot! Cute baby cat found a napping place!ps. Is this place near that Nai Lert Swiss Hotel where they found David Carradine?

  2. Omg… get some antibiotics out for that thing (*cringes and crosses legs*).- love the kitten in the spirit house, I hope it’s safe in there – farang dolls in the collection – how interesting- I can’t help but notice all the collection are cut. How odd… I wonder why.- I now have this urge to whittle some wood. (that didn’t come out right…)

  3. I hope the kitten is ok… This was a very interesting post, Chris… I find it fascinating what people will do in the name of “religion” (any religion!). By the way, why are sex toys illegal?

  4. LOLOL…I am sorry Chris but this one takes the cake!!! I am almost relieved to say that I didn’t stumble upon this particular spirit house while we lived there. My favorite….the little kitty in the spirit house of course….and I did have one thought…the “highly realistic phallic symbol …we have drugs at our pharmacy that I almost certain would help with that…it looks really really PAINFUL!!! I love your little scenic tours of Thailand…this one…especially entertaining!!! Ruth Ann

  5. @murisopsis –  The young servant girl who falls in love and runs away from the palace is named Tubtim, a common name that means “ruby”.@Passionflwr86 – Being a Buddhist nation, Thailand is a very moralistic society. We can’t buy alcohol from 2-5pm, for example, because that’s when children are leaving school and there’s the thought that if alcohol is available for sale they might somehow start drinking. Another example, if a student gets pregnant she gets kicked out of school and is not allowed to go back after the pregnancy. The rationale? The threat of not being able to complete her education should be enough to keep her from fooling around. The list goes on and on. There is a prohibition on bringing sex toys into the country but there are hundreds of “Turkish baths” (basically, houses of prostitution) frequented by Thai men and it is not uncommon for men to have “minor wives” and mistresses.@ElusiveWords – Whittle away… :S As to your other question, I’m not sure they are all that way. Perhaps that pulled back?@beowulf222 – One word: “ointment”@Redlegsix – Glad you enjoyed. Was worried about offending delicate sensibilities.@awoolham – The kitten was very cute. Didn’t seem too friendly, though.@Fatcat723 – Hard to say how effective the shrine is but would imagine that if it wasn’t effective, it wouldn’t have earned the reputation.@CurryPuffy – Correct, Swissotel (formerly Hilton) Nai Lert Hotel on Wireless Road near Petchaburi.

  6. This was funny Chris. That is one huge fungal infection if I’ve seen any! Again, I can smell the fragrance of the jasmines here. Thank you for posting the garlands.

  7. -> The farang gay couple is oddly interesting. -> Why are they all cut? -> The fungal infection is so creepy!!!-> Sex toys are banned? In a country known for it “ping pong shows”?

  8. @Dezinerdreams – Matt had those questions, too.  I think maybe they are not cut, but just… ahem… pulled back?  As for the sex toys being banned, this is a nation that identifies as a very moralistic, Buddhist country and (theoretically) things that might corrupt those morals are banned.  That said, there are obviously some blind eyes being turned.

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