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naag (นาก)

Thai. ‘Otter’. May also be transcribed naak or nahg. See also naag lek leb san (fig.) and naag yai thammada (fig.). 

naag (นาค)

Thai for naga. Also transcribed naak and nahg. 

naag lek leb san (นากเล็กเล็บสั้น)

Thai. ‘Short-clawed otter’. Name for the Asian Small-clawed Otter. 

naagprok (นาคปรก)

See pahng nahg prok. 

naag yai thammada (นากใหญ่ธรรมดา)

Thai. ‘Large common otter’. Name for the Eurasian River Otter.

naak (นาค)

Thai for naga. Also written naag and nahg. 

naakbeuang (นาคเบือน)

Thai. ‘Averting naga’. Architectural term for a kind of multiple chofa, i.e. bird's head-like finials, that appear on tapering roofs of temple buildings. However, unlike chofa, which are placed at the ridge on either end of a Buddhist temple's roof, naakbeuang are mounted on the sides of tapering roofs, similar to hang hongse (fig.) and as such are reminiscent of an antefix in the form of naga (fig.). Their very name also suggests that they represent highly stylized forms of the naga (naak), rather than stylized forms of a Garuda, as is suggested in case of the chofa.

naaken (นาเคนทร์)

Thai. Elephant king’, ‘snake king’, i.e. a single word that means both phaya chang and phaya ngu, or alternatively phaya naak, and is used to refer to a mythical creature that is described as a snake with the head of an elephant, or alternatively, as an elephant with the body of a snake. READ ON.

Naak Galyah (นาคกัลยา)

Thai name for the daughter of the Hindu god Shiva (fig.), who is depicted with the snake-like body of a naga, and a crown of five hooded snakes over her own human head, reminiscent of the Buddha's pahng nahg prok pose, as well as a set of bird-like wings, though in Chinese-style iconography, the crown of naga or snake heads may rather be dragon heads (fig.). The name derives from her full Thai designation, i.e. Phra Mae Naak Galyanih, a name similar to that of Galyani Watthana (fig.), the late elder sister of King Bhumiphon, and which is also reminiscent of that of the five-headed serpent Kaliya, which was subdued by the Hindu god Krishna (fig.). Shiva also has another daughter with Parvati, who is named Asokasundari. In Thai her name may also be pronounced as Naak Ganyah and in English she is sometimes referred to as the Naga Bodhisattva.

Naak Ganyah (นาคกัญญา)

Another Thai spelling for Naak Galyah.

Naak Manop (นาคมานพ)

Thai. ‘Human Naga’ or ‘Young Man Naga’. A Thai mythical creature, half-man and half-serpent, with the head and upper body of a young man and from the waist down with the body of a snake. In full, he is often referred to as Naak Naak Manop Nagaraat. Also transcribed Naag Manop.

naakprok (นาคปรก)

Thai. ‘Overspreading naga’. A Buddha image with a naga over his head. See also Muchalinda and pahng nahg prok. 

Naaksen (นาคเสน)

Thai name for Nagasena, alongside Nagasen

naak shrinkhala (नाक श्रृंखला)

Hindi. ‘Nose chain’. A type of Indian ornament that consists of a chain which is attached between the nose and the ear, usually with a ring and by piercing. It is typically worn as wedding jewellery (fig.) by Hindu brides in honour of Parvati, the goddess of love and marriage, and is removed on the wedding night by the bridegroom to symbolize the end of the bride's virginity. See also ghaghra choli. 


Name for a round roti-like flatbread made of wheat flour. The dough can be either leavened with yeast or unleavened. It is baked in a clay oven,  what distinguishes it from roti which is usually cooked on a flat iron griddle and uses unleavened dough. It originates from Central Asia and is popular in Indian cuisine. Pronunciation nan. 

naang chi (นางชี)

Thai. Buddhist nun in Thailand. Nuns are lay people who keep eight precepts or voluntarily submit to the 227 rules of conduct of monastic discipline set out in the Vinaya Pitaka, although they do not belong to the Sangha. They usually shave bald like the monks and wear a pure white cloth. See also chi pah kao. 

naang fah (นางฟ้า)

Thai. ‘Female angel’.

naang mai (นางไม้)

Thai. A female spirit or supernatural being inhabiting a tree, a wood nymph, a dryad. While some are described as benevolent and with powers to make miracles, some are malevolent and haunt people, and yet others may may be both malicious and benign. Some well-known naang mai are Naang Takian and Naang Tani. See also Naang Naak

Naang Naak (นางนาก)

Thai. ‘Lady Naak’. Name of a very popular female ghost, who is also known as Mae Naak and fully as Mae Naak Phra Khanong, after the district in Bangkok (fig.) where her story, supposedly based on events that took place during the reign of King Rama IV, is set. READ ON

naang phaya (นางพญา)

A Thai name for ‘queen’.

Naang Takian (นางตะเคียน)

Thai. Name for a kind of naang mai, i.e. a female spirit that inhabits trees and sometimes appears as a beautiful young woman wearing traditional Thai attire, luring wicked or immoral passersby into misfortune or terrorizing those with evil intend, while righteous people are left unarmed. Naang Ta-khian is said to dwell in a gagil tree, a large forest tree with the botanical name Hopea odorata and in Thai known as takian thong, hence the name of this wood nymph. The tree grows in the wild and Naang Ta-khian haunts its immediate environment, as well as houses made with gagil timber, though in this tree is seldom felled for lumber, since the inhabiting ghost will be enraged and follow the wood, that is except when the wood is used in Buddhist temples, as those have special merit which is considered sufficient to render the spirit harmless. However, many people worship tree spirits as miracles and good fortune in lottery have been attributed to her power. Hence to appease or worship this spirit, believers will tie coloured fabric known as pah phrae mongkon around the tree where a naang mai resides (fig.), and even offer her traditional Thai silk dresses, usually in reddish or brownish colours akin tio the colour of the tree's trunk, in comparison to Naang Tani or Phi Tani, another naag mai, who mostly wears a green dress, as she inhabits gluay tani banana plants, which are overall green in colour. Also spelled Nang Takhian.

Naang Tani (นางตานี)

Thai. Name for a kind of naang mai, i.e. a female spirit that inhabits trees. Naang Tani inhabits gluay tani banana plants, hence the name of this wood nymph. She  is usually depicted as a beautiful young woman wearing a green traditional Thai dress, akin to her abode, the banana plant (fig.), which is overall green in colour.

naem (แหนม)

Thai. Name for a snack of slightly fermented, salted pork and fat which is shredded and bound tightly together, previously with banana leaves, nowadays more likely with strong transparent plastic. It can be eaten raw, fried or grilled on a stick and has a rather sour taste. It is a main ingredient in a dish called yam naem (fig.). 

naen (เณร)

Thai. A Buddhist novice, usually under the age of twenty (fig.). They need to keep only ten of the Buddhist commandments instead of the usual 227 rules of conduct for adult monks called pahtimohk, and often attend special Buddhist schools for novices (fig.). Also samanaen or sahmmanaen. 

naga (नाग, နာဂ)

1. Sanskrit-Hindi and Burmese. A mythical serpent with characteristics of a cobra, usually represented with multiple heads (fig.) and sometimes in human form, semi-human form (fig.) or as a snake with human heads (fig.). READ ON

2. Sanskrit for naag, a candidate Buddhist monk in Thailand. Adolescents that ordain are considered to gain merit in favour for their parents, not so much for themselves. It is understood that by ordaining, the children pay off a debt towards their parents for giving them life and for raising them. All parents therefore expect their children to ordain at some point in life, as this brings merit for themselves. It is even said that one reason for monks and novices to shave their heads is to resemble the features of a naga, for just as the naga helped the Buddha in his ordeal to reach Enlightenment, also the children help their parents to get a better afterlife, by making merit for them. Also buatnaag. 

3. Hindi-Burmese name for an ethnic group of people, whose dwelling places coincides with parts of northwestern Myanmar and northeastern India, and whom −due to their comparable cultures and traditions− are listed as one ethnicity, with several tribes and clans (fig.). Most Naga still have rather primitive lifestyles and their traditions have hardly changed over time (fig.). Tribesmen typically wear a distinguishing headdress, clothing and ornaments (fig.), adorned with colourful plumes, fur, beads, seeds, animal bones, claws, horns and tusks (fig.).

nagabaat (นาคบาศ)

Sanskrit-Thai. A magical arrow used by Indrachit, one of the demons in the Ramayana. Once this arrow was shot it changed into a naga and subdued or tied down whoever it was aimed at. In one scene in the Ramayana, it was aimed at Rama and Lakshmana tied them down. However, when the Garuda, the archenemy of the naga, accidentally flew by, the naga from fear released Rama and Lakshmana. Also pronounced naagbaat or naakbaat, and sometimes spelt nakabaat. 

Naga Bodhisattva

See Naak Galyah


See Spean Neak

nagah (နဂါး)

Burmese. Term used in Myanmar to refer to a legged naga-like mythological compound animal, and which is usually translated as ‘dragon’. Its pronunciation is nagā, rather than naga (nāga), and in Burmese uses a different spelling. These legged, naga-like creatures are often found in Burmese temple architecture where they serve as guardian creatures and many ‒especially smaller‒ stupas in Myanmar are decorated with them, usually flanked vertically on the sides of the edifice and with the head below, yet raised upward in a U-shape, though they may also be represented in different poses (fig.). Burmese-style nagah can occasionally also be found in Thai temples (fig.). 

nagamakara (नागमकर)

Sanskrit. The combination of a naga and a makara. 

Naga Medaw (နဂါးမယ်တော်)

Burmese. ‘Royal Mother Naga’. Name of one of the 37 nats that belong to the official pantheon of spirits worshipped in Myanmar. She was a beautiful woman of Mindon village, who married a naga. Her husband eventually abandoned her and she consequently died of a broken heart. However, according to others version, she is described as being either the wife or the sister of Maung Tint De, who later became the nat Min Mahagiri (fig.). If described as the latter's sister, she was the wife of the King of Tagaung. If described as the wife of Maung Tint De, she is then also the mother of the latter's sons Shin Nyo and Shin Byu, who became the nats Taungmagyi and Maung Minshin, and Hnamadawgyi is then Maung Tint De's sister and the wife of the King of Tagaung. In the version where Naga Medaw is described as the sister, it would then actually be her who leaped into a fire trying to rescue her brother when he was being burned alive, and died of her burns. She is also known by the name Shwe Nabay (fig.), i.e. ‘Golden Side’, and is depicted wearing a headdress fashioned as a naga, usually with a green dress and sometimes holding a golden naga. Her name is pronounced Naga Medo. See also Medaw. See also LIST OF BURMESE NATS.

naga moutih (နဂါးမောက်သီး)

Burmese term for dragon fruit. Also transcribed naga moutdee or similar. See also naga. 


See pahng nahg prok. 

nagara (नागर)

Sanskrit. ‘City’ or ‘capital’. The Thai word nakhon, often used as a prefix in many city names, e.g. Nakhon Sri Thammarat, is derived from it. Also in India it is used in the naming of cities, e.g. Kushinagara. 

nagaraat (นาคราช)

Thai. ‘Naga-king’ or ‘king of the nagas’. A great snake. See also naga. 

nagaraja (नागराज)

Sanskrit for nagaraat. 

Nagasen (นากาเสน)

Thai name for Nagasena, alongside Naaksen

Nagasena (नागसेना, นาคเสนา)

Sankrit-Thai. ‘Army of nagas’. Name of the Buddhist sage who lived around 150 BC in northern India. He was an eloquent speaker and debater, and his name suggests strong supernatural power. He was famous all over India for his homilies on the maxim of ‘hear no evil’, uttering that since the sense of hearing is one of the sources through which one becomes aware of the world, Buddhists should avoid listening to immoral speech and decadent sounds. He answered the questions about Buddhism posed by the Indo-Greek King Menander I and which were recorded in the Milinda Panha. He is depicted as one of the 18 arahats, usually as an aged monk scratching his ear with a stick to symbolize purification of the sense of hearing. According to a Thai tradition it is he who made the Emerald Buddha that was later brought to Thailand. In Thai also Nagasen and Naaksen. In Chinese he is known as the luohan Wa Er (挖耳), literally ‘To Dig the Ear’. In English, he is referred to as the Scratched Ear Lohan or Ear Cleaning Arhat, and in Vietnam, where he is known as Khoai Nhi La Han (Khoi Nhĩ La Hn), he may be depicted seated on a mythical animal (fig.) and is associated with the 8th Patriarch Phat Da Nan De, whose name in Roman script is usually transliterated Buddhanandi, which means ‘One Who Enjoys Knowledge’ (fig.). 

nah fon (หน้าฝน)

Thai. One of several terms used to refer to the annual wet monsoon or rainy season, which in Thailand takes places roughly from the beginning of June through to the end of September. Other terms include phansa and reudoo fon. See also nahm thuam

nahg (นาค)

Thai. Another transliteration for naag or naak, in Sanskrit known as naga. 

nah gleua (นาเกลือ)

See nah kleua. 

nah kaak (หน้ากาก)

Thai for ‘facial mask’. The wearing of facial masks against polluted air, dust and smog, as well as for other health issues, has since long become common practice in most cities in Thailand. They are most frequently used by people working or travelling unprotected in traffic-congested streets, such as traffic police, tuktuk drivers, motorcyclists, garbage collectors, etc. In places like Vietnam, facial masks are commonly worn anywhere in public, prompting the production of more trendy masks (fig.). In certain instances, like during the outbreak of airborne diseases, the government will promote the wearing of facial masks. When Covid-19 entered onto the world's stage, Vietnam was largely spared of the disease and the fact that so many already wore facial masks prior to the pandemic, as well as that so many Vietnamese drive motorcycles (fig.) rather than rely on public mass transportation, has certainly contributed to this positive outcome, reporting just over 350 cases of infected people and no deaths at all by the end of June 2020. As the Covid-19 pandemic progressed in 2020, many original designs of facial masks hit the market and slowly started to be come a fashion statement for many now compelled to wear it in public at all times (fig.). See also POSTAGE STAMPS.

nah kleua (นาเกลือ)

1. Thai. ‘Salt field’. Field used to harvest salt by evaporating sea water in the sun, a process known as seething. Salt farms are divided into various plots and sea water is pumped from plot to plot with the help of small windmills. Irrigation is done with a great deal of expertise to ensure correct salinity and high-quality salt. If the salinity is too high, the sea water crystallizes into Epsom salts used in drug manufacturing, while proper crystallization will not occur if salinity is low. In each plot a different stage of the process takes places before the water is sent into the next plot, while each stage requires a different water temperature. Hence, each plot has a specific name, beginning with nah pratiab (นาประเทียบ), the plot where the sea water heats up in the sun and the salinity level is adjusted to between 6 and 7 degrees; then ity is pumped into nah tak (นาตาก), for a repeat of the heating process in order to achieve salinity of 18 to 20 degrees; then onto nah cheua (นาเชื้อ), where the salinity can reach 24 degrees; and then the water is pumped into the final plot called nah plong (นาปลง), for crystallization, which takes about 15 days. Before collecting the salt, which is done once a year outside the rainy season, i.e. sometime between September and May, the salt is placed into small heaps, in order to allow the final moisture to more easily evaporate. After a crop is harvested, the salt farmers clean the fields and tamp down the top to prevent water filtration during crystallization. This tamping of the field can be done manually with wooden planks on shafts (fig.) or by a small crushed roller, which in Thailand resembles a Flintstone's car. The salt is typically used to make fish sauce and to make ice and slurry ice (fig.), as it lowers the freezing point or water. Read more on this in the topic below, nahm khaeng kot. Also spelt nah gleua. WATCH VIDEO

2. Thai. ‘Salt field’. Name of a tambon in the amphur Banglamung (บางละมุง ) of Chonburi Province. It is a suburb of the beach resort of Pattaya, adjacent to its northern borders and in many ways a continuation of the North Pattaya subdistrict. Its name suggests the earlier existence of salt fields. Also spelt nah gleua. 

nahm buay (น้ำบวย)

See krabuay

nahm budu (น้ำบูดู)

Thai. A sauce made from a small, usually salted fish (often mackerel) and some spices. First the fish is cooked until it has become tender, then it is cleaned, using only the meat, which left to simmer in some water, together with the spices, i.e. slivers of crushed small red onion, sugar, cut up takrai (lemongrass - fig.), about three torn leaves of young kaffir lime (makrud - fig.) and a piece of galangal (fig.) of about 2.5 centimeters long, ground into fragments. When ready, it is filtered and only the juice is used. Nahm budu sauce is one of the ingredients for the local southern dish khao yam. It is also sold ready-to-use and can be kept for a long time. It is a khong dee product from Pattani. See also nahm kheuy.

nahm dokmai (น้ำดอกไม้)

Thai. ‘Flower water’. Name of a traditional hand-made Thai sweet which is also known as khanom nahm dokmai, i.e. ‘flower water candy’, and is in English referred to as floral rice cakes. Ingredients include rice flour, arrow root flour, white jasmine water, sugar, water and food colour. The name derives from the fact that one of its ingredient is scented jasmine water, i.e. water obtained by floating jasmine flower buds on its surface to absorb the scent. This colourful cup-shaped candy is depicted on a postage stamp issued in 2018 as part of a set of six stamps on traditional Thai sweets (fig.).

nahm jim kai (น้ำจิ้มไก่)

Thai. ‘Chicken sauce’. A at times spicy dip made from a variety of -usually- seasonal products, such as pounded onions (fresh or pickled), bell pepper chilies, sugar, salt, citric acid, etc. It is commonly used as a dip sauce for nang pla thod krob and for dishes with chicken, hence its name.

nahm khaeng (น้ำแข็ง)

Thai for ‘ice’, literally ‘hard water’. In many countries of tropical and subtropical South and Southeast Asia ice is still made in ice factories and then delivered on a regular, often daily basis to its users. Ice was first introduced to Thailand in the reign of King Rama IV, when it was imported from Singapore, a journey of 15 days by boat. Ironically, the British importer from Singapore was named Henry ‘Hot’. Ice is water from which the heat of fluidity has been removed by using liquid ammonia, ether or sulfurous acid as a cooling agent. It is obtained by compressing the gas in a strong iron cistern which is then released into an expansion vessel, called the freezing tank (fig.). As the compressed gas expands, it rapidly cools and thus freezes the water stored in large moulds (fig.) housed in a separate chamber, making blocks of ice in the course of a few hours as a result of the intense cold produced by the rapid evaporation of the liquid gas. Delivery of ice comes either in huge blocks of ice or crushed in large bags and is still big business in many up-country places, but also on city markets such as Bangkok's Chinatown. Customers usually are the owners of fish restaurants, market booths and so on, who use it to cool and store or display fresh food and drinks. Ice vendors can often be seen delivering their produce early in the day from large trucks, motorcycle sidecars, carts, etc. Sometimes they use ice picks to move and drag large blocks of ice or a handsaw to cut them (fig.), custom-made. Nowadays the more recent type of cylindrical ice ‘cubes’ with holes through the centre can also be found, especially at supermarkets, sold in small bags for personal use. A typical Thai kind of water-ice is nahm khaeng sai (น้ำแข็งใส), made from a large block of ice by paring flakes from its surface with a plane and served in a plastic cup, poured with a sweet and colourful syrup (fig.). See also aitim. 

nahm khaeng kot (น้ำแข็งกด)

Thai. ‘Pressed ice’. Fruit juice with sugar frozen into flavoured water-ice on a stick (fig.). Fruit juice is poured into tubular cylinders that are placed in a round aluminum ice box of which the bottom part contains slurry ice, i.e. a mixture of water, ice and other ingredients, such as salt (fig.), which is added to change the freezing point of water, bringing the temperature of the ice down to below 25 degrees Celsius. Water normally freezes at 0 Celsius. When salt is added on the ice, it lowers the freezing point to below 0 Celsius. Since the ice cannot get any colder than it already is the surface first starts to melt, but as the salt ice-water mixture is diluted by further melting of the ice, the freezing point rises and the water refreezes. A mixture of plain water and ice is in equilibrium at 0 Celsius, but adding salt lowers the equilibrium temperature. The fruit juice thus slowly freezes into an ice lolly. The aluminum ice box is covered with a rotating lid with holes that hold the tubular cylinders. Occasionally rotating this cover prevents the with fruit juice filled cylinders from becoming icebound to the ice below. See also aitim and kulfi. 

nahm kheuy (น้ำเคย)

Thai. A sauce obtained from salted prawns and used as one of the ingredients for the local southern dish khao yam. It consists of shrimp paste, water, fish sauce, salt, palm sugar, raw cane sugar, black pepper, shallots, galangal (fig.), takrai (lemongrass - fig.) and leaves of young kaffir lime (makrud - fig.), most of it filtered out before the sauce is served. Also transcribed naam khoei. See also nahm budu.

nahm mon (น้ำมนต์)

Thai. ‘Blessed water’. A kind of lustral water, blessed by a senior Buddhist monk and used by monks to bless believers or sacred objects, by sprinkling them, using a brush or tassel-like aspergillum, made from bamboo. This religious action is known as rod nahm mon (fig.). Prior to its use, wax from a candle is dripped into the blessed water, to symbolize Enlightenment. It also represents the four elements, i.e. earth, fire, wind and water, in which the earth is represented by the drops of wax, fire by the flame of the candle, wind by the extinguishment of the flame of the candle, and water by the water in the bowl. To hasten their merit, believers sometimes throw coins into the situla-like holy water vessel, as a kind of tamboon (fig.). In addition, gold leaf, devil's grass, which in Thai is called ya phraek, and lotuses may be placed in the bowl in order to increase magical powers. The bowl can be a Buddhist alms bowl (fig.) called baat (fig.) or a similar shaped vessel (fig.). See also toh nahm mon, mon, sek and song nahm phra.

