Our 2-Year Anniversary and a Thai Buddhist Blessing

The story so far…

This month, we celebrate the 2nd Birthday of S.E.A Backpacker Magazine. Boy oh boy, do they grow up fast! It only seems like yesterday that the very small and very nervous S.E.A Backpacker team set off on a preliminary trip to Koh Tao and Koh Phangan to tell people about our vision and look for sponsors to help us get off the ground. Pressed T-shirts and sweaty hands, we knocked on doors of bars, restaurants, dive schools and hostels with a basic mock-up that two years later has grown into the magazine you are reading now. It didn’t seem real until slowly companies started to believe in the idea and we were able to launch in Khao San Road in June 2009.

Since then it has been a roller-coaster ride, South East Asian style! We’ve hung out with Rasta’s in Reggae Bars, ate noodles with the hill tribes, chilled with cool yoga types in Koh Phangan, the dive crew in Koh Tao, dined with flashpackers in KL and drank buckets and Beer Lao with the best of ‘em! The adventure shows no sign of slowing down… and with recent expansion into Singapore and KL, the Philippines is next on the agenda! (Watch this space.)

Our helping hands…

A big thank you to the 18 customers who supported us in the very beginning and thank you to all those businesses across South East Asia who continue to do so every issue. The writers, photographers and advertisers make this magazine what it is – a travel diary for everyone – a place where you can share your crazy travel stories and your passion for spontaneous adventure. And you don’t need to be Bill Bryson to send us an article – (although Bill if you are reading this, don’t be put off!) We are so lucky to receive fantastic articles every month from people who are as excited about South East Asia as we are. Here’s hoping for another amazing two years like the last…

Buddhist “Tamboon” Ceremony

Buddhist “Tamboon” ceremonies are a tradition in Thailand for businesses and new houses. So to commemorate the two-year anniversary of the magazine we held a ceremony in the office intended to bring good luck for the coming year. Nine monks were invited to the office, arriving at around 10am. Dish upon dish of delicious Thai food was prepared the night before and cooked in the morning for the special occasion. The ceremony began with the monks chanting in Pali language for around thirty minutes as they held a white piece of cord known as ‘sai-sin,’ which is said to become sacred during the ceremony, intended to keep evil spirits away. After the ceremony, it is time for the monks to eat and everybody helps to serve them in nine silver bowls, with women being particularly careful not to touch the monks. The ceremony must finish before 12 noon as this is the last time that Buddhist monks are allowed to eat during the day. Any leftovers are eaten by the guests later!

To finish the ceremony, the head monk paints a protective Thai symbol over the doorway of the building. The “Tamboon” is essentially a “merit – making” ritual and a very important part of Thai culture that is tied into the belief in ‘karma,’ i.e. if you do good, you will recieve good. By feeding the monks and donating to the local temple, Thai people believe that the monks can influence their fortune. As a foreigner living in Thailand for over two years now, I never cease to be intrigued and charmed by Thai festivals and traditions where the whole family and local area become a part of wishing each other well. It is a wonderful, integrated culture that I have been lucky enough to become a part of these past two years.

(Nikki Scott)