Thoed Thai - Kruba Boonchum - Casting a gold Buddha - Wat Ka Kham

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,233
2,519
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Making merit for my birthday at the Shan temple of Wat Ka Kham in Thoed Thai with my favourite monk, I got an invite to pop along to the Wat on the 5th January 2021 for Kruba Boonchum's birthday & casting a gold Buddha for him.
But I thought Kruba Boonchum was still meditating in the cave in Myanmar?
Yes he is, but we are going to take the Buddha for him to place it outside his cave, once covid is clear & we can go.
Wow that all sounds pretty special - I will come on the 4th & see you here at the Wat. An opportunity not to be missed I thought?

1609937738935.png

A banner promoting the event. If you can't read Thai, the give away sign is the image bottom left corner, plus KBBC on the right of course. Not that I picked up on all of this at the time.

Now if you don't know about Kruba Boonchum, he's the legendary Shan monk, born near Mae Chan, who generally lives in Myanmar.
He is more like a god to the Shan people, has thousands of Shan people come to see him for his birthday, was once hunted by the Burmese army & also predicted the rescue of the 13 members of the Wild Boar football team in the cave near Mae Sai.
Kruba Boonchum often meditates in caves for more than a year at a time & is currently in the middle of a 3-year cave meditation in Myanmar.
He's featured on GTR here before.

I got away from Chiang Khong at 3.30PM & rushed over to Thoed Thai. It is not far & by 5.30 PM I was having a nice cold beer & a late lunch outside the Ting Ting restaurant, next door to the Rim Taan GH.
Fans of the Ting Ting will be amazed by the size of the new premises & I had to ask if they now had rooms for rent to double as a hotel. But nope, it is just their house upstairs & the restaurant downstairs. There's good money to be made out there in the border boondocks, despite covid-19 & a dire tourism economy!
1609869204968.png


The Ting Ting really has excellent Yunnanese food & is a magic spot to watch the late afternoon Thoed Thai world go on by.
1609869225007.png


Happy hour done it was time for a quick check up on Wat Ka Kham to see what was going on. Was there any Shan dancing that night as had been suggested?
There was no dancing but the Wat was certainly looking magic, with preparations well under way for the big day in the morning, although I was still unsure on exactly how it would all unfold on the day.

1609870391268.png


Preparing a massive seub sataa (like GTR does in MHS for the Memorial Ride).
1609870467109.png


The casting centre for the gold Buddha
1609870498345.png


To be continued..
 
Last edited:

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,233
2,519
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Back to the Rim Taan early & by 8Pm the old fellah was tucked up in bed, looking forward to the next day.
Situated right beside the Kham River, the Rim Taan GH is a delight at night.

1609902287534.jpeg


1609902316528.png


If I understand right, aproximately 56 kms downstream the little Mae Kham river is a village that is the birth place of Kruba Boonchum?
Getting the right name & precise location of the village has been a challenge, however I reckon it could be here,
in this village, but I could well be wrong, as there seems to be many variations of the village & district name of where he was born!
Ian Yonok maybe you know?

9am the next morning it is rock'n roll time at the Wat.
1609903530496.png


The place is packed, with hundreds of Shan people coming from everywhere.
Parking the Vstrom was an issue & the old fellah opted to park it outside the grounds, where it would be accessible, in a spot where I could leave when I wanted.
The Shan people are my favourite ethnic group along with the Tai Lue, and the colourful costumes of the women always impress me no end.
Free food and drink was available everywhere for everyone.

1609904812551.png


1609904829328.png


With John from Rim Taan
1609904934905.png

John is the owner of Rim Taan guesthouse, & has worked on "both sides" in his lifetime. He started with US AID & the John Dooley foundation in Laos & then back home in Thoed Thai, with his ability to speak 6 languages, was a translator for Khun Sa the opium warlord; although he is not always open to discuss this.

He is a walking encyclopaedia of info on the area & there should be a documentary about his life, it has been so rich.
He is a fabulous man & human being, gentle, kind humble. We have had many wonderful times together in Thoed Thai & I love him like a brother.




Merit making is the name of the game before the big seub sataa ceremony starts, & it's interesting to note how many places around the Wat you can pay respect to make merit.
1609935824051.png


1609935937321.png


1609935955102.png


Cash donations, that get your name read out, no matter how small the donation. Everyone gets acknowledged.
1609935851089.png


1609936319271.png


to be continued..
 
Last edited:

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,233
2,519
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Inside the wat the crowd is jam packed with little space to manouevre, getting photos was a serious challenge without stepping on people.
1609940437594.png


1609940573546.png


1609940911715.png


1609941628303.png


It was quite perilous trying to work you way through the crowd to get photos & not bring the canopy of strings crashing down. Stupid bloody farang, that would have been the end of my welcome in Thoed Thai forever!
1609940688971.png


1609941022910.png


1609941652393.png


Time to get the show underway
1609941107211.png



To be continued
 
Last edited:

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,233
2,519
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
The morning ceremony finishes on time, then it's time to feed the monks & everyone to have lunch.
The old fellah sneaks off to the ex Khun Sa Coffee for a cuppa, during the break.

The Ex Khun Sa Coffee
1609948530509.png

now renamed the Chon Chet Thai, for political correctness.

At 12.45PM it's time to head back up the hill to Wat Ka Kham & get ready for the main show.
I'm not alone.
1609949328743.png


The big mould is ready
1609949452614.png


The cauldron is boiling away
1609949693019.png


Western industrial safety standards are not needed today.
1609949568127.png


1609949940057.png


as the time drew closer the crowd built up & the band played on to celebrate the event.
1609950201203.png


1609950056193.png


1609950276193.png


1609950184585.png


1609950379666.png


1609950481424.png



to be continued
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,233
2,519
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
It takes another hour of heat & noise before the big time.
I forgot to check if there was an exact auspicious time, but it was damn close to 2PM, going on the meta data from my images.

The important artisan team of the day
1609951645897.png


1609951713444.png


Ready for the the pour & a blessing
1609952033764.png


1609951849433.png


1609952080414.png


1609952482150.png


1609952574514.png


1609952681822.png


1609952752892.png




This was a truly awesome experience, definitely one of the best in my 40 years in Thailand, and actually the 2nd great expereience in Thoed Thai.
TQ dear Thoed Thai, the lovely Shan people of your fabulous town & last but not least the abbot of Wat Ka Kham, my favourite monk.

1609952990439.png


1609953091845.png
 
Last edited:

Jurgen

Moderator
Oct 23, 2009
665
96
28
www.chopard.org
Compelling story, always great to get an insight in traditions that might not occur every day. As Ian said, a great place also, with an amazing ethnic diversity and traditions related to it and to its loaded history. Was worth to watch the report on a large (computer) screen.