Nahm Phi (น้ำพี้)

Thai. Name of a natural source of iron ore, as well as products such as swords, made from it. The name derives from its location, i.e. a village in Uttaradit, where several mines and ancient melting furnaces are located, in particular in the tambon Thong Saen Khan (ทองแสนขัน). The iron ore of this area is considered to have saksit and deliver robust high-quality steel, referred to as lek Nahm Phi (เหล็กน้ำพี้), and has been used since ancient times to make weapons of war. Traditionally ore of two mines, known as Bo Phra Saeng and Bo Phra Khan, has been reserved specially to forge royal swords, including the King's Sword of State (fig.). To honour this tradition, the city of Uttaradit has erected a small museum in front of the Provincial Hall, which displays several Nahm Phi products and tools used in the production of metal, as well as the world's biggest Nahm Phi sword (map). Sometimes transcribed Nam Pee. 

nahm phrik (น้ำพริก)

1. Thai. A sauce that consists of salty fish sauce (nahm pla) with sliced or finely chopped phrik kee noo bird chilies. When ordering food in a Thai restaurant, it is usually served along with the dish in a small, separate platter, and at roadside food stalls it is often part of the regular kreuang prung. It is used to spice up dishes, like a combination of salt and pepper. 

2. Thai. A chili dip made of either kapi (shrimp paste), nahm pla (fish sauce) or pla rah (fermented fish), mixed with garlic, phrik kee noo bird chili and either lemon, tamarind, madan (garcinia) or mango. The name can be defined more specifically by adding the name of its main ingredients at the end, e.g. nahm phrik pla rah for chili sauce made with fermented fish. The name nahm phrik is also used as a general designation in a variety of other dishes that include chilies, e.g. nahm phrik oung, nahm phrik phao, nahm phrik num, etc. 

nahm phrik num (น้ำพริกหนุ่ม)

Thai. Name for a northern style dip dish, made from fresh green chilies and eggplant, that are roasted (fig.) and then ground. Like nahm phrik oung, it is typically eaten with sticky rice, some fresh and steamed vegetables, and crisp pork. It is usually part of a khantoke style meal. Also transcribed naam phrik noom. 

nahm phrik oung (น้ำพริกอ่อง)

Thai. Name for a northern style dish, made from dried chilies, ground pork, tomatoes, lemongrass and various herbs, which are all pounded and then cooked until the pork is done. Like nahm phrik oung, it is typically eaten with sticky rice, some fresh and steamed vegetables, and crisp pork. It is usually part of a khantoke style meal. Also transcribed naam phrik awng. 

nahm phrik phao (น้ำพริกเผา)

Thai. A sauce made of dried chilies fried in oil, used as a seasoning or relish for food. It is an indispensable condiment of the northern style dish khao soi (fig.). 

nahm phu ron (น้ำพุร้อน)

Thai. ‘Hot spring’. Hot springs arise where accumulated groundwater is heated up by the earth's core at places where the earth's crust is thin enough to allow the water to rapidly rise again. Sometimes this creates geysers spurting out hot water to staggering heights, although many hot springs are at times no more than bubbling wells of hot water. Hot springs usually have hot fumes of sulphur dioxide and are rich of minerals. Many places therefore offer therapeutic baths in cooled down water, while others may sell chicken or quail's eggs to boil (fig.). 

nahm pla (น้ำปลา)

Thai. ‘Fish sauce’. Name of a sauce with a very salty taste used as an important ingredient in most Thai dishes. It is made from fish or other sea creatures, such as prawns or squid, that fermented in salt. In Thai restaurants it is the local equivalent of table salt. It is used as an ingredient in nahm phrik and is always part of the regular kreuang prung

nahm tao (น้ำเต้า)

Thai for ‘calabash’. It's a fruit of a gourd-bearing vine in the family of Cucurbits, in Thai known as taeng. It has a hard but thin skin and when dried completely it can be used a vessel for liquids (fig.). Its shape resembles the number 8. Chinese people call it hu lu and regard it as a symbol for protection (fig.), believing it has the power to save from sickness and pain. They believe it can also safeguard against accidents and evil spirits. In the past physicians would carry medicine with them inside a calabash, hence it became a legendary tool associated with healing. Since then and because of this the Chinese believe the calabash has supernatural shielding and healing powers. Nowadays many often wear a small calabash made from jade (fig.) or wood for safekeeping (fig.), as it is believed it is able to absorb bad qi (chi) and negative energy. In art nahm tao can be made from any material (fig.), including porcelain, bronze, etc. and are often elaborately decorated with Chinese figures or symbols (fig.). Some Chinese deities, e.g. Ji Gong (a luohan - fig.), Li Tieh-kuai (one of the Eight Immortals - fig.), Siw or Shou (the god of longevity and one of the Three Star Gods), carry a calabash with them as a sign of their ability to cure difficult ailments. Besides this the chimneys of some joss paper ovens in Chinese temples and shrines may have the shape of a nahm tao (fig.). In Vietnam, it is called bau (bầu) and is used as part of a traditional instrument named dan bau (fig.). Also called bottle gourd. Compare with kalasa (fig.) and see also phai nahm tao

nahm thuam, Nahm Thuam (น้ำท่วม)

1. Thai term for an ‘inundation’ or ‘flood’. In the rainy season, known as nah fon, roughly from the beginning of June through to the end of September, public lives and traffic (fig.) are often affected by floods, when drainage systems get overloaded and congest due to heavy rainfall, flooding streets and roads in no time. During the rainy season of 2011, many provinces. as well as large parts of Bangkok have suffered from devastating floods (fig.), that have caused damage and hardship, as well as loss of life and property, to a large number of people. This severe flood, and in particular the assistance given to the flood victims by volunteers and relief organizations such as the Thai Red Cross Society, who provided relief efforts and rendered consumables, as well as rehabilitation services in the wake of the floods, was in 2012 remembered with a Thai postage stamp (fig.). See also monsoon and VIDEO

2. Thai. Name of a king, with the title of Phra Chao, who ruled the Lan Na Kingdom for about two years, from 1322 to 1324 AD. He belonged to the House of Mengrai, the Dynasty named after its founder Poh Khun Mengrai (fig.) and which ruled the territory of what is today northern Thailand, from 1296 to 1551 AD autonomously, and from then onward to 1578 AD as a vassal under Burma

nahm thung (น้ำถุ้ง)

Thai. Northern style water bucket, woven from thin strips of bamboo called tok, and patched with resin to prevent if from leaking. It is hemispherical in shape and has a wooden handle made from two slats that cross at the top, reminiscent of the northern style kalae (fig.). It is typically used to fetch or scoop water from a river or well, and often seen used by mahouts when they bathe their elephants in the river (fig.), though it is also used by rice farmers to carry rice seeds when sowing their paddies (fig.), as well as to traditionally decorate certain establishments, such as lodges (fig.). 

nahm tok (น้ำตก)

1. Thai. ‘Waterfall’. Thailand has many waterfalls, mainly in the National Parks. The most well-known are Erawan Waterfall in the province of Kanchanaburi; Thi Loh Suh Waterfall (fig.) in the province of Tak, considered one of the largest and most impressive in the country; the 100 meter high Mae Surin Waterfall in Mae Hong Son province, Na Meuang Waterfall (fig.) on the island of Samui in Surat Thani, Wachirathan Waterfall (fig.), also known as Tahd Khong Yohng (ตาดฆ้องโยง), located on the opposite side of Pha Mon Kaew (ผาม่อนแก้ว), a steep cliff in Doi Inthanon National Park (fig.), in the province of Chiang Mai; the unique Long Roo or Moonshine Waterfall (map - fig.) in Ubon Ratchathani, that falls from a cavity in the face of a gorge-like cliff in Pha Taem National Park (fig.); Phliw Waterfall in Chantaburi (map - fig.), and many more. Also transcribed nahmtok. See also POSTAGE STAMPS (1) and (2)

2. Thai. Name of a dish served with charcoaled meat, chicken or fish, and a spicy sauce called jaew (แจ่ว), which is made with pulverized, roasted sticky rice (khao niauw kua), fish sauce, lime juice, ground dried chilies, crushed parsley, garlic, shallots and sometimes spring onions. The sauce is mixed with the meat and usually fresh mint leaves (fig.) are also added. This dish originates from Isaan and is traditionally eaten with sticky rice. 

3. Thai. Name of a street-side noodle soup from central Thailand, which consists of a spicy broth enriched with raw animal blood mixed with salt, especially of cows or pigs, and which is also known as guay tiyaw nahm tok. Besides noodles, the soup contains sliced meat and usually also look chin (fig.), soybean sprouts (fig.), pieces of liver, some green vegetables such as kaphrao (basil) leaves, and sometimes kiyaw (fig.) and blood tofu (fig.). It can further be spiced up with kreuang prung, in accordance with one's own taste. Usually kaeb moo or crispy pork cracklings (fig.) are served with the dish, or in it. 

nahm ton (น้ำต้น)

Thai name for a kind of vase-like water pot used for storing drinking water, with an elongated neck and sometimes closed off with a disconnect lid, which is habitually bell-shaped or tapering and decorated with a lotus bud-shaped handgrip. Its shape is reminiscent of a calabash, which is called nahm tao in Thai and that is also used to store water. Hence, it is believed that the shape of the nahm ton initially derived from the calabash, although nowadays the nahm ton is produced in a variety of different forms. It originally comes from northern Thailand, where it is typically used ceremonially, i.e. together with bowls and plates of food and placed on khantoke floor tables, either to welcome guests or as a food offering. It is generally made from terracotta, though it may occasionally be made from another material, such as lacquered wood. In a more elaborate form it may even be decorated with mother-of-pearl (fig.). 

nahm yah (น้ำยา)

1. Thai name for Chinese herbal tea. There are several varieties that differ in level of bitterness, including bitter tea, twenty-four tea, lo han guo tea and gherrysanthamun tea. This herbal extract that serves as an invigorating tonic can be found at Chinese herbal stores in Bangkok's Chinatown. 

2. Thai. Fish soup eaten with kanom jihn. 

Nahrot Chadok (นารทชาดก)

Thai-Sanskrit. Name for one of the Totsachat, i.e. life stories of the ten last incarnations of the Buddha, in which the bodhisattva was born as Nahrot, a form of Brahma. READ ON

nai (นาย)

Thai for ‘mister, man or boy’. Generally used in a rather poetic context, but also in front of men's names. It is the masculine equivalent of nang and may also be transliterated naay.

nai (ไน)

Thai name for spinning wheel, a usually hand powered household device used for winding skein (loosely-coiled bundles of yarn or thread) of cotton or silk onto a reel which is afterward placed in a krasuay (fig.), a shuttle used for weaving cloth (fig.). A nai consists of a base with legs and a spindle driven by a large wheel with a crank or treadle. A piece of yarn forms a connection linking the wheel with the spindle, thus driving both when the wheel is turned. The skein is tied to the reel which is placed on the spindle, a small axle of steel called leknai (fig.) in Thai. When the driving wheel is revolved the spindle will rotate at high-speed, coiling up the yarn. More modern versions are made of steel (fig.). It was originally depicted on the flag of India, but was later replaced by the Ashoka Chakra, i.e. a 24-spoked dharmachakra (fig.). Also called lah

Nai Amphur (นายอำเภอ)

Thai for ‘Prefect’, the person holding the position of chief local administrative officer. He (nai) is the person in command of the government officials in a district responsible for the administration of that district, which is known in Thai as an amphur. Also transliterated Nai Ampheu. 

Naihe Qiao (奈何桥)

Chinese. Bridge of No Avail’. Chinese name for the Bridge of Troubled Water

Nai Luang (ในหลวง)

Thai for ‘King’, a designation mostly used when speaking of, or referring to, contemporary monarchs. See also kasat.

Nairit (ไนรฤติ)

Thai pronunciation for Nairitti. 

Nairitti (नैरृती)

Sanskrit. Guardian or lokapala of the Southwest (fig.) and god of the sun, sometimes represented with a halo and a lotus in each hand. He drives a chariot pulled by seven horses (fig.), steered by his charioteer Aruna, who drives him across the sky and over the horizon, thus causing dawn. Also transcribed Nairriti, and in Thai known as Phra Ahtit or as Nairit. See also Surya. 


See Nairitti. 

nakabaat (นาคบาศ)

See nagabaat. 

Nakarin (นาคินทร์)

Thai. ‘King of Snakes’ or ‘Serpent King’, a designation sometimes used for the Phayanaag or Phayanagaraat (fig.), i.e. the Naga King’. It is a compound which derives from the words naak, i.e. Thai for naga, and In, Thai for Indra’, as he Naga King is believed to be a form of Indra

Nakarin (นครินทร์, ณครินทร์)

Thai designation meaning either ‘Governor’ or ‘Great City’. It is a compound which derives from the Sanskrit word nagara —in Thai called nakhon— and In, which is a Thai name for Indra, but also means ‘Big’ or ‘Great’, a term referring mostly to a person, but it may also be used for a place. See also Sri Nagarindra

nakatayah amih myah (နက္ခတ်တာရာအမည်များ)

Burmese. ‘Names of the Planets’. Chart with a legend explaining the 38 astronomical symbols on the convex ceiling of the inner sanctum (fig.) at Maha Wizaya Zedi in Yangon (fig.). 

nakhon (นคร)

Thai. ‘City’, as in Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya. Derived from the Sanskrit word nagara. 

Nakhon Chai Sri (นครชัยศรี)

1. Thai. A regional name of the Tha Chin River used near Nakhon Pathom, roughly between Suphanburi, where it is known by the local name Suphan River and Samut Sakon, the only place where the river is indeed known as the Tha Chin River. 

2. Thai. Name of an amphur or district in Nakhon Pathom

Nakhon Nayok (นครนายก)

1. Thai. ‘First City’ or ‘Leading City’. Name of a province (map). READ ON

2. Thai. Name of a river in eastern Thailand. It originates in Khao Yai National Park and is about 130 kilometers long. It flows southwestward, to the tambon Bang Taen (บางแตน) in the amphur Ban Sang (บ้านสร้าง) of Prachinburi Province, where it joins the Prachinburi River to become the Bang Pakong River

Nakhon Pathom (นครปฐม)

Thai. ‘First city’. Derived from the Pali name ‘Nagara Pathama’ and considered to be Thailand's oldest city and once the centre of the Dvaravati empire. READ ON

Nakhon Phanom (นครพนม)

Thai-Sanskrit-Khmer. ‘City of hills’. A provincial capital in Northeast Thailand with a population of around 34,000 and situated approximately 740 kms from Bangkok. READ ON

Nakhon Ratchasima (นครราชสีมา)

Thai. A large provincial capital in Northeast Thailand (Isaan) with a population of approximately 203,000 and located 259 kms from Bangkok. READ ON. 

Nakhon Sawan (นครสวรรค์)

Thai. ‘Heavenly City’. Large capital of a province (map) of the same name in Central Thailand. READ ON

Nakhon Sri Thammarat (นครศรีธรรมราช)

The provincial capital of a province (map) of the same name in South Thailand, 780 kms South of Bangkok. READ ON

Nakhon Thom (นครธม)

Thai name for Angkor Thom in Cambodia

Nakhon Wat (นครวัด)

Thai name for Angkor Wat in Cambodia

naki (นาคี)

1. Thai for snake’. 

2. Thai for ‘elephant’. 

nak muay (นักมวย)

Thai. ‘Boxer’, especially in muay thai. The official fighting colours used by the nak muay are red or blue, with the one in red usually being the better boxer, with more fights won. 

Nakula (नकुल, นกุละ)

1. Sanskrit-Thai. ‘Mongoose’. Name of one of the eighteen arahats, who formerly was a warrior with immense strength. He gave up the life of fighting and became a monk. Quietly cultivating his mind through deep and constant meditation, he finally attained Enlightenment. He is considered one of the Buddha's favourite disciples and his sphere of influence is said to have extended through all of India. He is usually portrayed as seated in meditation with a peaceful countenance and a small alms bowl in his lap, thus indicating that he is a mendicant monk. Sometimes, he is portrayed as a teacher, with a small boy by his side and holding a prakam, a string of beads used in Buddhism. On other occasions he is depicted with a mongoose, a reference to his name, or with chanchu, the three-legged moon toad. In Chinese he is known as the luohan Jing Zuo (静坐, or in traditional Chinese: 靜坐), literally ‘Still Seated’ or ‘Quietly Sitting’, while in Vietnam, he is known as Tinh Toa La Han (Tĩnh Tọa La Hn) and may be depicted seated on a horse (fig.). In English, he is referred to as the Meditating Lohan or the Silently Seated Arhat. In Thai, his name is pronounced Nagula, but he is also known by the name Yahsaloh (ยาสะโล). Also Vakula and Pakula. 

