Chao Mae Tuptim Bangkok

The very unusual phallus shrine of Bangkok

They come in different sizes, from the size of one’s palm to huge ones, standing 10 feet in height and painted in different colors. Don’t blush though, but these wooden penises, offerings left by usually female devotees, are there, crowded under the spirit tree or placed near the spirit house while larger ones, those that are as tall as a man, stand proudly, erect, err, at attention.

The Tuptim Shrine is dedicated to Chao Mae Tuptim, whose devotees visit and offer wooden penises for good luck or for fertility. It was built in the early 20th century when a Thai businessman, Nai Lert found a spirit house floating in the river and placed it in this area, Nai Lert Park. Thais also consider the phallus as a good luck charm.

Don’t expect to find a temple. Here, you will only find a typical sized spirit tree amongst a well paved path and a few trees, including a huge one, a spirit tree, because of the colored cloth tied around it. Underneath are wooden figures of elephtants and smaller sized phallus.

There are no temples within the small shrine grounds. What you have is just a spirit house, a few trees including a spirit tree and all these wooden phallus

There are no temples within the small shrine grounds. What you have is just a spirit house, a few trees including a spirit tree and all these wooden phallus

At the banyan tree's trunk, these phallus are placed

At the banyan tree’s trunk, these phallus are placed

Standing at attention with a colored ribbon

Standing at attention with a colored ribbon

Large sized wooden phallus, elephant and dancer figurines

Large sized wooden phallus, elephant and dancer figurines

A monkey hugging the shaft.

A monkey hugging the shaft.

Close up of the spirit house

Close up of the spirit house

Phallus of different sizes under the big tree

Phallus of different sizes under the big tree

Colored cloth, elephants and...

Colored cloth, elephants and…

Extra large?

Extra large?

A spirit tree, the biggest in the shrine grounds with colorful ribbons and the wooden figurines of elephants and phallus

A spirit tree, the biggest in the shrine grounds with colorful ribbons and the wooden figurines of elephants and phallus

GETTING THERE: If you are commuting, the Tumtip shrine is between Chit Lom and Ploen Chit BTS with the former the closest to it. From the BTS, just walk to the direction of Swissotel Bangkok. The shrine is located behind the hotel.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

One Comment

  1. Estan Cabigas (@EstanCabigas)
    October 7, 2016 @ 12:41

    Don’t blush, but the many wooden penises are actually offerings at this unusual shrine #bangkok #amazingthailand… https://t.co/FkKa7jX5Wg

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