Wai Kru Festival
The approximate price is 3500 ฿. It is better to order a week before the event.
Departure from Pattaya.
Included: transfer, food, drinks, Thai speaking guide.
We do not take children on this trip.
If someone wants to make Sak Yant on this holiday, it is better to warn in advance.
Wai Kru Festival - an overview
The Wai Kru festival takes place around February or March.
Sak Yant was originally used by warriors who sought protection and strength in battle. They covered their entire body from head to toe with magical signs so that swords and arrows would not harm them. These days, Sak Yant tattoos are done by Thais from all walks of life - doctors, lawyers, taxi drivers, prostitutes, actors and mafia criminals.
Sak Yants are traditional Thai tattoos engraved on the skin by Buddhist monks for protection and good luck, endowed with magical powers. Sometimes they are stuffed with a long metal or bamboo knitting needle with a needle at the end dipped in special ink made from ingredients such as coal and snake venom.
However, the supernatural power of these tattoos wears off over time, requiring them to be blessed again and recharged. This is the meaning of the Wai Kru holiday: to honor the teacher and reload thousands of Sak Yant at once.
Every year, crowds of people gather at Wat Bang Phra, a large Buddhist temple about an hour's drive from Bangkok, to recharge with the magic of their sacred Sak Yant tattoos.
The essence of the holiday is hordes of screaming people, obsessed with their magical sak yant tattoos, wildly running to the shrine, crashing into the human shield of the soldiers who protect it. Welcome to Thailand's whimsical Wai Kru festival.
The result can only be described as absolute chaos.
How the Wai Kru Festival is held.
On the evening before Wai Kru festival, a group of ajan (tattoo artists) and Buddhist monks gather at the temple to apply new tattoos to newly arrived thirsty ones, working late into the night.
Thousands of devoted Sak Yant fans have gathered to renew the powers of their tattoos on Wai Kru. The head monk comes out and starts chanting mantras. Sitting cross-legged in the hot sun, visitors go into a trance called Khong Kuen and transform into those animals that are on their Sak Yant tattoo - Tiger, Crocodile, Old Man or Hanuman, the god of the Hindu monkey.
At first, trance only affects a handful of people, but with the onset of the morning the energy builds up. In the end, hundreds of people run to the shrine in complete insanity, waving their hands chaotically, crashing into the crowd of onlookers.
A wall of soldiers and special monks prevents them from reaching the temple, pulling them out of their trance by rubbing their ears.
When you are standing in a crowd and madmen are running at you, try to dodge them. This action will definitely keep you on your toes.
At the end of the show, the prayers stop, the chief ceremonial master says something like "everyone can go home, thank you for your attention", and after a while, only rubbish and a bunch of bedding remain on the square. Just in case, the monks are still pouring holy water on the heated crowd of Tatu Sak Yant fans from the hoses, after which everyone calms down and goes home.
After the ceremony, the monks distribute flowers and fruits to the fans.
You can book a trip to the tattoo master Sak Yant any day in Pattaya. There is no need to go specifically for this to the Wai Kru festival.