2. Sanskrit. ‘The Charming One. Name of one of the Pandavas, i.e. the fourth son of Pandu, and the older twin brother of Sahadeva. His mother was Madri and his godly father the Ashwin twin Nasatya. He was attractive, humble, diplomatic and helpful, and an excellent sword fighter, who conquered the western direction. Being a son of one of the Ashwin twins, he was also a master of chariot and horse riding. 


A staircase in Indian architecture. 

Nalagiri (नालागिरी, नालागिरि)

Sanskrit. ‘Tube Mountain’, with the word nala meaning ‘tube’ and giri meaning ‘mountain’, akin to the Thai word khiri (คีรี), yet the word nala is also the name of an ‘instrument for perforating an elephant's ear’. Nalagiri is the name of the elephant that was calmed by the Buddha when it was made drunk with toddy and set loose by his jealous nephew Devadatta, in order to kill the Enlightened One when he was on alms round. The ferocious and intoxicated elephant made all people flee at its sight. Yet, the Buddha kept on walking, although Ananda tried to prevent and protect him. Approaching the elephant the Buddha touched the advancing animal on the forehead and gently stroked it. Calmed by the Buddha, the elephant bowed down on its knees, before him. The confrontation took place in Rajagaha, the capital of the Kingdom of Magadha and a major city of ancient India. Some sources suggest that the name Nalagiri might mean ‘black mountain’, said to be a common reference to elephants in some places and which in Sanskrit would then be pronounced Nilagiri (नीलगिरी). Besides this, Nalagiri is also called Nalgiri and sometimes referred to as Dhanapala. 

naligah (นาฬิกา)

Thai for ‘clock’, i.e. a device also known as a timepiece or watch, used for measuring time, as well as a classifier for time itself, used to indicate the hour, as in o'clock. The term is also used in compound words, such as naligah daed, i.e. ‘sundial’ (fig.), and ho naligah, i.e. ‘clock tower’ (fig.). 

naligah daed (นาฬิกาแดด)

Thai. ‘Sunlight clock’. Thai term for a sundial, i.e. a device that tells the time of day by the position of the sun. READ ON

nal mandapa

Portico above a staircase. See also nal and mandapa. 

namadsakahn (นมัสการ)

Thai. Another word for wai or phranommeua. The term can also be translated as ‘to worship’ or ‘to pay homage’, as well as ‘to make a pilgrimage’. It correspondents with a mudra known in Sanskrit as namaskara and which represents prayer.

Nan (น่าน)

1. Thai. ‘Territory’. A province (map) in North Thailand with a capital of the same name that has a population of approximately 25,000 and is situated 668 kms from Bangkok. READ ON

2. Thai. Name of a river in northern Thailand that near Nakhon Sawan merges with the rivers Yom (fig.), Wang (fig.) and Ping (fig.), thus forming the Chao Phraya River (fig.). 

Nanak Dev

The founder of the Sikh faith in the late 15th century. Born in 1469 he passed away in 1539 at the age of seventy. He is considered the apostle of peace and the first guru of modern thinkers in India. 

Nan Chao (น่านเจ้า, 南诏)

Thai-Chinese name of a well-organized, quasi military polity, that flourished during the 8th and 9th centuries, in what is now part of southern China and northern Southeast Asia. READ ON. 

Nandi (नन्दि)

Sanskrit. ‘Joy’. The bull, or ‒according to some texts‒ buffalo (fig.), that serves as the vehicle of the god Shiva (fig.). The Zebu or Holy Cow is the first creature that surfaced during he Churning of the Ocean of Milk (fig.) and is hence sometimes depicted on waves of milk (fig.). It is symbol of fertility as well as of male strength, virility, and potency. This is symbolized in the hump on the back of Zebu bulls (fig.), which is said to represent a linga (fig.), i.e. an ancient Hindu fertility symbol in the form of a phallus. It is often seen in Khmer temples, facing the direction of the main sanctuary. In murals, it is usually depicted with a white complexion. Also Nandin, and in Thai Nondi or Nontih. See also Nandi mandapa. 

Nandi Baba (नंदी बाबा)

Hindi. Daddy or Granddaddy Nandi, as well as Father or Granddad Joy. Name given to an actual existing bull in the contemporary Indian city of Varanasi (fig.)that is named after Nandi, the mount of Shiva (fig.), and which has an extraordinary story with a unique daily routine. READ ON

Nandikesvara (नन्दिकईश्वर)

Sanskrit. ‘Lord of Nandi’. A form of Shiva popular in Java. His attributes are a lotus bud, a jar and a trident. He appears as guardian of gates, sometimes accompanied by Nandi. 

Nandi mandapa (नन्दिमण्डप)

Sanskrit. Porch or pavilion used in ancient Khmer temples to shelter a statue of Nandi and which was faced in the direction of the main sanctuary. 

Nandimitra (नन्दिमित्र, นนทิมิตร)

Sanskrit-Thai. ‘Friend of Joy’, sometimes translated as ‘Happy Friend’. Name of one of the candidates for inclusion as the 17th or 18th arahat, generally portrayed in company of a small dragon by his feet, by some understood to be a symbol of the deepest inner motivations which he subdues. In his hands he holds the spiritual pearl and a small bowl, which is sometimes understood to represent a chintamani, i.e. a wishing gem. According to one legend, when the people of a small kingdom went on a rampage against the Buddhist monasteries and stole the sutras, which ended up in the palace of an undersea king, Nandimitra subdued the dragon guard and restored the sutras back to earth. Hence, he is referred to as Dragon Subduing Arhat or Taming Dragon Lohan. Since there were initially only sixteen arahats, he is seen as a guest arahat and is the author of the ‘Record of the Perpetuity of the Dhamma which describes the initial Sixteen Arhats. In Thai his name can be pronounced Nonthimit or Nanthimitra, but he is also known as kilih (คีลี). In Chinese, he is known as the luohan Jiang Long (降龙, or in traditional Chinese: 降龍), literally ‘Lower [the] Dragon’ or ‘Descend [to the] Dragon’, and in Vietnamese, he is called Hang Long La Han (Hng Long La Hn - fig.). In Pali his name is Nantimitolo. However, the name Nandimitra is occasionally also used for Subinda, the Pagoda Holding Arhat (fig.). If so, Nandimitra is then in the listing referred to by the name Nantimitolo. 

Nandin (नन्दिन्)

See Nandi. 

nan feng (男风)

Chinese. ‘Male wind’. A Chinese idiom that denotes a fashion of forming male company, including intimate relations. It may however suggests male chauvinism with an ability to exclude the female. In Pinyin nn fēng. See also long yang. 

nang (หนัง)

Thai. ‘Hide, peel, skin’. Name used for an art form in which leather, usually that of a water buffalo is cut in the form of figures (fig.), often with religious and mythological themes, which are used for decoration or in shadow play. The term is thus also used for shadow puppets, which are also referred to as nang thalung (fig.) and nang yai (fig.), depending on the type, as well as for shadow puppet theatres, which are generally known as rohng nang (โรงหนัง). After the popularity of shadow plays declined and had to give way to the arrival of motion picture, the term nang developed to also mean ‘movie’ or ‘film’, used alongside the terms phaap-a-yon (ภาพยนตร์) and jo ngeun (จอเงิน), which mean ‘moving pictures’ and ‘silver screen’ respectively.

nang (นาง)

Thai for ‘lady, woman or girl’. Generally used in a rather poetic context but also in front of women's names, as in Nang Nophamat. It is the feminine equivalent of nai and may also be transliterated naang. 

Nang Kaew Nah Mah (นางแก้วหน้าม้า)

Name of a Thai folktale about an ugly girl, with a face like that of a horse (mah), who fell deeply in love with a prince, who rejects her because of her horse-like face. Due to her kindness and her unconditional true love to the prince, an angel transforms her into a beautiful woman. Eventually, the prince falls for her and they lived happily together. The moral of the story is that one should not judge people by their appearances. See also POSTAGE STAMP

nang klahng plaeng (หนังกลางแปลง)

Thai. ‘Movie in open air’. Term for outdoor cinema, which in Thailand is in general carried out by a travelling movie company, that produces a movie onto a giant screen from the truck it also travels in. Showing only Thai movies and sometimes low-budget foreign movies (usually Chinese) dubbed in Thai, the genre has only few admirers, yet for them it has become a kind of cult. See also POSTAGE STAMP. 

Nang Kwak (นางกวัก)

Thai. ‘Beckoning Lady’. Female statue (nang) with one or both (fig.) arms raised and summoning with her hand(s) as if to gesture or to beckon (kwak). She invites happiness and good fortune and is often found displayed in shops to attract good business. Usually portrayed with a large purse full of money. Compare with Maew Kwak and Maneki-neko. 

Nang Laweng (นางละเวง)

Thai. Name of the daughter of the King of Langka, who set out to seek revenge for the death of her brother Utsaren. She fell in love with Prince Phra Aphaimanih (fig.) and eventually became his second human wife, the prince's earlier human wife being Nang Suwanna Malih (fig.), the daughter of the King of Crystal Island. Besides this, the prince also had two non-human wifes, i.e. the ogress Nang Phi Seua Samut (fig.), with whom he had the son Sin Samut; and the mermaid Nang Ngeuak, with whom he had his son Sut Saakhon (fig.). Nang Laweng appears on the last stamp in a series of eight Thai postage stamps issued in 2009 to publicize the story of Phra Aphaimanih as a major literary work of the Rattanakosin Era (fig.). In full known as Nang Laweng Wanla (นางละเวงวัณฬา).

Nang Nophamat (นางนพมาศ)

The daughter of a brahman priest and a lady at the court of King Phra Ruang of Sukhothai, who developed a new style of lotus flower which were to be floated on the streaming waters at night to please the king. They probably lay at the origin of the present-day krathong used during the Loi Krathong festival. 

Nang Phim (นางพิมพ์)

Thai. ‘Lady Print’. Abbreviation for Nang Phimphilalai. 

Nang Phimphilalai (นางพิมพิลาไลย)

Thai. Another name for Wanthong, a character from the story Khun Chang Khun Paen, who is also often referred to by an abbreviation of this name, i.e. Nang Phim. Nang Phimphilalai is depicted on the fourth design of a set of four postage stamps (fig.) on the story, issued in 2011 to mark National Children's Day.

nang pla thod krob (หนังปลาทอดกรอบ)

Thai. ‘Crispy fried fish skin’. A snack consisting of deep fried fish skin, which can be dipped in either a sweet-and-sour nahm phrik sauce or a spicy nahm jim kai sauce. Also fishbones are fried, salted and consumed in the same manner. Those are known in Thai as kaang pla thod (fig.). Basically, this snack can be made of any find of fish and is a specialty, as well as a khong dee product from both Ayutthaya and Samut Prakan. Also called nang pla krob or nang pla thod. 

Nang Rakasot Thewi (นางรากษสเทวี)

Thai. One of the seven Nang Songkraan, i.e. the one who is celebrated if Songkraan is on a Tuesday, which is also indicated by the pink colour of her dress, in line with the traditional sih prajam wan system. Her attributes are a trisula (officially held in the right hand) and a bow (formally held in the left hand), her mount is a pig or varaha, and her jewel a moonstone. She has the same name in Lan Na culture. See also POSTAGE STAMPS and TRAVEL PICTURE.

Nang Songkraan (นางสงกรานต์)

Thai. ‘Miss Songkraan’ or ‘Songkraan Ladies’. (One of) the seven daughters of Tao Kabin Maha Phrom. READ ON.

Nang Suwanna Malih (นางสุวรรณมาลี)

Name of a female character in the story Phra Aphaimanih (fig.). She is the daughter of the King of Crystal Island, with whom Phra Aphaimanih fell in love. However, Nang Suwanna Malih had already been engaged to someone else from the island of Langka and their love affair started a conflict that developed into a full-scale war between the two islands, that lasted for many years and only ended when Nang Laweng (fig.), the daughter of the King of Langka, fell in love with Phra Aphaimanih. After the war, Prince Phra Aphaimanih ordained as a monk and Nang Suwanna Malih and Nang Laweng both follow him in his ascetic life. Also spelled Nang Suwanna Malee.

nang thalung (หนังตะลุง)

Thai. A puppet theatre consisting of a shadow play in which the shadow of a figure, cut from a piece of leather or dried hide (nang) in the shape of a human form (fig.), is projected onto a screen (fig.). Its stories are usually based on the Ramakien and so are the protagonists (fig.), though there are also characters from religion, such Idsuan (fig.), who is typically portrayed riding on the Usupharaj bull Nandi (fig.), as well as its own characters, such as Prai Nah Bot (fig.), i.e. the preluder who represents the performer who recites the invocation, introduces what follows and gives comments on certain issues to the audience, and characters from folklore, such as reusi (fig.) and tua talok characters, who are typically depicted with his one hand shaped as a human penis (fig.), etc. See also nang yai. 

Nang Usa-Thao Barot (นางอุษา-ท้าวบารส)

Thai. Name of a folk tale that is set in Udonthani and which describes the love story between Nang Usa and Thao Barot. READ ON.

nang yai (หนังใหญ่)

Thai. A kind of entertainment similar to nang thalung, but larger. It uses large sheets of leather cowhide (nang) elaborately carved into framed images, often from the Ramakien. Either side has a wooden handle to hold the image up and to prevent the leather sheet from bending. The figures are manipulated in front of an illuminated backdrop, accompanied by an orchestra called pih phaat. Wat Khanon in Ratchaburi is home to the Nang Yai Museum, which houses a large collection of leather nang yai sheets with scenes and characters from the Ramakien that are displayed against white sheets and light boxes (fig.). Nang yai images were depicted on a set of four Thai postage stamps issued in 1998 (fig.) in order to promote the Visit Thailand Year, as well as in 1969 (fig.). 

Nan Gyi Thohk (နန်းကြီးသုပ်‌)

Burmese. ‘Thick Noodle Salad’. Name of a Shan inspired dish similar to Shwe Taung Noodles (fig.), but which uses thicker noodles and without crackers

Nankarine (နံကရိုင်း)

Burmese. Name a female buffalo, who is said to have raised a prince who got lost in the wilderness, according to one version, she nursed two princes, namely the brothers Thamala and Wimala, the founders of Hanthawaddy, i.e. the later Pegu and present-day Bago. Afterwards, the prince(s) was/were found by some soldiers and returned to the palace, wherein the buffalo followed them and rammed through the palace gates to get to her stepchild(ren). As a consequence, she was killed by the guards and became the nat Nankarine Medaw (fig.), who is also known as Pegu Medaw (fig.). Also transliterated Nankaraing. 

Nankarine Medaw (နံကရိုင်းမယ်တော်)

Burmese. Another name for the nat Pegu Medaw, after the female buffalo Nankarine. See also LIST OF BURMESE NATS. 

Nan Phaya Kyaung (နန်းဘုရားကျောင်း)

Burmese name of a 11th century AD temple in the village of Myinkaba, near Bagan. READ ON. 

nan se (男色)

Chinese. ‘Male beauty’. A Chinese idiom that refers to the seductive features in boys and men which on occasion may be even somewhat feminine. In Pinyin nn s. The term is comparable with the Thai word kathoey. See also long yang and duan xiu. 

Narai (นารายณ์)

1. Thai. An earlier incarnation of Rama, an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu. He dwells in the Waikuhn heaven and is called Narayana in Sanskrit. See also Phra Narai. MORE ON THIS. 

2. King and ruler of Ayutthaya (fig.), from 1656 until his death in Lopburi (map - fig.), in 1688, during the revolt of Ayutthaya. He is one of the Great Kings in Thai history referred to as a Maha Raj. As such, his statue (fig.) is included in the monument at Uthayaan Rachaphak (fig.). Also Phra Naraiyamaharaat (fig.). 

Narai banthom sin (นารายณ์ บรรทมสินธุ์)

Thai-rajasap. ‘Narai sleeping on the ocean’. Thai term for Vishnu Anantasayin (fig.), which is usually referred to as just Anantasayin. 

Narai plaeng son (นารายณ์แผลงศร)

Thai. ‘Narai shooting an arrow’. Common name for the depiction of Vishnu, Rama or Narai with a bow. See also Narai song peun and yoksorn (fig.). 

Narai song peun (นารายณ์ทรงปืน)

Thai. ‘Narai with a weapon’. Portrayal of Vishnu, Rama or Narai with a bow (fig.). See also Narai plaeng son and yoksorn (fig.). 

naraka (नरक)

Sanskrit. ‘Hell’. The Thai word narok derives from it. In Pali, the hell is called niraya. 

Narapati Sithu (နရပတိ စည်သူ)

Burmese. Name of a 12th Century AD King of Pagan. He reigned  from 1174 to 1211 AD and is regarded the last important ruler of Pagan. His reign was peaceful and prosperous, allowing Burmese culture to rise and ultimately emerge from the shadows of the earlier Pyu and Mon cultures, its script even replacing that of the two latter, while the term Mranma (Myanma) was beginning to be used overtly. With his  leadership unquestioned, the Pagan Empire reached its peak during his reign, and would decline gradually after his demise. In 1183 AD, King Narapati Sithu had Sulamani Phaya (fig.) built. See also Aungzwamagyi and Shwe Indein Zedi

Narasimha (नरसिंह)

Sanskrit. ‘Man-lion’. The fourth avatar of Vishnu with the body of a man and the head of a lion (fig.). In this incarnation, he killed the Rakshasa Hiranyakashipu, as the latter wanted to revenge his brother Hiranyaksha, whom was killed by the boar Varaha (fig.), the third and previous avatar of Vishnu. See also reusi nah seua (fig.). In Pali called Narasingha and in Thai Norasingh


Pali. ‘Man-lion’. See Narasimha. 

Narathip Phongpraphan (นราธิปพงศ์ประพันธ์)

Another name of Prince Wan Waithayakon. Also spelled Naradhip Bongsprabandh. 

Narathiwat (นราธิวาส)

Thai. ‘Residence of wise people’. Name of a province and its provincial capital in South Thailand. READ ON

Narayana (नारायण)

Sanskrit. ‘Path of man’. In Hindu mythology it is the name of the god of creation, later synonymous with the god Brahma and even later it became another name for the Hindu god Vishnu. Also Phra Narai. 

