Bangkok may sometimes be a bit overwhelming and to some folk it can be seen as another bland, grubby city.
Okay, so B K is not neat and twee. Yet it really isn't that dirty either... try and spot as much litter as you would see in the usual English tourist destination. And within the size of the tower slab blocks going up there is always some detail and interest going on. You only need to switch from 50mm seeing to 100mm macro lens appreciation.
So treat a wander in Bangkok like a walk through the jungle. At the start all you think you can see are leaves. But when your eye gets in you begin to open up and tune into the orchids and smaller animals that surround you (and are about to bite you and give you malaria or a tropical disease or ebola or whatever you get in a tropical jungle). Spirit Houses are the city's equivalent of the rain forest orchid. These are modern style reference to ancestor worship outside Bangkok's largest antique centre at River City.
This can be seen as part of the Urban Stroll around the area shown in the tip with the map, shown at the beginning of this section
Assuming you've already made it to the Siam Society you may have noticed this Spirit House in the grounds, on your left as you enter. The breadth and depth of design variations on the Thai Spirit Houses, that all properties have placed in their grounds, is a nifty little insight into the domestic architecture found around and about the Kingdom..
One interesting point about spirit houses is that there are two key themes. You may see two spirit houses right next to each other. One is higher than the other and is supported on one pillar. The other is lower (!) and is supported by four pilotti, pillars. The first is for the sky / heaven bound spirits and is effectively floating in the air. The four legged job is for earth bound spirits, hence it's link to the ground, and oftn has steps leading up to the front. The lower level one also tends to be a bit "granny flat" second rate versus the higher job. Reflecting the lower status of the earth bound crew.
The one you have here is the heaven bound version...
Hidden behind the Swissotel Nai Lert Park in Bangkok is a small shrine known as Chao Mae Tuptim, or Goddess Tuptim Shrine. The shrine contains a typical Thai spirit house, shaded by several large trees and situated beside a canal. What makes this shrine unique, as well as infamous, is that it contains several dozen wooden phalluses of various sizes sticking up out of the ground. The largest ones are as high was 3 meters, and many are wrapped with colored scarves.
Though the origins of the shrine are unclear, the erotic symbols are clearly derived from Tantric beliefs within Hinduism and Buddhism. Local beliefs state that women who are hoping to become fertile for pregnancy can pray at this shrine, and that if their wish is fulfilled, then they should return to place yet another phallus at the shrine as a symbol of thanks.
This shrine is truly off the beaten path, as it does not appear in most tourist guides or maps and there are no signs leading the way to it. The path to the shrine passes by the side service entrance of the hotel. Simply go to the concierge at the Swissotel and ask for the way to the shrine.
Swissotel Nai Lert Park is located at 2 Wireless Road, within walking distance of two BTS SkyTrain stations, Chitlom and Ploenchit Stations.
The phallus is the symbol of fertility. Many Thai women, who want children will place offerings or more lingams at the shrine. Many of the phallus line the pathways and gardens -like mini fences.
Located at the back of the Swissotel's Nai Lert Hotel(originally Hilton). This is very hard. We walked onto the grounds, which had a guard and went right to the concierge. I thought he would kick us out, but told us to follow the service entrance to the shrine.
Located Nai Loet Park, Th Withaya. BTS Chitlom or Ploenchit