Naresuan (นเรศวร)

King of Ayutthaya, who ruled from 1590 until 1605. He was born in Phitsanulok in 1555, a son to King Maha Thammaracha and his principal wife and Queen Wisutkasattri, the daughter of King Chakkraphat. He was taken to Burma as a hostage, so that his father, who had been put on the throne by the Burmese after they had conquered Ayutthaya in 1569, would be a loyal vassal to Burma. Naresuan stayed in Burma for seven years what probably made him the only Siamese King who ever could speak Burmese. In 1571 the Burmese King Bayinnaung (fig.) allowed him to return home in exchange for his sister, Princess Suphankalaya. Despite his young age (16 years) his father sent him to the northern town of Phitsanulok to govern the region also making him heir to the throne of Ayutthaya. He played a key role in the defense of Ayutthaya, against both Burmese and Khmer attacks. These Khmer invasions gave the Siamese an excuse to mobilize troops and increase their weaponry, without arousing suspicion with the Burmese and allowing the Siamese-Burmese conflict to escalate into a war of independence. In a duel on elephants (fig.) during the 1593 (fig.) Battle of Nong Sarai (map - fig.), he defeated Minchit Sra, the Burmese crown prince and a grandson of Bayinnuang, the King of Pegu, and in doing so liberated Ayutthaya from the yoke of Burma. During his reign he consolidated his kingdom and tried to expand its borders (fig.). He died age 50 at Meuang Hang in the Shan states while leading a campaign to forestall the Burmese takeover of that region in 1605. He is considered one of the Great Kings in Thai history (fig.) referred to as a Maha Raj, and hence also called Phra Naresuan Maha Raj or Somdet Phra Chao Naresuan Maha Raj. As such, his statue (fig.) is included in the monument at Uthayaan Rachaphak (fig.). He is further immortalized in several statues (fig.) and memorials, such as the King Naresuan Memorial (map - fig.) in Ayutthaya. He was a huge enthusiast of cock fighting (kaanchon kai - fig.) and at shrines devoted to him one will generally find stone sculptures of cocks, often placed there as offerings (fig.). See also list of Thai Kings. MORE ON THIS

Naret Worarit (นเรศร์ วรฤทธิ์)

Thai. Name of the 17th child and 8th son of King Mongkut, the fourth monarch of the Chakri dynasty with the crown title Rama IV. The prince was born on 7 May 1855 as Kritsadahphinihaan (กฤดาภินิหาร). The prince held several important government positions under his brother King Rama V, having served as Ambassador to the United Kingdom and to the United States of America, Minister of Public Works, and Minister of the Metropolitan Police, whilst during the reign of King Rama VI, he was Advisory Minister and served as Minister of the Murathathorn. After a 1890 visit to Singapore with King Chulalongkorn, he reorganized the police after the Singaporean model and later developed it into the current Royal Thai Police. He passed away on 20 August 1925 and is remembered as a royal member who made a great contribution to the nation. He is commemorated as a prominent personage on a Thai postage stamp issued in 2012 (fig.) His name is also transliterated Nares Varariddhi. 

Naret Worarit

nariphon (นารีพล)

Pali-Thai. ‘Women fruit’. Name for a fabulous tree that yields fruits in the shape of fairy-like beings, who offer erotic pleasure. These pixies grow from this tree's branches, ready to be picked off by sexually frustrated hunters. However, it can only be found in Himaphan forest. These special fragrant ‘flowers’ are described as 16 year old girls, with skins reminiscent of ripe maprahng plums (fig.), large sapphire blue eyes with golden irises, 45 degrees falcate noses, golden hair with at the top a crown-like tuft, connecting eyebrows, and very soft bodies as they have no skeleton, yet with all five sensual desires, i.e. shape, sound, smell, taste and feeling, just ideal. Some sources relate that the tree is looked after by sages called reusi (fig.), and that it is sometimes used as a tool in meditation. Often transcribed nariphol and also known as makkariphon (fig.) and makkaliphon. 

Narisara Nuwattiwong (นริศรานุวัดติวงศ์)

A younger brother of King Rama V, who is best known for his artistic talent, both as a designer and composer. His architectural work includes the designs of Wat Benjamabophit, i.e. the Marble Temple in Bangkok (fig.); the seal of Bangkok (fig.), i.e. the image of Indra riding on the elephant Erawan (fig.); the Pig Memorial (fig.); besides several government buildings, while his most notable contribution in music is as the author of the earlier lyrics of the Royal Hymn, known in Thai as Phleng Sansaroen Phra Barami. His name is also transcribed Narisara Nuvativongse and in English texts he is often referred to as Prince Naris. He was born on 28 April 1863 and passed away on 10 March 1947 at the age of 83. See also POSTAGE STAMPS (1) and (2)

narok (นรก)

Thai term referring to ‘hell’, a place comparable with Christian purgatory. READ ON

nat (နတ်)

A Burmese spirit similar to the Thai chao thi and which can be both a nature spirit and a spirit from mythology (fig.), especially the spirit of someone who met a violent and unjust or untimely death. READ ON

Nataraja (नटराज)

Sanskrit. ‘Dancer-king’. A depiction of Shiwa as the ‘Lord of Dance’, standing on one leg with the other in the air. It represents cosmic truth and energy, i.e. the destructive energy with which Nataraja dances at the end of each cosmic age. Hence, his cosmic dance symbolizes creation, preservation and destruction at the same time, and is the source of all movement within the cosmos, the latter being represented by the arch of flames. The purpose of the cosmic dance, which Shiva performed in Chidambaram in South India and which by some Hindus is regarded as the centre of the universe, is to release men from the illusion of the physical world and of the idea of Self. Nataraja is always represented in the Chaturbuja style, i.e. with four arms, and whilst he holds three arms stretched out, the fourth one is held across the chest in the gajahasta or elephant trunk pose, with the wrist limp and the fingers are pointed downward, toward the uplifted foot. The gestures of the dance represent Shiva’s five activities, i.e. Creation, which is symbolized by the hourglass-shaped bando-drum (fig.); Protection, which is represented by the abhaya mudra (fig.); Destruction, symbolized by the fire of Agni that cleanses sins and removes illusion; Embodiment, indicated by the one foot planted on a midget (fig.), i.e. the dwarf-demon Apasmara, who represents ignorance and thus by subduing him allowing the birth of knowledge; and Release, which is represented by the foot held aloft, and is said to grant eternal bliss to those who approach him. He also wears a snake coiled around his upper arms and neck, which −due to their natural process of molting or shedding their skin− symbolizes reincarnation, i.e. the transmigration of the soul from one body to another. Statues of Nataraja are worshipped in most Hindu temples (fig.). See also kalachakra, tandava and hiranyagarbha

nataya (นาฏย)

A Thai term meaning ‘concerning dance’, as well as ‘regarding drama’ or ‘about stage performance’, which derived from Sanskrit. See also Nataraja, a name used for the Hindu god Shiwa as ‘Lord of Dance’. 

Nathlaung Kyaung (နတ်လှောင်ကျောင်း)

Burmese. ‘Shrine Confining Nats or ‘Monastery Holding Spirits’. Name of a Hindu temple in Bagan dedicated to the god Vishnu and located inside the city walls of old Bagan. READ ON.

National Bird

See nok prajam chaht

National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission

See Samnakngaan Khannakammakaan Kitjakaan Krajaai Siang Kitjakaan Thorasap Lae Kitjakaan Thorakhammanahkhom Haeng Chaat

National Gallery

The National Gallery compiles and displays both classical and temporary art of renowned Thai artists for anyone with an interest in art. It also exhibits oil paintings made by King Bhumipon. It was inaugurated on 8 August 1977 by princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and is located at the Phra Pin Klao bridge near Sanam Luang. Officially, it is known as The National Gallery and in Thai it is referred to as Phiphithaphan Sathaan Haeng Chaht Ho Silp (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติ หอศิลป). It is housed in the building that between 1902 and 1968 accommodated the Royal Mint of Thailand, which today has been relocated to Pathum Thani (fig.). See MAP

National Hymn

See Phleng Chaht Thai. 

National Institute of Development Administration

Name of a public graduate university in Bangkok's Bangkapi district. It is considered one of the three leading institutions of higher learning in Thailand, together with the Chulalongkorn University (fig.) and the Thammasat University (fig.). It was founded in 1966 and is best known to the greater public by its acronym NIDA. Among its notable alumni are several professors and politicians, including Somchai Wongsawat, who was briefly Prime Minister of Thailand in 2008. See also List of Thai Prime Ministers, POSTAGE STAMP, and MAP. 

National Memorial

A 38 rai museum in Pathum Thani under the supervision of the Armed Forces Education Department, Supreme Command Headquarters. It is a memorial praising the military deeds of Thai historical heroes, providing information on Thai history and major Thai battles, including Thai military missions abroad. The exhibition consists of dioramas and photos, as well as narrative explanations. On display are decommissioned military weapons and other hardware (fig.), the evolution of uniforms and ranking insignias, visual representations of major battles, and the story from the Sukhothai to the Rattanakosin period. The National Memorial is located in the tambon Khu Khot (คูคต) of the amphur Lam Luhk Kah, just across Bangkok's northern provincial border, where the Phahonyothin and Wibhawadi Rangsit Roads join. In Thai called Anuson Sathaan Haeng Chaht. See MAP.

National Memorial

National Museum

There are several National Museums throughout the Kingdom of Thailand, all named National Museum, followed by the name of their location, i.e. National Museum Nan, National Museum Sukhothai, National Museum Bangkok, etc. However, in English, the location sometimes precedes the name, e.g. Nan National Museum (map - fig.). Of those, the National Museum of Bangkok (map) is the largest museum in Southeast Asia and was founded in 1874 by King Rama V. It is housed in the former Wang Nah Palace, originally the residence of the Krom Phra Rachawang Bowon Sathaan Mongkon and part of Phra Rachawang, the Grand Palace. It served as a royal residence for 5 prince viceroys, until King Rama V eliminated this position. The musem features objects from Thai art and history, from the Sukhothai to the Rattanakosin period, as well as items and representations from the pre-Thailand period. It also exhibits sculptures from elsewhere in Asia, including one of the earliest Buddha images in the Gandhara style from India. The museum consists of several wings, including the Raja Ratha Hall, which is home to objects related to royal funerals, such as several Rajarot and koht, i.e. royal funeral carts and royal urns (fig.), as well as royal palanquins called rachakaanhaam (fig.). The museum used to have free English, German, French and Japanese language tours given by volunteers, but nowadays the museum has fitted most displays with QR Codes that can be scanned for more detailed information. In Thai, it is called Phiphithaphan Haeng Chaht (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติ). 

National Telecommunications Commission

See Samnakngaan Khannakammakaan Kitjakaan Thorakhammanahkhom Haeng Chaat

National Theatre

The first theatre in Bangkok, which stages Thai classical performances of both khon and lakhon, as well as Thai classical music. The theatre developed from the Fine Arts Department of Theatre and Dance music, when the latter in 1932 received the transfer of this performing art from the Bureau of the Royal Palace, when the present National Theatre did not yet exist. The first performances were held in a hall known as the Fine Arts Theatre, but this hall was destroyed by fire on 9 November 1960. The next year, construction of the National Theatre began, which lasted about 4 years. The National Theatre was officially opened on 23 December 1965 by then Prime Minister Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn. In Thai, it is called rohng lakhon haeng chaht. See MAP

Nat Kadaw (နတ်ကတော်)

Burmese. ‘Spirit Consort’. Term for a spirit medium, often someone who pretends to go into a trance, and who is also referred to as a nat dancer. The dancer is typically either a girl or woman, or a gay boy. He or she is considered a consort and servant of a certain spirit or nat, and performs especially during the festival of Nat Pwe by making a spiritual dance which may be joined by devotees who will spray him or her with perfume and offer money, that is usually pinned to dancer's dress. See also nat and gado bwe

Nat Pwe (နတ်ပွဲ)

Burmese. ‘Festival of spirits’. Annual religious festival in Burma, held in August in Taungbyon, about 20 kms North of Mandaley, a place named after the brothers Shwe Hpyin Gyi and Shwe Hpyin Nge Taungbyon who were executed in the 11th century AD on the orders of King Anawratha because they failed to place stones near a pagoda, as they were ordered. During the festival there are special spirit mediums, some who pretend to go into a trance and also referred to as nat dancers (fig.) and in Burmese known as Nat Kadaw

natsaw (နတ်ဆော်)

1. Burmese. Wizards in Burmese demonology, i.e. magicians, diviners and so-called wise men and women, who practice their arts in private and not in a hierophantic capacity among the rural folk of Myanmar. Compare with shaman

2. Burmese. Angelic beings, similar to the Thai thevada (fig.) and thepanom (fig.), of which statuettes are used to ward off evil and to protect certain buildings, such as the Golden Palace Monastery in Mandalay (fig.), as well as the people residing within it. Compare with Hangshi

navagraha (नवग्रह)

Sanskrit. The nine planets, that is, the sun, the moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Neptune and Earth. They are commonly depicted on lintels or as part of the front door of a Hindu or Khmer temple. Note that this list includes our sun, which is actually a star, and the Earth's moon, but does not include the planets Pluto, which wasn't discovered until 1930 AD and in 2006 reclassified as a dwarf planet, i.e. one of possibly several hundred, nor it includes Uranus, which was discovered only in 1781 AD, whereas all the others had been known since prehistoric times. See also Pang kahntang phra prajam wan, Rahu, and noppakro. 

Naval Dockyard

Shipyard of the Royal Thai Navy, located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River in Thonburi, directly to the opposite of the Grand Palace. READ ON

Naval Dockyard Museum

See Royal Dockyard Museum

Naval Museum

Museum in the amphur meuang of Samut Prakan, which houses a sizeable collection of real-sized and miniature naval vehicles, both old and new, and ranging from Royal Barges (fig.), submarines and other war vessels, to all kinds of military aircraft (fig.). It also displays decommissioned weaponry, such as deep sea mines (fig.), torpedoes (fig.), flak and canons, as well as military uniforms, a few actual ancient Royal Barges (fig.) and old figureheads (fig.), with some of those dating back to the reign of King Rama V. In Thai, the museum is known as Phiphithaphan Nai Reua (พิพิธภัณฑ์นายเรือ). It is located in the tambon Pahk Nahm (ปากน้ำ), opposite of the Naval School. See also Royal Barges Museum. See MAP


Sanskrit. The central hall of a temple. 

Navaratri (नवरात्रि, นวราตรี)

Sanskrit-Thai. Annual Indian religious festival around the beginning of October, that extends nine nights and ten days, and in which daily puja ceremonies are held. READ ON

Navel of the Mekhong

See Sadeua Mae Nahm Khong

nayaka (नायक)

Sanskrit for ‘leader’. The Thai word nayok derives from it. 

nayok (นายก)

Thai. ‘President’ or ‘chairman’. The term is derived from the Sanskrit word nayaka. 

Naxi (纳西)

Chinese. An ethnic group of people in China, that dwells in the foothills of the Himalayas, mainly in the northwestern part of Yunnan, as well as the southwestern part of Sichuan Province. READ ON.

Na Zha (哪吒)

See Nezha

neak (នាគ)

Khmer for naga, the Cambodian equivalent for the Thai word naak. Also transliterated nee-ak. 

Neak Tah Dambang Kranhoung (អ្នកតាដំបងក្រញូង)

Khmer. Grandpa Rosewood Club’. Name of a mythological figure from Battambang, a city and province in Cambodia. READ ON


Common name for a kind of a slender fish in the family Belonidae, of which there are several species. READ ON

nei hua (内画)

Chinese. ‘Inside painting’. Name for a kind of traditional Chinese art in which illustrations and often Chinese calligraphy are hand-painted on the inside surface of a glass or crystal object. READ ON.

Nemiraat Chadok (เนมิราชชาดก)

Pali-Thai. Name of one of the ten jataka, i.e. life stories of the previous incarnations of the Buddha, which are known in Thai as chadok. In this story, the bodhisatta is born as the son of the King of Mithila. READ ON.

Nemiraja (เนมิราช)

See Nemiraat Chadok.

Neochera dominia

Latin-scientific binomial name for a species a moth in the family Noctuidae. READ ON.

Neon Cuckoo Bee

Common name for a parasitic bee with the scientific designation Thyreus nitidulus and known in Thai as pheung sih fah (ผึ้งสีฟ้า), i.e. ‘light blue bee’, due to the brilliant metallic black-and-blue bands on this solitary and sturdy species. There are several subspecies and is distributed from Australia and New Guinea to Southeast Asia. The common name derives in part from the cuckoo bird (fig.), as the female neon cuckoo bee likewise seeks out the burrow nest of another bee and deposits her egg into an unguarded brood cell.

Neon Tetra

Common name for a small freshwater fish with the scientific name Paracheirodon innesi. It has a blue back and a silver-white abdomen with a horizontal, iridescent blue stripe on its sides, running from the nose to the base of the adipose fin, and an iridescent red stripe that runs from the middle of its abdomen to its tail fin, which is transparent and symmetrical in shape. When seen from the front, their fluorescent eyes seem to glow like small neon lights (fig.). Due to its attractive colours, which are reminiscent of the Thai national tricolour (thong trai rong - fig.), it is a very popular aquarium fish and, though originally from South America, it is bred on a large scale in Thai fish farms, for trade and export. In Thai its is named Pla Neon (ปลานีออน). 

Nepali topi (नेपाली टोपी)

Nepali name for a type of brimless hat (topi), which is part of the Nepalese national dress (fig.) and of which there are two main types, i.e. the Dhaka topi (fig.), a colourful –mostly pinkish– type of hat, made with a fabric with a typical design of print that originated from Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh; and the Bhad Gaule topi (fig.), a similar type of brimless hat, but all-black and typically worn by the Newa people of Nepal. The latter originates from the town of Bhaktapur (fig.), which is otherwise known as Bhadgaon, hence the name. 


A greenish gray fibrous gem similar to jade. 

neraphusihthai (เนระพูสีไทย)

Thai name for the Black Bat Flower

Net-winged Beetle

See hing hoi chang. 

neua saai (เนื้อทราย)

Thai. A name for Hog Deer, in addition to tahmanae. 

Neung Tambon Neung Phlitaphan (หนึ่งตำบลหนึ่งผลิตภัณฑ์)

Thai. ‘One District One Product’. See OTOP. 

Newa (नेवा)

Another name for Nepal, besides also Newal, Nepar and Newar, and all synonyms, with Nepal being the Sanskrit form and Newar the Prakrit form, and phonetically different forms of the same word, and instances of the various forms, appear in texts in different times in history. 

Newar (नेवार)

Name of the historical inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley and its surrounding areas in Nepal. See also Newa

New Theory

Theory developed by King Bhumipon Adunyadet to improve the agricultural benefits for owners of small farms, enabling them to be self-supporting. In Thai, known as tritsadie mai. See also POSTAGE STAMPS

Nezha (哪吒)

Chinese. Name of a Taoist child-deity and warrior-god, who was born as the third son of a high-ranking military commander. READ ON.

nga (งา)

1. Thai for ‘ivory’ and ‘elephant tusk’. The hard substance of the creamy-white tusks of an elephant which it uses as its tool and weapon (fig.). Ivory is often used as a raw material to make artifacts, but is illegal in many countries. Contrary to the African elephant where both male and female elephants​ develop tusks, only the Asian bull wears sizeable tusks, whereas the female Asian elephant usually lacks tusks or has very small ones. Nakhon Sawan in Central Thailand has long been a centre of trade in ivory and artifacts made from it. Elephants are a protected species in Thailand and only ivory from the tusks of a live animal, which have been removed or cut short for protection, or of an elephant that has died of a natural cause or accident, is considered legal. Trade in smuggled or illegally imported ivory from Africa, which was discovered to also take place in Thailand, is a criminal offence. In China, ivory carving is strictly regulated by the government and artifacts cannot be exported from the country without special permission from the Chinese authorities. Chinese ivory carvings (fig.) are well-known for their often elaborate details and exquisite craftsmanship. 

2. Thai for ‘sesame’.

3. Thai name for the entrance component in a fish trap. It consists of either a row of lined spokes or a funnel-shaped circle of spokes, both of which are lined towards each other and tapering at the end, in order to let the fish in, but preventing it from leaving the same way. There are two kinds of nga in use, i.e. the nga kaeng (nga with hard spokes) and the nga oun (nga with soft spokes). 

Nga Htat Gyi (ငါးထပ်ကြီး)

Burmese. Name of a 13.9 meter tall Buddha image, erected in a 5-tiered building in Yangon's Bahan Township. READ ON

Ngakywenadaung (ငကျွဲနားတောင်း)

Burmese. Earring of Ngakywe. Name of a Buddhist stupa in Bagan. READ ON

Ngam Meuang (งำเมือง)

King of Phayao during the Lan Na period, who lived from 1238 until 1298 AD. To preserve authority in the North against the Khmer and Burmese and to consolidate his power he made a pact with King Ramkamhaeng (fig.) of Sukhothai and King Mengrai of Chiang Mai. See also list of Thai kings. Today a memorial (map - fig.) dedicated to this king is located in a park facing Kwahn Phayao (map - fig.). 

Nga Moe Yeik (ငမိုးရိပ်)

Burmese. Name of the giant Crocodile King from the tragic love story Shin Mway Loon nae Min Nandar (fig.). It is sometimes represented on the railing of staircases at temples (fig.) in Myanmar, as a form of makara (fig.). 

nga myat na (ငွကျမတ္နား)

Burmese. Great Bird’. Name of a flag-shaped ornament, reminiscent of the tail of the hintha bird (fig.) as seen on hintha pillars (fig.) and in English usually referred to as the vane. It is a typical part of most hti (fig.) that crown the spires of Buddhist stupas in Myanmar and consist of a tiered and ornamented finial in the form of a lacy umbrella. 

ngan (งาน)

1. Thai. A unit of area equal to a quarter of a rai, i.e. 400 square meters. 

2. Thai for ‘work’ or ‘employment’, but also for ‘festivity’, ‘celebration’, ‘party’, etc. This dual and rather opposite meaning, i.e. toil vs. sanook, may derive from the fact that many festivities need a lot of work in preparation and perhaps also clean-up afterwards. Thais have a rather hedonistic nature, though some would say they are intrinsically lazy, that is of course with the exception of planning festivities. This quality was already noted by many a western  author of the past. Nicolas Gervaise in 1688 wrote that the Siamese of his time were born lazybones, who would gladly renounce any wage if it required hard work (fig.), and Ernest Young similarly noted in 1889 that the Siamese were lazy in their daily duties, but very vigorous when it came to organizing festivities. Even the Thais today are not ashamed to say of themselves that they are khi-kiat (ขี้เกียจ), meaning ‘lazy’, a term which in the West may at best be used to negatively describe someone else, but surely not to identify oneself, even if it were true. Anyway, when invited to a party one better be inquisitive about the nature of it, as one might just as well be headed for some work instead. Perhaps this is the real reason for the dual meaning of the word ngan, i.e. to lure the pleasure-seeking Thais to work by saying that there is a party! Also transcribed ngaan or ngahn. 

Ngang Tah Daeng Keht Khot (งั่งตาแดงเกศคด)

Thai. ‘Crooked-headed Red-eyed Provider’. Name of a Buddhist amulet that is bent at the top and with the depiction of a Buddha image that has large red eyes, usually consisting of red ruby-like stones or cut glass. READ ON

ngao (ง้าว)

Thai. ‘Hook’. Popular speech for the antefix on traditional teakwood Thai houses. See also POSTAGE STAMPS (1) and (2), as well as THEMATIC STREET LIGHT

ngapyo (ငှက်ပျော)

Burmese generic term for ‘banana’, covering several kinds. In Myanmar, hands of bananas with a single coconut, decoratively arranged in a basket or onto a tray, are a typical offering for the nats, known as gado bwe (fig.)

ngat-chain (ငါးချဉ)

Burmese. ‘Pickled fish’. Name of a dish from Myanmar, which consists of fish meet that has been scraped off from the skin, traditionally by using the side of a sea shell and mixed into a paste adding a lot of monosodium glutamate. Alternatively, shrimp meet can be used. The paste is molded into large lumps, that are wrapped in a cover of fresh leaves to prevent it from drying out and from which buyers are sold a portion, that is typically wrapped in a palm leaf. The paste is subsequently made into a salad (fig.), mixed with oil, seasoning powder, and some vegetables, including parsley. The taste of this pickled fish dish is rather sour. Also transcribed ngarr hkyain and pronunciation rather as nga-tcheng. 

nga tih hak (งาที่หัก)

Thai. ‘Broken tusk’. Thai name for tanta. 

Ngazi Shin (ငါးစီးရှင်)

Burmese. One of 37 nats that belong to the official pantheon of spirits worshipped in Myanmar. He is the nat representation of the 14th Century King Kyawswa I of Pinya, the son of King Thiha Thu of Pinya, and reigned from 1344 to 1350 AD as the Lord of Five White Elephants. He died suddenly of illness. Initially, there was another Ngazi Shin nat from the Pagan Kingdom in the original 37 nats, who was eventually replaced by this one. See also LIST OF BURMESE NATS.

ngeuak (เงือก)

Thai. ‘Mermaid’. Name for legendary creatures with a woman's head and torso, and a fish's tail, that often occur in Southeast Asian legends. In the Ramayana, Suphanamatcha, the daughter of Totsakan, is a mermaid. In the story Phra Aphaimanih, she appears as a certain mermaid referred to as Nang Ngeuak. With regard to the latter story, she is depicted on the third stamp in a series of eight Thai postage stamps issued in 2009 to publicize the story of Phra Aphaimanih as a major literary work of the Rattanakosin Era (fig.). A famous mermaid is  the golden statue of Nang Ngeuak at Laem Samilah (แหลมสมิหลา) in Songkhla, seated on a rock and reminiscent of the Little Mermaid of Langelinie in Copenhagen. The statue, referred to in English as the Golden Mermaid (map - fig.), represents the character Nang Ngeuak from the story Phra Aphaimanih. It is also related that one starry night when the mermaid was on the beach combing her hair with a golden comb, she was frightened away by a young fisherman and during her flight, she had dropped her comb. Smitten by her beauty and wanting to return the golden comb to her, the fisherman came back to the beach every night waiting for her return, but she never came back. Sometimes transcribed ngyak. See also POSTAGE STAMPS (1), (2), (3) and (4), THEMATIC STREET LIGHT, as well as TRAVEL PICTURES (1) and (2). 

ngeuan rai plaay (เงื่อนไร้ปลาย)

Thai. ‘Knot without a tail’ or ‘knot without an end’. Thai designation for a Chinese knot, which in Chinese is known as pan chang. 

Ngiaw (เงี้ยว)

Thai. Name of an ethnic tribe in northern Thailand, also called Shan. 

ngiw (งิ้ว)

Thai term for Chinese Opera, as well as for Peking Opera (fig.). Performances are in Chinese and are a mixture of drama, rant and melodious recitation. The faces of the actors are -sometimes heavily- covered with make-up (fig.) and they dress in colourful  Chinese costumes (fig.), sometimes wearing conspicuous headdresses (fig.). Whereas in China, performances can be seen in many different places, in Thailand only larger cities may have a permanent theatre, whilst more remote towns and villages usually have to wait for a touring  troupe to pass by. See also lian pu. 

ngo (เงาะ)

1. Name for members of the Sakai and allied tribes, an aboriginal race allied to the Negroid pygmies found in the jungles of Malaya and southern Thailand, who call themselves Mani (fig.). They are dark skinned and have curly hair, hence their name, which in Thai means ‘hair’. In the story of Sangthong (fig.), Phra Song disguised himself as an ogre with a mask of this race, to escape from the city Wasi, which was ruled by a female giant that devoured humans. When arriving in Benares (fig.) in this disguise, he was subsequently nicknamed Chao Ngo (fig.). Since Phra Sang had earlier bathed in a pond with liquid gold, that had the power to change anything immersed in it into pure gold, figures of Ngo are nowadays believed to attract gold or alternatively money, as the story also relates of a pond with liquid silver, in Thai called ngun (เงืน), and which besides ‘silver’ also means ‘money’. Also called Ngo Pah (เงาะป่า) or Ngo Pah Sakai (เงาะป่าซาไก), with the word pah meaning ‘wild’ or ‘savage’. Sometimes transliterated Ngor. See POSTAGE STAMPS (1), (2), and (3), as well as TRAVEL PICTURES and THEMATIC STREET LIGHT. MORE ON THIS.

2. ‘Hair’ or ‘hairy’. Thai name for the rambutan (fig.), a fruit with a hairy red husk. 

ngop (งอบ)

Thai. Name of a Thai farmer's hat, lampshade-shaped and resembling an upside-down basket of interwoven bamboo slivers. Woven from bamboo and lined with palm leaves, called bai lahn. Inside sits a ring to fit it on the head. Mainly worn by Thai peasant women. Also transcribed ngob. See also non la. 

Ngo Pah (เงาะป่า)

Thai. ‘Wild ngao’ or ‘Forest ngao’. Name of a classical story, written by King Rama V in 1916, reportedly over a period of just 8 days. It is said to originate from an account of a ngao tribe in Pattalung Province, told by one of the tribesmen who had become King Rama V's court attendant. It relates the love story of Somphla (ซมพลา) and Lamhap (ลำหับ). Though the latter was engaged to Hanao (ฮเนา), Somphla fell in love with Lamhap. With the help of his friend Mai Pai (ไม่ไผ่), who agreed to act as a go-between, he is able to meet with Lamhap on the day of her wedding, somewhere in the woods, where she was taken by Mai Pai in order to safely meet with Somphla. However, they were tracked down by Hanao and his older brother, and a fight broke out between them, in which Somphla was killed by Hanao's brother. As a consequence Lamhap commits suicide and grief-stricken also Hanao kills himself. In 1996, a scene from the story is portrayed on one of the stamps in a set of postage stamps on famous classical Thai literary works written by former Thai kings (fig.). 

ngop nahm chiao (งอบน้ำเชี่ยว)

Thai. Name for a kind of ngop, from Trat province. These bamboo hats, typically used by farmers and fishermen, are named after the place where they are made, i.e. the tambon Nahm Chiao, though the local population calls them muak bai jahk (หมวกใบจาก), meaning ‘nipa palm leaves hat’, after the material they are made of, i.e. dried nipa palm leaves on a bamboo frame (fig.). The hats come in different shapes, i.e. wok-shaped, turtle-shaped, round or oval-shaped and pointed, and are typically covered with oil or grease on the outside as a protecting layer against the sun and rain. Inside sits a flexible ring, woven in such a manner that it can be stretched out to fit it on the head, after which it turns back to its former position, fixing the hat firmly on ones head, one size fits all (fig.). The local community of Nahm Chiao presented one of their hats to the Princess Mother, for which they in return received the royal approval to name that particular type of hat Somdet. See also non la. 

ngu (งู)

Thai. Generic term for snakes

ngu hao (งูเห่า)

Thai. ‘Barking snake’. Name for the Monocled Cobra, also known as the Monocellate Cobra, Thai Cobra and Indochinese Cobra, a species of cobra with the scientific name Naja kaouthia. It is one of the most dangerous venomous snakes and found in all parts of the country. The Thai name refers to its hissing when it feels threatened and is about to strike, whereas the English term monocle refers to a distinct single, variable shaped, monocle mark, just behind its hood. This mark is usually pale and oval or circular, with a dark centre and occasionally a narrow dark outer border. Sporadically it may have two dark spots in the pale oval mark. This venomous and potentially lethal snake will expand its hood and raise the anterior third part of its body, hiss and strike when it feels threatened (fig.). Unlike some other species of cobra, the fangs of this species are not modified for spitting venom. Its average length is about 200 centimeters. In Thai, this species is sometimes referred to as ngu hao thammada (งูเห่าธรรมดา), which means ‘common barking snake’, whereas other species of cobras will start with the prefix ngu hao, followed by a specifying term, e.g. ngu hao phon phit sayaam. It is usually medium to dark brown or grey-brown, though there are many other colour variations, some pale, others near-black. Many species are uniform, others are slightly banded. The throat is white with a pair of small lateral spots. It also occurs in an albino and leucistic variation, which are both known as ngu hao pheuak in Thai. In 1981, it was depicted on the third stamp of a set of four Thai postage stamps featuring venomous Thai snakes (fig.).

ngu hao pheuak (งูเห่าเผือก)

1. Thai name for an albino version of the Monocled Cobra, which is also known as the albino Monocellate cobra, a variation of the cobra with the scientific name Naja kaouthia. Its length is around 200 centimeters and its body is white or pale yellowish-white with distinct red eyes. Albinism is often mistaken for leucism and the Thai term pheuak, which is usually translated as ‘albino’, is also used for leucistic varieties. See also ngu hao. 

2. Thai name for a leucistic Monocled Cobra, a mutated variety of a cobra with the scientific name Naja kaouthia. It has pale scales, caused by DNA mutation. The reduced pigmentation makes its body pale pinkish brown, but it has normally coloured eyes, not red as with albinos. Albinism is often mistaken for leucism and the Thai term pheuak, which is usually translated as ‘albino’, is used for both varieties. Its average length is about 200 centimeters. See also ngu hao. 

ngu hao phon phit sayaam (งูเห่าพ่นพิษสยาม)

Thai. ‘Siamese venom-spitting barking snake’. Designation for the Indochinese Spitting Cobra.

ngu hua ka-lohk (งูหัวกะโหลก)

Thai. ‘Cranium-headed snake’. Name for the Puff-faced Water Snake, used alongside ngu leuam oh. 

ngu jong ahng (งูจงอาง)

Thai name for the King Cobra

ngu kaab mahk hahng nin (งูกาบหมากหางนิล)

Thai. ‘Betel palm-spathe nin-tailed snake’. Name for the Cave Dwelling Snake.

ngu kapa (งูกะปะ)

Thai name for the Malayan Pit Viper

ngu khiaw bon (งูเขียวบอน)

Thai. ‘Caladium-green snake’. Name for the Green Cat-eyed Snake, alongside ngu khiaw dong.

ngu khiaw dok mahk (งูเขียวดอกหมาก)

Thai. ‘Green betel nut flower snake’. A name for the Golden Tree Snake, alongside ngu khiaw phra in. 

ngu khiaw dong (งูเขียวดง)

Thai. ‘Green jungle snake’. Name for the Green Cat-eyed Snake, next to ngu khiaw bon.

ngu khiaw hahng mai sih makok (งูเขียวหางไหม้สีมะกอก)

Thai. ‘Green olive colour burnt-tail snake’. Name for the Big-eyed Pit Viper, next to ngu khiaw hahng mai ta toh.

ngu khiaw hahng mai ta toh (งูเขียวหางไหม้ตาโต)

Thai. ‘Green burned-tail big-eyes snake’. Name for the Big-eyed Pit Viper, next to ngu khiaw hahng mai sih makok.

ngu khiaw hahng mai thong khiaw (งูเขียวหางไหม้ท้องเขียว)

Thai. ‘Green burned-tail green-bellied snake’. Name for the Pope's Pit Viper.

ngu khiaw hahng mai thong leuang (งูเขียวหางไหม้ท้องเหลือง)

Thai. ‘Green burned-tail yellow-bellied snake’. Name for the White-lipped Pit Viper.

ngu khiaw pahk naeb (งูเขียวปากแหนบ)

Thai. ‘Green clamping-mouth snake’. Name for the Long-nosed Whip Snake.

ngu khiaw phra in (งูเขียวพระอินทร์)

Thai. ‘Indra's green snake’. A name for the Golden Tree Snake, alongside ngu khiaw dok mahk. 

ngu kin haang (งูกินหาง)

Thai. ‘Snake eats tail’ or ‘tail-eating snake’. Name of a traditional Thai children's game, in which players are divided into groups, i.e. a father snake and a mother snake with her baby snakes. The aim of the game is for the father snake to try to outwit the mother snake and catch one of the baby snakes that she is trying to protect. The game is traditionally played during Songkraan and is depicted on a Thai postage stamp issued in 1999 to publicize the Bangkok 2000 World Youth Stamp Exhibition Stamp and the 13th Asian International Stamp Exhibition (fig.).

ngu laam (งูหลาม)

Thai for Burmese Rock Python, next to ngu leuam. 

ngu laam pahk pet (งูหลามปากเป็ด)

Thai. ‘Duck-mouth python’. Name for the Blood Python.

ngu leuam (งูเหลือม)

Thai name for Burmese Rock Python, besides ngu laam. 

ngu leuam oh (งูเหลือมอ้อ)

Thai name for Puff-faced Water Snake, alongside ngu hua ka-lohk. 

ngu maew sao (งูแมวเซา)

Thai. Literally ‘cat-abating snake’, the Thai designation for the ‘Siamese Russell's Viper’ (fig.), though some dictionaries translate the term maew sao as ‘king cobra’, a title normally reserved for the snake species Ophiophagus hannah, which is usually named ngu jong ahng in Thai. Perhaps, this confusion comes from the very loud hissing sound that the Siamese Russell's Viper will make when threatened, which is reminiscent to that of the cobra, generically named ngu hao in Thai, meaning ‘barking snake’. 

ngun chieng (เงินเจียง)

Thai name for a former type of Thai money, which was used only in northern Thailand, and –due to its shape– it is in English known as bracelet money (fig.). See also Coin Museum

ngun dok jan (เงินดอกจันทน์)

Thai. ‘Sandalwood-flower money’. Name for an ancient coin, formerly used in the Srivijaya period. A large number of coins have been found in Chaiya. Its name derives from the fact that one side of the coin had the imprint of a sandalwood flower. Also transcribed ngeun dok chan. See also dok maijan and Coin Museum.

ngu nguong chang (งูงวงช้าง)

Thai for ‘Elephant-trunk Snake’. See also ngu and chang. 

ngun hoi (เงินฮ้อย)

Thai. Name for a type of ancient Thai money used by peoples that inhabited the Mekhong region, i.e. northern Thailand and Isaan, and reportedly bears some influences from Vietnam and China. It is similar to ngun lahd or ngun reua, but is longer and narrower at the centre, and has a rim made of double dots that surround the edges, and sometimes an official mark, which is usually stamped in the centre, whereas the surface of ngun lahd money is smooth, apart from the marks stamped on them, which generally number three. See also Coin Museum

ngun keuak mah (เงินเกือกม้า)

Thai. ‘Horseshoe money’ or ‘silver horseshoe’. Name for kind of money that was used only in northern Thailand, sometime in the Lan Na Period, and is a kind of double bracelet money (fig.), made in the shape of two horseshoes joined together. See also Coin Museum

ngun lahd (เงินลาด, เงิดหลาด)

Thai. ‘Tilted money’. One of many names for ngun reua, other names  being ngun lahd hoi (เงินลาดฮ้อย), ngun ping (เงินปิง), ngun lahng (เงินลาง), ngun hahng (เงินฮาง), ngun nahm (เงินหนาม), ngun siyan (เงินเสี้ยน), ngun dahn (เงินด่าน - fig.), ngun nahm hok nahm sahm (เงินน้ำหกหน้าสาม - fig.), and in English usually referred to as lad money or boat money. It is similar to ngun hoi (fig.), but broader at the centre, and it is smoother, apart from the imprint of the money's official stamp, which usually consists of three of the same marks stamped next to each other, one in the centre, one in the left corner and one in the right corner. The corners are slightly tilted, making it look somewhat like a small paddle boat seen from above, hence the names ‘tilted money’ and  ‘boat money’. It was used by peoples that lived near the Mekhong area, i.e. northern Thailand and Isaan, and reportedly bears some influences from Vietnam and China. Compare with ngun hoi. See also Coin Museum.

ngun pahk phi (เงินปากผี)

Thai. ‘Spirit-mouth-money’. Name for money that is put in the mouth of a dead person. Traditionally, before a corpse is cremated in a Meru, a close member of family of the deceased will put a coin in the mouth of the dead person and sometimes leaves a banknote in the coffin, as well. The meaning of this is symbolically. After the body has been cremated, nothing is left, except for the coin. This shows that when we die we can not take anything with us, at all. The banknote that was put in the coffin however is a payment for the journey to the afterlife. The idea is similar and perhaps goes back to Greek mythology, where the deceased kept an obolos (ὀβολός), i.e. an ancient Greek silver coin, in their mouth to pay Charon, the ferryman who brought the souls of the dead to Hades, the Underworld and Abode of the Dead. To reach Hades one had to cross the Acheron, a branch of the river Styx and known as the River of Woe. For the passage Charon charged a small coin which was placed under the tongue of the deceased by pious relatives, because without payment ones soul was left waiting on the banks for eternity. In ancient China, high officials and members of certain dynasties were traditionally buried with a coin-shaped jade tablet in their mouth, as jade is associated with immortality and is believed to have the power to purify. A similar ritual is still practiced today, but now among commoners in present-day China, who place jade, pearls, jewelry and coins in the mouth and around the body of a deceased relative before the funeral takes place. Also transcribed ngern paak phee or ngeun pahk phih. See also gong de. 

ngun reua (เงินเรือ)

Thai. ‘Boat money’. Nickname for a kind of former Siamese money, so called due to its long and narrow shape, which is reminiscent of that of a boat. It was made from either brass or bronze and came in a variety of sizes. Officially, this type of money is called ngun lahd, though it is also known by many other names and nicknames, such as ngun hoi (เงินฮ้อย), ngun lahd hoi (เงินลาดฮ้อย), ngun ping (เงินปิง), ngun lahng (เงินลาง), ngun hahng (เงินฮาง), ngun nahm (เงินหนาม), ngun siyan (เงินเสี้ยน), ngun dahn (เงินด่าน - fig.), ngun nahm hok nahm sahm (เงินน้ำหกหน้าสาม - fig.), and is in English is usually referred to as lad money. Also transcribed ngern reua and ngeun reua. Compare with ngun hoi. See also Coin Museum

ngu pahk kraba (งูปากกระบะ)

Thai. ‘Tray-mouth snake’. Generic name for pit vipers. 

ngu phang kah (งูพังกา)

Thai. ‘Mangrove (sp. Rizophora) snake’. Name for the Mangrove Pit Viper.

ngu plong thong (งูปล้องทอง)

Thai. ‘Golden [bamboo stem] segment snake’. Name for the Mangrove Catsnake.

ngu saai rung (งูสายรุ้ง)

Thai. ‘Rainbow snake’. Designation for the Rainbow Water Snake.

ngu saam liam (งูสามเหลี่ยม)

Thai. ‘Triangular snake’. Name for the Banded Krait.

ngu sae haang mah (งูแส้หางม้า)

Thai. ‘Horsetail whip snake’. Name for the Dog-toothed Cat Snake.

ngu sing haang laai (งูสิงหางลาย)

Thai. ‘Stripe-tailed haunting snake’. Name for the Oriental Rat Snake.

ngu thahng maprao laai khihd (งูทางมะพร้าวลายขีด)

Thai. ‘Stripe-marked coconut palm leaf snake’. Name for the Copperhead Racer.


See ngeuak. 

Nian (年)

Chinese. ‘Year’. Name of a Chinese mythical monster which for a long time terrorized the people of a certain Chinese village. Once a year, at the beginning of spring, it would come to the village to demand a human sacrifice of a young child for it to eat. Eventually the people of the village decided that they would no longer submit to its dreadful rule and frightened it away with the loud noises of firecrackers. The use of firecrackers during Chinese Lunar New Year (Guo Nian) today still commemorates this defeat of evil. 


Pali for nirvana. 


The recessed part of a wall that generally contains a sculpture and is flanked by two pilasters. Also bay. 

Nicobar Pigeon

Name for a colourful, ground-loving pigeon, that occurs on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, from where it got its name. It is also found on many other islands, most abundantly on the smallest, least disturbed ones. Though it has become rather rare in the wild, it is widely spread across South and Southeast Asia, including on islands off Southwest peninsular Thailand and around peninsular Malaysia, islands off southern Cambodia and Vietnam, as well as on islands around Sumatra, India, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines, for one. Adults have a ruff of glossy, light to dark grey hackles and a mantle of metallic green plumage, which mixes with bronze at the scapulars. They have a short white tail and dull red legs, and its beak is grey with a dark knob at the top, which is slightly larger with males than with females. In Thai, Nicobar Pigeon are called nok cha pih nai. 


A black composition consisting of an alloy of lead, copper and silver fused with precious metals such as gold and silver by heating. The technique used  includes incising and polishing. This art form was introduced to Thailand around 700 years ago via Nakhon Sri Thammarat. See also nielloware. 


Decorative objects made from niello, a black composition consisting of an alloy of lead, copper and silver fused with precious metals such as gold and silver by heating. The technique used  includes incising and polishing. This art form was introduced to Thailand around 700 years ago via Nakhon Sri Thammarat. Due to the materials used there are typically two types of nielloware, i.e. a black surface with silver designs and black surface with gold designs. In Thailand called kreuang tom. 

Nih Banpacha (หนีบรรพชา)

Thai. Escape or depart to enter into priesthood or clergy. Thai term used to indicate the Great Departure of the Buddha. See also Banpacha and Buat. 

nikaya (निकाय)

1. Sanskrit-Pali. ‘Collection’. Term used in Theravada Buddhism to refer to the discourses described in the Sutra, i.e. the second of the three parts or ‘baskets’ of the Tripitaka, and which contains a total of five discourses, i.e. the deegha nikaya or ‘long’ discourses; the majjhima nikaya or ‘middle-length’ discourses; the samyutta nikaya or ‘thematically linked’ discourses; the anguttara nikaya or  ‘gradual collection’ discourses; and the khuddaka nikaya or ‘minor’ discourses. 

2. Sanskrit-Pali. ‘Collection’. Term used to refer to a monastic sect, division or lineage, as in Mahanikaya. 

Nilanon (นิลนนท์)

Thai. Name of a character from the Ramakien, a monkey soldier of Rama, who captured Phiphek and brought him before Rama. He was also present when Phra Lak was struck by the spear of Kumphakan and became unconscious, and he was sent to inform Phra Ram of the incident. He is depicted with a dark red body, dressed as a war lord and holding a sword as his weapon, and he wears a golden kabang-style crown. Khon masks of this character are usually rather orangey in colour (fig.). In some stories, he is described as the son of Phra Phleung, though in other accounts he is portrayed as an incarnation thereof. 

Nilapanan (นิลปานัน)

Thai-Pali. Name of a monkey-warrior from the city Meuang Chomphoo (เมืองชมพู), who appears in the Ramakien. He is an ally of Phra Ram (fig.) and is depicted with a fresh brown fur and wearing a golden kabang-style crown. He is one of the eighteen Wahnon Sip-paet Mongkut, and an avatar of Rahu (fig.). Also transcribed Nilapahnan.

Nilaphat (นิลพัท)

Name of a monkey in the Ramakien, who in the Ramayana is known as Nila (तिल) and nicknamed Anila (अतिल), whom together with Ongkhot beheaded the yak Vayupak, after the latter had captured Phra Ram and Phra Lak. He has the exact same features of Hanuman (fig.), apart from the fact that his fur is black (fig.). In murals, he may be depicted with multiple arms (fig.). He is the adopted son of Maha Chomphoo (fig.) and Kaew Udon, who was given to them by Phra Idsuan because they didn't have any offspring of their own. In Thai also pronounced Ninlaphat. See also LIST OF RAMAKIEN CHARACTERS and TRAVEL PICTURES

Nilaraat (นิลราช)

Thai-Pali. Name of a monkey-warrior from the city Meuang Chomphoo (เมืองชมพู), who appears in the Ramakien. He is an ally of Phra Ram (fig.) and is depicted with an indigo fur and wearing a golden kabang-style crown. Besides being an important figure in the battle against Longka, he also volunteered for the task of throwing large boulders into the sea by himself, in order to build a road, and by doing the task alone broke a spell cast by the hermit Khawin. He is one of the eighteen Wahnon Sip-paet Mongkut, and an avatar of Phra Samut, the god of the oceans. Also transcribed Nilaraj and Nilarach. See also LIST OF RAMAKIEN CHARACTERS.

Nilek (นิลเอก)

Thai-Pali. Name of a monkey-warrior from the city Meuang Chomphoo (เมืองชมพู), who appears in the Ramakien. He is an ally of Phra Ram (fig.) and is depicted with a brown fur and wearing a golden kabang-style crown. He joined Phra Lak (fig.) when he went to disturb Indrachit's (fig.) Kumphaniyah Ceremony. He is one of the eighteen Wahnon Sip-paet Mongkut, and an avatar of the Thai deity Phra Phinai, the Thai deity of the elephants, who is also known as Ganesha. See also LIST OF RAMAKIEN CHARACTERS.

Nilgai (नीलगाय)

Hindi. ‘Blue cow’. Common name for a species of antelope, with the scientific designation Boselaphus tragocamelus in the family Bovidae, and of which the males are somewhat similar in appearance to the Mainland Serow (fig.), a cloven-hoofed mammal that also belongs to the family Bovidae and which is distributed from India through southern China and Southeast Asia. Like the Mainland Serow, male Nilgai have an erectile mane on the back of the neck, but unlike the former they have a goat-like beard on the midsection of the throat. Both sexes (fig.) also have a white throat bib and white spots on the cheeks, as well as a narrow white stripe along the underside of the body and white colouring on the lower legs and near the lips. The Nilgai is the biggest Asian antelope and one of the most commonly seen wild animals in central and northern India, as well as in eastern Pakistan, where they live mostly in herds (fig.) on the plains and low hills. Whereas female Nilgai have a short yellow-brown coat (fig.), males or bulls have a dark coat with a grey-bluish tinge that darkens as they reach maturity, as well as horns, which are absent in females (fig.). Its name refers to the bluish tinge of the bull's coat, and since this is reminiscent of the sacred cow, it has saved the Nilgai from being hunted, although they are deemed a crop menace. Sometimes also called Nilgau. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES. 

nimit (นิมิต)

1. Thai. ‘Create’. See also look nimit. 

2. Thai. ‘Sign’ or ‘omen’. A vision or sign for the future. See also look nimit. 

nimon (นิมนต์)

Thai-Rajasap. ‘Invite’ or ‘ask’, especially with respect to monks to be present at or take part in a religious rite. 

nin (นิล)

Thai. Name of a dark blue to black gemstone. See also nintakoh. 


As in many Asian cultures, the number nine is in Thailand considered to be a lucky number. According to numerologists, the number is in general associated with forgiveness, compassion and success on the positive side, as well as self-righteousness and arrogance on the negative. As the final numeral, i.e. the largest possible single digit, the number nine holds special rank and mathematically it has some unique properties, e.g. the sum of the two-digits resulting from nine multiplied by any other single-digit number will always equal nine (e.g. 9x7=63; 6+3=9), and the sums of nine multiplied by any two, three or four-digit number will also break down to nine (e.g. 9x73=657; 6+5+7=18; 1+8=9). In Thailand however, the obsession with the number nine is rather divine and is associated with long life, a belief strongly encouraged by the fact that King Rama IX was the longest reigning Thai monarch up-to-date (see also list of Thai kings). The association however, goes back to ancient Chinese beliefs, where the character for ‘nine’ (九) resembles that of ‘power’, ‘force’ and ‘strength’, i.e. li (力), and its pronunciation (jiu) is a homophone for the word ‘long-lasting’ (久). Even in Thai, the number ‘nine’, i.e. kao (gao) with a falling tone (เก้า), is similar to the word kao (gao) with a low tone (เก่า), meaning ‘old’ and ‘of long standing’. In addition, there are nine planets, in Sanskrit known as navagraha, nine Durgas, Nine Dragons, i.e. the nine sons of the first Chinese dragons, etc. At some point, car license plates with multiple-digits of the number nine, were specially made by the Department of Transportation to raise taxes and were sold by auction, with many of the bids going well over a million baht. On 9 September 2009 (09/09/09), many Thai people made tamboon in Buddhist temples or at a statue (or picture) of King Rama IX, or bought a lottery ticket with the number nine on it. Its Thai numeral is . See also nopparat and navagraha.

Nine Armies War

Name of the the Burmese-Siamese War which was fought between 1785 and 1786 AD, between the Konbaung Dynasty of Burma and the Chakri Dynasty of resurgent Siam. It is so-called because the Burmese came in nine armies. In early 1785, the Burmese King Bodawpaya (fig.) sent an expedition force to take Phuket to prevent foreign arms shipments to Siam but the invasion force was driven back. In October 1785, Bodawpaya pursued an ambitious campaign to expand his dominions into the lands of the former Ayutthaya Kingdom. He launched a four-pronged invasion towards Chiang Mai, Tak, Kanchanaburi, and Phuket. The combined strength was about 50,000 men. The invasion forces faced heavy resistance from the Siamese forces and finally the war became a total disaster for Burma. The failed invasion ultimately turned out to be the last full-scale invasion of Siam by Burma.

Nine Dragons

The total number of dragons, i.e. the nine sons of the first Chinese dragons. With nine being a unique number, with the Chinese character for ‘nine’ (九) resembling that of ‘power’, ‘force’ and ‘strength’, i.e. li (力), whilst its pronunciation (jiu) is a homophone for the word ‘long-lasting’ (久), and with the auspicious dragon itself being a symbol of power and strength, the Nine Dragons combined represent the pinnacle of everlasting power and strength. Hence, the Nine Dragons are often revered together, as in the Nine Dragons Wall (fig.) or Nine Dragons Screen (fig.), a type of screen wall, with reliefs of the nine Chinese dragons, usually depicted in various colours. In the compound surrounding the Temple of Heaven in Beijing (fig.) there is even a coniferous tree with a trunk of intertwined stems, that is said to resemble Nine Dragons and which is hence venerated as such (map - fig.). In addition, the Nine Dragon River is the name of the Mekhong River Delta in South Vietnam (fig.). See also TRAVEL PICTURES.

nintakoh (นิลตะโก)

Thai name for the black spinel, a black precious stone (fig.), used as a gemstone in jewellery. It has a hardness of 8.0 which can only be surpassed by black diamond or sapphire, far more expensive stones and not easily obtainable in a range of sizes. Spinel comes in a variety of colours but the relatively rare opaque black type is only found in a few areas, including Thailand (fig.). It is often found in ruby and sapphire bearing areas and has been mined in Thailand for centuries, especially in the amphur Bo Phloy in the province of Kanchanaburi, but also in the amphur Wang Chin in Phrae province and the amphur Sri Satchanalai in Sukhothai province. Due to it excellent hardness, high reflectance and lack of cleavage, black spinel is ideal for everyday wear in jewellery (fig.). It also called pleonast and ceylonite, and by the local population it also called nin ton. Black spinel is sometimes sold under the misleading name black onyx, but that has a hardness of only 6.5 to 7.0 and is therefore more susceptible to damage, and thus inferior for use in jewellery. 

nipa palm

Name of a species of palm that thrives in the soft mud of coastal wetlands near brackish and salt water areas of estuaries, but away from wave action. It can grow well over three meters and its leaves (fig.) are used for thatching (fig.), whilst young leaves are used to roll cigarettes called burih bai jahk and as a wrapper for sweetmeats called kanom jahk (fig.). When harvesting, by cutting the stalks off at the base of plant, always minimal three stalks should be left intact, in order to prevent the plant from dying and thus to secure a future harvest. Besides the use of the stalks and leaves, the plant's inflorescence can be tapped before it blooms to yield a sweet sap, which is used as an ingredient to make alcohol, usually called nipa sap vinegar or palm vinegar. Its fruit consists of a cluster of woody nuts, compressed into a large ball (fig.), that grows upward on a single stalk (fig.). When ripe, the nuts detach from the cluster and float away on the tide, occasionally germinating while still waterborne. This fruit cluster is sometimes referred to as water coconut and can be made into a refreshing drink, usually consisting of both the sap and the translucent flesh of this fruit (fig.). The nipa palm has a very high sap yield, rich in sugar. Fermented into ethanol, the sap may allow for the production of 15,000 to 20,000 liters of fuel per hectare, three times as much as sugarcane, and almost ten times the yield produced from corn. In Myanmar, the stems, which are buoyant, are used to train swimming. In Thai, it is called jahk or ton jahk and sometimes atta. Due to its dwelling in an environment similar to that of mangrove it is also known as mangrove palm (fig.). 


See makheua cartoon

nipphaan (นิพพาน)

Thai name for nirvana. 

niqab (نِقاب‎)

Arabic term which means ‘veil’ or ‘mask’, and refers to a piece of cloth that covers the face of some Muslim women, typically as a part of the hijab. In addition, they may also wear gloves, thus completely covering the body, though this type of full-length Islamic veil should not be confused with the burqa, a term used to describe a full-length piece of clothing that covers the whole body from the top of the head to the ground, with a netted opening concealing the face. A somewhat shorter version of the burqa is the chadri, which covers only the head and upper body up to the legs, and is worn over a hijab-like outer garment.

niraht (นิราศ)

Thai. ‘To travel to a distant land, separated from a loved one’. A style of travel tale, usually written in the form of a letter in verse to a beloved one. 


Pali term for ‘hell’. In Sanskrit, the hell is called naraka, from which the Thai word narok derives. 

nirvana (निर्वाण)

Sanskrit. Annihilation or liberation of all suffering, desire, delusion and future rebirths. The Buddhist state of Enlightenment reached while still on earth. The Buddha attained nirvana seated under a bodhi tree. In Thai nipphaan, a term derived from the Pali word nibbhana. 

Nisumbha (निशुम्भ)

Sanskrit. Name of an asura, who first appears in the 5th chapter of the Devi Mahatmyam, together with his brother Sumbha. The duo sought to conquer the triloka by subjecting themselves to severe penance and purification rituals, in order that no man nor demon could destroy them. They traveled to Pushkar (fig.), where they remained in prayer for ten thousand years, and when the god Brahma saw their penitence, he was pleased and granted them their request. When Chanda and Munda, two lesser asuras in the brothers' service, had encountered the goddess Devi, they were overwhelmed by her beauty and reported this back to Sumbha and Nisumbha. Hence, they were sent out to abduct her, yet were destroyed by Devi. Consequently, the brothers confronted the goddess Devi themselves, but despite their boon, both were slain by her, as the boon had no protection against gods nor goddesses. Sumbha and Nisumbha are sometimes explained to be symbols of arrogance and pride, which is ultimately overcome by the Devi's humility and wisdom. Also transliterated Nishumbha and Nizumbha.

Niu Tou (牛头)

Chinese.Ox-Head’ or ‘Bull-Head’. Name of a guardian of the Underworld in Chinese mythology. READ ON.

niw (นิ้ว)

Thai for ‘finger’, and a term also used as a linear measurement equal to 4 krabiad, or 2.083 centimeter.

Noble Truth

Term used in the teachings of the Buddha. There are Four Noble Truths in total, of which the last one enfolds into the Eightfold Path. 

nohra (โนรา)

See Manohra. Also nora. 

noi nah (น้อยหน่า)

Thai name for custard apple or sugar apple, a sweet and succulent fruit with the scientific Latin name Annona squamosa and belonging to the genus Annonaceae, the same family as the sour sack (fig.), kradang nga ngaw and kradang nga songkhla. They are round with a thick rind grow and from a small tree or shrub which has narrow but long pointed leaves (fig.). Inside they have white flesh of fruit and many large black seeds (fig.). See also POSTAGE STAMP

nok (นก)

Thai for ‘bird’. In Thailand, at least 988 different species of birds have been listed, some which occur year-round, others that are only seasonal. In Bangkok alone there are an estimated 200 different species of bird. The largest bird in the country is the Green Peafowl, whereas the allegedly smallest birds in Thailand include the Golden-bellied Flyeater (Gerygone sulphurea) and some species of flowerpecker, all with a size of around 8.5 to 9 centimeters. Worldwide there are no less than 9,680 different bird species, of which the largest one is the ostrich and the smallest one the hummingbird, weighing less than 2 grams. Besides real birds, Thai mythology also features many fabulous birds, including several creatures that are half bird-half man or something else, e.g. Garuda, Kinnon, Tantima, nok hadsadi, Samphati, Sadayu, etc. 

nok ahy ngaw (นกอ้ายงั่ว)

Thai name for the Oriental Darter. 

nok bangrok yai (นกบั้งรอกใหญ่)

Thai. ‘Large sheaved-streaked bird’. Name for the Green-billed Malkoha. 

nok chai len khiao (นกชายเลนเขียว)

Thai. ‘Green wetland bird’. Name for the Green Sandpiper. 

nok cha pih nai (นกชาปีไหน)

Thai name for the Nicobar Pigeon. 

nok deun dong kho daeng (นกเดินดงคอ)

Thai. ‘Red-necked jungle-walking bird’. Name for the Red-throated Thrush, i.e. one of the two races or subpecies of the Dark-throated Thrush. 

nok deun dong kho dam (นกเดินดงคอดำ)

Thai. ‘Black-necked jungle-walking bird’. Name for the Black-throated Thrush, i.e. a subspecies of –and hence sometimes also referred to as– the Dark-throated Thrush, which in Thai is nok deun dong kho khem. 

nok deun dong kho khem (นกเดินดงคอเข้ม)

Thai. ‘Dark-necked jungle-walking bird’. Name for the Dark-throated Thrush, a rare spcies of thrush, of which there exist two races, i.e. the Black-throated Thrush, known in Thai as nok deun dong kho dam, and the Red-throated Thrush, which in Thai is referred to as nok deun dong kho daeng

nok hadsadie (นกหัสดี)

Thai. ‘Elephant bird’. Mythological bird with the head of an elephant and a tail sometimes in the form of a kranok (fig.). Occurs occasionally in the form of a chofa, usually the representation of a highly stylized bird (fig.). There is also a variant which has a Hintha bird (fig.) depicted with an elephant's head, and which could be referred to as Hintha-Hadsadi (fig.). Also nok hadsadin. 

nok hadsadin (นกหัสดิน)

See nok hadsadie. 

nok hang (นกฮัง)

Thai name for the hornbill and short for nok krahang (นกกระฮัง). Also nok ngeuak

nok hok lek pahk daeng (นกหกเล็กปากแดง)

Thai. ‘Small red-billed parrot’. Name for the Indian Hanging Parrot. 

nok hua khwaan khiao pah phai (นกหัวขวานเขียวป่าไผ่)

Thai. ‘Green ax-headed bamboo forest bird’. Name for the Laced Woodpecker. 

nok hua khwaan khiao tapohk daeng (นกหัวขวานเขียวตะโพกแดง)

Thai name for the Black-headed Woodpecker. 

nok hua khwaan sahm niw lang thong (นกหัวขวานสามนิ้วหลังทอง)

Thai. ‘Three-inched ax-headed golden-backed bird’. Name for the Common Flameback

nok hua khwaan sih niw lang thong (นกหัวขวานสี่นิ้วหลังทอง)

Thai. ‘Four-inched ax-headed golden-backed bird’. Name for the Greater Flameback. 

nok hua khwaan yai ngon leuang (นกหัวขวานใหญ่หงอนเหลือง)

Thai. ‘Large yellow-naped ax-headed bird’. Name for the Greater Yellownape. 

nok hua khwaan yai sih thao (นกหัวขวานใหญ่สีเทา)

Thai. ‘Large grey-coloured ax-headed bird’. Name for the Great Slaty Woodpecker. 

nok hua toh lek kha leuang (นกหัวโตเล็กขาเหลือง)

Thai. ‘Small, big-headed, yellow-legged bird’. Name for the Little Ringed Plover. 

nok ih-kohng (นกอีโก้ง)

Thai name for the Purple Swamphen

nok ih-lam (นกอีล้ำ)

Thai name for the Common Moorhen. 

nok ih-phraed (นกอีแพรด)

Thai. Name for the Pied Fantail, often specified as nok ih-phraed thaeb ok dam.

nok ih-phraed thaeb ok dam (นกอีแพรดแถบอกดำ)

Thai. Name for the Pied Fantail. Also called simply nok ih-phraed, yet the additional wording thaeb ok dam is a specification, meaning ‘black bar breast’. 

nok ih-seua hua dam (นกอีเสือหัวดำ)

Thai. ‘Black-headed shrike’. A name for the Long-tailed Shrike, and though it could also be translated as ‘Black-headed tigress’, it should not be confused with the Tiger Shrike, which is named nok ih-seua laai seua (นกอีเสือลายเสือ) in Thai. 

nok ih-wahb takkataen (นกอีวาบตั๊กแตน)

Thai. Name for the Plaintive Cuckoo. See also takkataen. 

nok ihyang (นกเอี้ยง)

Thai generic name for a starling. 

nok ihyang dahng (นกเอี้ยงด่าง)

Thai name for the Asian Pied Starling. 

nok ihyang dam (นกเอี้ยงดำ)

Thai. ‘Black Myna’. A name for the Talking Hill Myna, alongside nok khun thong. 

nok ihyang hua sih thong (นกเอี้ยงหัวสีทอง)

Thai. ‘Golden-headed Myna’. Name for the Golden-crested Myna. 

nok ihyang kwai (นกเอี้ยงควาย)

Thai. ‘Buffalo Myna’. Name for the Jungle Myna. 

nok ihyang ngon (นกเอี้ยงหงอน)

Thai name for the White-vented Myna. 

nok ihyang ngon kon laai (นกเอั้ยงหงอนก้นลาย)

Thai name for the Common Myna. 

nok ihyang nuan (นกเอี้ยงนวล)

Thai name for the Vinous-breasted Starling. See also nuan. 

nok ihyang salikah (นกเอี้ยงสาลิกา)

Another spelling for nok ihyang sarikah. 

nok ihyang sarikah (นกเอี้ยงสาริกา)

Thai name for the Common Myna. Sometimes spelled nok ihyang salikah. See also sarikah lin thong. 

nok ihyang tham (นกเอี้ยงถ้ำ)

Thai. ‘Cave Myna’. Name for the Blue Whistling Thrush. 

nok insih (นกอินทรี)

Thai name several carnivorous birds of which there are many different species (fig.), such as the falconida and accipitridae, including also the eagle, a symbol of Vajrayana Buddhism. 

nok insih thalae (อินทรีทะเล)

A Thai name for the White-bellied Sea Eagle, next to nok ouk

nok jahb kah (นกจาบคา)

Thai name for bee-eater. 

nok jok pah hua toh (นกจอกป่าหัวโต)

Thai name for the Brown Barbet. 

nok kaab bua (นกกาบบัว)

Thai. ‘Lotus spathe bird’. Name for the Painted Stork. 

nok kaek (นกแก๊ก)

A Thai name for the Oriental Pied Hornbill, next to nok kaeng and nok ngeuak lek

nok kaek tao (นกแขกเต้า)

Thai name for the Red-breasted parakeet. 

nok kaeng (นกแกง)

A Thai name for the Oriental Pied Hornbill, alongside nok kaek and nok ngeuak lek

nok kaew kho waen sih kulaab (นกแก้วคอแหวนสีกุหลาบ)

Thai. ‘Rose-ringnecked parrot’. Name for the Rose-ringed Parakeet. See also kulaab

nok kaew mohng (นกแก้วโม่ง)

Thai. ‘Gigantic parrot’ or ‘oversized parrot’. Name for the Alexandrine Parakeet. 

nok kah (นกกา)

Thai for ‘crow’, which in English is known as the Jungle Crow. 

nok kahang (นกกาฮัง)

Thai name for the Great Hornbill. 

nok kah fahk sih riyab (นกกาฝากสีเรียบ)

Thai. ‘Plain-coloured parasite plant bird’. Name for the Plain Flowerpecker. It may also be transcribed nok ka faak see riab, or similar. 

nok kah nahm (นกกาน้ำ)

Thai. ‘Water-crow’. Name for the Little CormorantSee also nok kah. 

nok kah nahm pahk yao (นกกาน้ำปากยาว)

Thai. ‘Long-billed water-crow’. Name for the Indian Cormorant. See also nok kah. 

nok kah nahm yai (นกกาน้ำใหญ่)

Thai. ‘Large water-crow’. Name for the Great Cormorant. See also nok kah. 

nok kah wao (นกกาเหว่า)

Thai designation for the Asian Koel (fig.). Though the bird is listed in the cuckoo order of birds, the term kah or nok kah actually means ‘crow’ (fig.), perhaps suggesting a certain association or resemblance with the much larger bird. The word wao has no specific meaning. 

nok kaling (นกกะลิง)

Thai name for the Grey-headed Parakeet. 

nok kaling khiad (นกกะลิงเขียด)

Thai name for the Rufous Treepie. 

nok kalum phoo khao (นกกะลุมพูขาว)

A Thai name for the Pied Imperial-pigeon, along with nok lum phoo khao. 

nok karaang hua khwaan (นกกะรางหัวขวาน)

Thai name for the Common Hoopoe. 

nok karaang hua ngok (นกกะรางหัวหงอก)

Thai name for the White-crested Laughingthrush

nok karaang kho dam (นกกะรางคอดำ)

Another Thai name for nok so hoo. 

nok karong thong kaem khao (นกกะรองทองแก้มขาว)

Thai name for the Silver-eared Mesia. 

nok karong thong pahk daeng (นกกะรองทองปากแดง)

Thai name for the Red-billed Leiothrix. 

nok khamin hua dam yai (นกขมิ้นหัวดำใหญ่)

Thai. ‘Large, black-headed canary’. Name for the Black-hooded Oriole. 

nok khamin thaay thoy dam (นกขมิ้นท้ายทอยดำ)

Thai. ‘Black occiput canary’ or ‘black nape canary’. Name for the Black-naped Oriole. 

nok khao fai (นกเขาไฟ)

Thai. ‘Fire dove’. Name for the Red Collared Dove, which is also known as the Red turtledove

nok khao jud (นกเค้าจุด)

Thai. ‘Spotted owl’. Name for the Spotted Owlet. 

nok khao khaek (นกเขาแขก)

Thai. ‘Visitor dove’, ‘guest dove’ or ‘Indian dove’. Name for the Eurasian Collared Dove. See also kaek

nok khao khiao (นกเขาเขียว)

Thai. ‘Green dove’. Name for the Emerald Dove

nok khao khrae (นกเค้าแคระ)

Thai. ‘Pygmy owl’. Name for the Collared Owlet. 

nok khao pah lang jud (นกเค้าป่าหลังจุด)

Thai. ‘Wild dotted-back owl’. Name for the Spotted Wood-owl. 

nok khao pah sih nahm taan (นกเค้าป่าสีนำตาล)

Thai. ‘Wild brown owl’. Name for the Brown Wood-owl. 

nok khao plao thammada (นกเขาเปล้าธรรมดา)

Thai. ‘Common green pigeon’. Name for the Thick-billed Pigeon. 

nok khao yai (นกเขาใหญ่)

Thai. ‘Large turtledove’. Name for the Spotted Dove. 

nok khao yai pan sumatra (นกเค้าใหญ่พันธุ์สุมาตรา)

Thai. ‘Large Sumatran owl’. Name for the Barred Eagle-owl. 

nok khiao kahn tong lek (นกเขียวก้านตองเล็ก)

Thai name for the Lesser Green Leafbird. 

nok khiao kahn tong nah phaak sih thong (นกเขียวก้านตองหน้าผากสีทอง)

Thai name for the Golden-fronted Leafbird

nok khiao kahn tong pihk sih fah (นกเขียวก้านตองปีกสีฟ้า)

Thai name for the Blue-winged Leafbird. 

nok khiao kahn tong yai (นกเขียวก้านตองใหญ่)

Thai name for the Greater Green Leafbird. 

nok khiao krah (นกเขียวครา)

Thai name for the Asian Fairy-bluebird. 

nok khiao pahk ngum (นกเขียวปากงุ้ม)

Thai. ‘Green bird [with a] downward-curved beak’. Name for the Green Broadbill

nok khun thong (นกขุนทอง)

Thai. ‘Golden khun bird’. Name for the Talking Hill Myna, alongside nok ihyang dam. 

nok khwaek (นกแขวก)

Thai name for the Black-crowned Night Heron. 

nok kin plih dam muang (นกกินปลีดำม่วง)

Thai. ‘Black-purple banana inflorescence-eating (fig.) bird’. Name for the Purple Sunbird. See also plih

nok kin plih kaem sih thabthim (นกกินปลีแก้มสีทับทิม)

Thai. ‘Ruby-cheeked banana inflorescence-eating (fig.) bird’. Name for the Ruby-cheeked Sunbird. See also plih and thabthim

nok kin plih ok leuang (นกกินปลีอกเหลือง)

Thai. ‘Yellow-breasted banana inflorescence-eating (fig.) bird’. Designation for the Olive-backed Sunbird. See also plih. 

nok kittiwehk kha dam (นกคิตติเวกขาดำ)

Thai name for the Black-legged Kittiwake. 

nok krajaab thammada (นกกระจาบธรรมดา)

Thai. ‘Common weaverbird’. Name for the Baya Weaver. 

nok krajib (นกกระจิบ)

Generic Thai name, or prefix to names, for any species of Tailorbird, as well as for some similar species, such as the Plain Prinia, which in Thai is named nok krajib yah sih riab. Note also that warblers carry the prefix nok krajid, a comparable designation for a species of bird, which is often also comparable in many other ways. 

nok krajib hua daeng (นกกระจิบหัวแดง)

Thai. ‘Red-headed Tailorbird’. Name for the Ashy Tailorbird

nok krajib kho dam (นกกระจิบคอดำ)

Thai. ‘Black-necked Tailorbird’. Name for the Dark-necked Tailorbird

nok krajib thammada (นกกระจิบธรรมดา)

Thai for ‘Common Tailorbird’. 

nok krajib yah sih riab (นกกระจิบหญ้าสีเรียบ)

Thai name for the Plain Prinia. 

nok krajid phan jihn (นกกระจิ๊ดพันธุ์จีน)

Thai. ‘Chinese-breed warbler’. Name for the Chinese Leaf-warbler. 

nok krajid thong sih nahm tahn (นกกระจิ๊ดท้องสีน้ำตาล)

Thai. ‘Brown-bellied warbler’. Name for the Buff-throated Warbler. 

nok krajok chawah (นกกระจอกชวา)

Thai. ‘Javanese sparrow’. Name for the Java Rice Sparrow. 

nok kraraang hua ngok (นกกระรางหัวหงอก)

Thai name for the White-crested Laughingthrush

nok krarian lek (นกกระเรียนเล็ก)

Thai. ‘Small crane’. Name for the Demoiselle Crane. 

nok krasah daeng (นกกระสาแดง)

Thai. ‘Red heron’. Name for the Purple Heron. 

nok krasah kho khao (นกกระสาคอขาว)

Thai. ‘White-necked stork’. Name for the Woolly-necked Stork. 

nok krasah nuan (นกกระสานวล)

Thai. ‘Light-coloured stork’. Name for the Grey Heron. See also nuan

nok krasah pahk leuang (นกกระสาปากเหลือง)

Thai. ‘Yellow-billed stork’. Name for the Milky Stork (Mycteria cinerea). Confusingly, in translation the Thai name is the same as that for the in Africa living Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis), a similar but different bird in the same family. However, the plumage of the Milky Stork is overall white with black flight-feathers and tail, whereas that of the Yellow-billed Stork is pinkish-white with pink and white scapular bars and extensive black colouring on the lower wings, lower back, rump and tail (fig.). 

nok kratae tae waed (นกกระแตแต้แว้ด)

Thai. ‘Frivolously-bawling tree shrew bird’. Name for the Red-wattled Lapwing. 

nok kratah pah phai (นกกระทาป่าไผ่)

Thai. ‘Bamboo forest partridge’ or ‘wild bamboo partridge’. Common Thai name for the Mountain Bamboo-partridge. 

nok kratah phai jihn (นกกระทาไผ่จีน)

Thai for ‘Chinese Bamboo Partridge’. 

nok kratah thung (นกกระทาทุ่ง)

Thai. ‘Field partridge’. Designation for the Chinese Francolin. 

nok kra-ten hercules (นกกระเต็นเฮอร์คิวลิส)

Thai. ‘Hercules kingfisher’. Name for the Blyth's Kingfisher. Also nok ka-ten hercules (นกกะเต็นฮอร์คิวลิส). 

nok kra-ten hua dam (นกกระเต็นหัวดำ)

Thai. ‘Black-headed kingfisher’. Name for the Black-capped Kingfisher. Also nok ka-ten hua dam (นกกะเต็นหัวดำ). 

nok kra-ten noi thammada (นกกระเต็นน้อยธรรมดา)

Thai. ‘Small common kingfisher’. Name for the Common Kingfisher. Also nok ka-ten noi thammada (นกกะเต็นน้อยธรรมดา). 

nok kra-ten pak lak (นกกระเต็นปักหลัก)

Thai. ‘Settled-down kingfisher’. Name for the Pied Kingfisher. Also nok ka-ten pak lak (นกกะเต็นปักหลัก). 

nok kra-ten yai thammada (นกกระเต็นใหญ่ธรรมดา)

Thai. ‘Large common kingfisher’. Name for the Stork-billed Kingfisher. Also nok ka-ten yai thammada (นกกะเต็นใหญ่ธรรมดา)

nok kratid khee moo (นกกระติ๊ดขี้หมู)

Thai. ‘Pig-shit munia’. Name for the Scaly-breasted Munia. 

nok kratid tapohk khao (นกกระติ๊ดตะโพกขาว)

Thai. ‘White-bottomed munia’. Name for the White-rumped Munia. 

nok kratid yai pahk leuang (นกกระติ๊ดใหญ่ปากเหลือง)

Thai. ‘Large yellow-billed finch’. Name for the Yellow-billed Grosbeak

nok kwak (นกกวัก)

Thai. ‘Beckoning bird’. Name for the White-breasted Waterhen. See also kwak

nok lum phoo khao (นกลุมพูขาว)

A Thai name for the Pied Imperial-pigeon, alongside nok kalum phoo khao

nok naang aen (นกนางแอ่น)

Generic Thai name for any kind of martin, swallow, swift or swiftlet. Aerodramus fuciphagus, a specific species of Cave Swift found in Southeast Asia and in Thailand in the Viking Cave on Phi Phi Leh Island, is celebrated for the production of edible swallow's nests (fig.), an expensive delicacy sold in many shops and restaurants (fig.) in Bangkok's Chinatown

nok naang nuan thammada (นกนางนวลธรรมดา)

Thai. ‘Common Seagull’. Name for the Brown-headed Gull

nok ngeuak (นกเงือก)

Thai name for the hornbill. Also nok hang. See also ngeuak. 

nok ngeuak dam (นกเงือกดำ)

Thai. ‘Black hornbill’. Designation for the Asian Black Hornbill. 

nok ngeuak hua raed (นกเงือกหัวแรด)

Thai. ‘Rhinoceros-headed hornbill’. Designation for the Rhinoceros Hornbill. 

nok ngeuak krahm chang (นกเงือกกรามช้าง)

Thai. ‘Elephant's molar hornbill’. Name for the Wreathed Hornbill, with krahm chang being the molar of an elephant (fig.), which shape is reminiscent of that of this hornbill's beak.

nok ngeuak krahm chang pahk riab (นกเงือกกรามช้างปากเรียบ)

Thai. ‘Smooth-billed elephant's molar hornbill’. Name for the Plain-pouched Hornbill, with krahm chang being the molar of an elephant (fig.), which shape is reminiscent of that of this hornbill's beak.

nok ngeuak lek (นกเงือกเล็ก)

A Thai name for the Oriental Pied Hornbill, beside nok kaek and nok kaeng

nok ngeuak pahk dam (นกเงือกปากดำ)

Thai. ‘Black-billed hornbill’. Designation for the Bushy-crested Hornbill

nok ouk (นกออก)

A Thai name for the White-bellied Sea Eagle, next to nok insih thalae

nok pahk haang (นกปากห่าง)

Thai. ‘Separate-billed bird’. Name for the Asian Openbill

nok parod dam (นกปรอดดำ)

Thai. ‘Black Bulbul’. 

nok parod hua khon (นกปรอดหัวโขน)

Thai. ‘Khon-masked bulbul’. Name for the Red-whiskered Bulbul (fig.), referring to its crest, which is apparently seen as reminiscent of the masks worn by khon actors (fig.)

nok parod hua sih kamao (นกปรอดหัวสีเขม่า)

Thai name for the Sooty-headed Bulbul. 

nok parod jihn (นกปรอดจีน)

Thai designation for the Chinese Bulbul. 

nok parod kho laai (นกปรอดคอลาย)

Thai name for the Stripe-throated Bulbul. 

nok parod leuang hua juk (นกปรอดเหลืองหัวจุก)

Thai. ‘Yellow juk-headed bulbul’. Name for the Black-crested Bulbul. 

nok parod ok laai kled (นกปรอดอกลายเกล็ด)

Thai. ‘Scaly-design-breast bulbul’. Name for the Scaly-breasted Bulbuls. 

nok parod suan (นกปรอดสวน)

Thai. ‘Garden bulbul’. Name for the Streak-eared Bulbul. 

nok parod thao hua khao (นกปรอดเทาหัวขาว)

Thai. ‘White-headed grey bulbul’. Name for the White-headed Bulbul. 

nok parod thong (นกปรอดทอง)

Thai. ‘Golden bulbul’. Name for the Black-headed Bulbul. 

nok phaya fai yai (นกพญาไฟใหญ่)

Thai. ‘Great(er) phaya fire bird’. Name for the Scarlet Minivet. 

nok phiraab ngon (นกพิราบหงอน)

Thai. ‘Crest comb pigeon’, ‘crowned pigeon’ or ‘crest-combed dove’. Name for the Western Crowned-pigeon

nok phiraab ok daeng luson (นกพิราบอกแดงลูซอน)

Thai. ‘Luzon red-breasted pigeon’. Name for the Luzon Bleeding-heart Pigeon

nok phiraab pah (นกพิราบป่า)

Thai. ‘Wild pigeon’ or ‘forest dove’. Name for the Rock Pigeon. 

nok phrodok nuat daeng (นกโพรดกหนวดแดง)

Thai. ‘Red-moustached barbet’ or ‘red-whiskered barbet’. Designation for the Fire-tufted Barbet. 

nok pihk san sih nahm ngun (นกปีกสั้นสีน้ำเงิน)

Thai. ‘Blue short-winged bird’. Name for the White-browed Shortwing. 

nok plao ko sih muang (นกเปล้าคอสีม่วง)

Thai for ‘Purple-necked dove’. Name for the Pink-necked Green pigeon. 

nok plao nah daeng (นกเปล้าหน้าแดง)

Thai. ‘Red-faced dove’. Name for the Jambu Fruit Dove. 

nok prajam chaht (นกประจำชาติ)

Thai. ‘National bird’, for Thailand this is the Siamese Fireback

Nokrong (นกร้อง)

One of the two (fig.) founders of Phitsanulok, the other being Garnboon (fig.). 

nok saeng saew haang pla (นกแซงแซวหางปลา)

Thai. ‘Fish-tailed drongo’. Name for the Black Drongo

nok sahlikah khiao (นกสาลิกาเขียว)

Thai name for the Green Magpie. 

nok sih chomphoo suan (นกสีชมพูสวน)

Thai. ‘Pink-coloured garden bird’. Name for the Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker. 

nok siwa hahng sih tahn (นกศิวะหางสีตาล)

Thai. ‘Brown-tailed Shiva bird’. Name for the Chestnut-tailed Minla

nok so hoo (นกซอฮู้)

Thai name for the Black-throated Laughingthrush. Also transcribed nok saw hu. 

nok taew laew pah gohng gahng (นกแต้วแล้วป่าโกงกาง)

Thai name for the Mangrove Pitta. See also pah gohng gahng. 

nok taew laew thammada (นกแต้วแล้วธรรมดา)

Thai name for the Blue-winged Pitta. 

nok takaab dong (นกตะขาบดง)

Thai. ‘Jungle roller’. Name for the Dollar Roller or Oriental Dollarbird. Also transcribed nok takhaab dong. See also takaab

nok takaab thung (นกตะขาบทุ่ง)

Thai. ‘Field roller’. Name for the Indian Roller. Also transcribed nok takhaab thung. See also takaab

nok takrum (นกตะกรุม)

Thai name for the Lesser Adjutant.

nok tang lo (นกตั้งล้อ)

Thai name for the Great Barbet.

nok teen thian (นกตีนเทียน)

Thai. ‘Candle-feet bird’. Name for the Black-winged Stilt. 

nok thalae kha khiaw thammada (นกทะเลขาเขียวธรรมดา)

Thai. ‘Common green-legged sea bird’. Name for the Common Greenshank. 

nok theud theu malayoo (นกทึดทือมลายู)

Thai name for the Buffy Fish-owl. 

nok theud theu phan neua (นกทึดทือพันธุ์เหนือ)

Thai name for the Brown Fish-owl. 

nok tit kaem leuang (นกติ๊ดแก้มเหลือง)

Thai name for the Yellow-cheeked Tit

nok waen phu khao (นกแว่นภูเขา)

Thai. ‘Ringed mountain bird’. Name for the Mountain Peacock-pheasant. 

nok waen tah khao (นกแว่นตาขาว)

Thai. ‘White eye-ring bird’. Name for the Oriental White-eye. 

nok waen tah khao lang khiaw (นกแว่นตาขาวหลังเขียว)

Thai. ‘Green-backed white eye-ring bird’. Name for the Japanese White-eye. 

nok wah (นกหว้า)

Thai name for the Great Argus. 

nok yahng krok pan chawa (นกยางกรอกพันธุ์ชวา)

Thai. ‘Javanese breed gargling egret’. Name for the Javan Pond Heron. 

nok yahng krok pan jihn (นกยางกรอกพันธุ์จีน)

Thai. ‘Chinese breed gargling egret’. Name for the Chinese Pond Heron. 

nok yahng kwai (นกยางควาย)

Thai. ‘Buffalo egret’. Name for the Cattle Egret. 

nok yoong farang (นกยูงฝรั่ง)

Thai. ‘Foreign peafowl’. A name for the Flame Tree, besides haang nok yoong farang

nok yoong india (นกยูงอินเดีย)

Thai. ‘Indian peafowl’. Name for the Indian Blue Peafowl. 

nok yoong thai (นกยูงไทย)

Thai. ‘Thai peafowl’. Name for the Green Peafowl. 

nom (នំ)

Khmer for ‘cake’ or ‘food prepared with dough’, as in nompang

nomklaw tawaai (น้อมเกล้าฯ ถวาย)

Thai. Rajasap for ‘offer’ and ‘devote’, if the addressed is a king. Also tunklaw tawaai. See also tawaai. 

nompang (នំបុ័ង)

Khmer for ‘bread’. See also nom and compare with the Thai word kanompang. 

non (หนอน)

Thai generic name for any kind of caterpillar, worm, maggot or grub. Some species of butterfly are in Thai named after their features as a caterpillar, e.g. phi seua non kah fahk thammada, or a combination of their features as a butterfly and how they looked as a caterpillar, e.g. phi seua non khao sahn laai seua. To warn off would-be predators, some caterpillars have large dots that look like eyes of a larger animal, toxic hairs or thorny tentacles, while others my imitate the features of a snake. Some caterpillars are very large, such as that of the Atlas Moth, which may be up to 12 centimeters long. Whilst life as a butterfly is usually much shorter than that of the caterpillar stage, the butterfly usually is more adored, and compared to butterflies, information on caterpillars is rather rare and much harder to find. This only seems to confirm what George Carlin once said: ‘The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity’.

Nondi (นนที)

Thai name for Nandi. Often used with the prefix ko, which means bull or ox. Also Nontih. 

Nong Bua Lamphu (หนองบัวลำภู)

Thai. Provincial capital of a jangwat (map) of the same name, in Northeast Thailand. READ ON

Nong Kai/Nong Khai (หนองคาย)

Thai. Provincial capital of a jangwat (map) of the same name in Northeast Thailand 615 kms from Bangkok. READ ON

non la (nn l)

Vietnamese. ‘Leaf hat’. Name of a distinctive, traditional, conical farmer's hat, made from bamboo and dried palm leaves and kept on the head by a chin strap, typically a piece of silk cloth. See also koob

non plok (หนอนปลอก)

Thai name for the Plaster Bagworm, the casebearing larva of the Phereoeca uterella, a moth commonly known as the Household Case-bearing Moth (fig.), a species of moth similar in appearance and closely related to the clothes moth. The 70-80 mm large larval case consists of a slender, flat, spindle-shaped case, somewhat resembling the shape of a surfboard, but with the size of a cantaloupe seed. The case is assembled from silken fiber and sand particles, as well as other debris. It has a small opening at each end and the larva is able to feed and move around from either end. The upper body of the worm-like larva has tiny legs, like a caterpillar, with which it drags the case, that holds the rest of its otherwise legless body, around (fig.). Its favourite diet consists of spider webs, but it also feeds on cloth materials made of natural fiber. It is often found hanging on tree trunks, on walls or underneath furniture. 

nonsih (นนทรี)

See Yellow Flamboyant

Nonthaburi (นนทบุรี)

Thai. Name of a jangwat (map) and its provincial capital, in Central Thailand. READ ON

Nonthi (นนทิ)

See Nondi. 

Nonthok (นนทก)

A earlier incarnation of Totsakan who had the task of washing the feet of the gods who came to mount Krailaat to worship the chief god Idsuan. While he performed this humble task the gods constantly teased him. They pulled his hair and banged his head. Weary of this he made his complaint to the chief god and asked him for a diamond finger that was lethal when pointed to anyone harmful to him. At first Idsuan agreed but when too many victims died he changed his mind. The story precedes the Thai epic Ramakien. MORE ON THIS. 

Nontih (นนที)

See Nondi. 

non ton phut (หนอนต้นพุด)

Thai name for the caterpillar of the Oleander Hawk-moth (fig.), a species of hawk moth that belongs to the Sphingidae family and with the scientific name Daphnis nerii, that feeds on the highly toxic leaves of Oleander (fig.), but which is unaffected by the oleander toxins, and on leaves of plants and shrubs referred to in Thai as ton phut, which includes species of the genus Tabernaemontana (fig.), Gardenia, etc. Newborn caterpillars are pale bluish and green in colour, with two white lines with a pale bluish shade on either side, and tiny black-bordered white spots, as well as elongated white-bordered black markings and two black-bordered bluish-white eyespots on the forefront of the body. In addition, it has a short yellowish-orange tail on the back of the body. As it grows, the overall body colour of this caterpillar changes to green and later to orange and blackish-brown as it reaches the pupa stage, whilst the pupa itself is reddish-brown. The young green caterpillar is in Thai also known as non cha khiao (หนอนชาเขียว), i.e. ‘green tea caterpillar’, whereas the grown orange and blackish-brown caterpillar is also called non sih nahm tahn (หนอนสีน้ำตาล), i.e. ‘brown-coloured caterpillar’. 


A word derived from German and meaning ‘strip of pasta’. The noodle reached Thailand along the ancient trade routes from China, where it originated. READ ON

Noppaburi (นพบุรี)

Thai. ‘Nine cities’. Part of the full name of Chiang Mai, as formerly used. Its origin however is rather obscure, with different sources giving different interpretations and explanations. According to one source in Thai, the name purportedly derives from the name of the nine tribes from three Lawa villages, who each looked after one of the three sacred wells at the foot of Doi Suthep, i.e. the Golden Well, the Silver Well and the Crystal Well, which −according to legend− were blessed and given to the people by Indra for being good natured. Hence, the city is sometimes also referred to as Maha Nakhon Haeng Sethi Thang Kao (มหานครแห่งเศรษฐีทั้ง ๙), i.e. ‘The Great City of the Nine Wealthy Ones’. However, another Thai source speaks of a legend in which the city is referred to as Noppihsih (นพีสี), which allegedly means Nine Hermits or Reusi. Yet, the same source explains that the name may also be a compound of Nop (นพ), which besides Nine it claims also means New’, and Isih (อิสี), which it says means ‘One who is ordained’. Moreover, it states that ordained priests were in the past also called Chiang, and since Chiang Mai means ‘New City’, Noppihsih is than just a synonym for this. In addition, some sources mention an old citadel or fortified city, allegedly of the Lawa people and which was called Wiang Noppaburi, that once stood at the site where Chiang Mai was later built. See also buri

noppakro (นพเคราะห์)

Thai. ‘Nine luck’ or ‘nine stars’. The nine stars used in astrology. See also navagraha. 

noppalai (นภาลัย)

Pali-Thai for ‘welkin’, ‘sky’, or ‘blue infinite’. A suffix often placed behind the name of King Phra Phutta Leut La (Rama II). Also transliterated and pronounced naphalai

noppapadon (นพปฎล)

Thai. The nine-layered parasol, a symbol of kingship. See also chattra. 

nopparat (นพรัตน์)

1. Thai-Pali. ‘Nine Jewels’ or ‘Nine Gems’. Name for the nine natural precious stones that are considered the jewels of the nation. These are 1. a diamond; 2. ruby; 3. emerald; 4. yellow sapphire; 5. garnet; 6. blue sapphire; 7. mukdah (a kind of gem that translates as ‘pearl’) or moonstone; 8. zircon or topaz; 9. chrysoberyl and black spinel (in Thai called nintakoh) or cat's eye. Each gem also represents a certain aspect, namely: 1. power, wealth, and victory; 2. success and longevity; 3. strength and security; 4. charm and love; 5. wealth and longevity; 6. love and wealth; 7. purity and happiness/victory; 8. wealth and success in legal affairs; 9. protection by spirits and protection from fire. Note that sometimes also other gems or aspects are listed and that zircon is may also be used instead of yellow sapphire. Also transcribed noppharat. 

2. Thai-Pali. ‘Nine Jewels’ or ‘Nine Gems’. Name for the highest royal decoration bestowed upon a commoner. It was introduced by the king to grant as an honourable reward in civil service or for services to his majesty personally. Also transcribed noppharat. See also POSTAGE STAMPS

noppasoon (นพศูล, นภศูล)

Thai-Sanskrit. The decorative spire adorning the top of a prang. It consists of a sword or spear, which branches out in three levels and in four directions, i.e. four branches per level with the sword as the highest point in the middle reaching. Its origin is uncertain, but it is presumed that it refers to a trihsoon (fig.) or trident, the weapon of the Hindu god Shiva. There is also a linguistic connection: ‘noppa’ means nine, ‘trih’ means three, and ‘soon’ is derived from the Sanskrit word sula (शूल), which can mean ‘spear’, ‘spike’, ‘stake’ or ‘tooth’, but also ‘peak’ and ‘pike’. The prang is originally a Khmer structure and was initially intended as a symbol used in Brahmanism. When the Thais later tailored the use of the prang in Buddhism, they kept the decorative spire and changed its meaning to be a symbol of the weapon of Idsuan. It is also transcribed nopphasoon and it may alternatively be known as fak phakao (ฝักเพกา), ngaeng khing (แง่งขิง), lamphu khan (ลําภุขัน), or salad dai (สลัดได), and although these names are apparently sometimes used interchangeably, more correctly each name may refer to a certain style. 

Nopphaburi (นพบุรี)

See Noppaburi

noppharat (นพรัตน์)

See nopparat. 

nora (โนรา)

See Manohra. 

Norasingh (นรสิงห์)

Thai name for Narasingha

Northern Forest Crested Lizard

See king kah kaew. 

Northern Palm Squirrel

Name for a kind of squirrel, with the scientific designation Funambulus pennantii. It has alternating pale off-white and dark brown stripes on its back, and is very similar to the Himalayan Striped Squirrel, but has a thicker tail, off-whitish to cream stripes, and has no white ear tufts (fig.). It is found in India, where it is fairly common in the North, as well as in some nearby countries, such as Nepal and Pakistan, and also on the Nicobar and Andaman Islands. It is also called Five-striped Palm Squirrel (fig.), a name that clearly distinguishes it from the Three-striped Palm Squirrel, which in turn is also known by the common name Indian Palm Squirrel and the Latin designation Funambulus palmarum. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES

Northern White-cheeked Gibbon

Common designation for a species of gibbon found only in northern Laos and northern Vietnam, and formerly also in Yunnan, in southern China. READ ON

nose chain

See naak shrinkhala


See naen and shin thamanei. 

nowkchaan (นอกชาน)

Thai. The uncovered part of a patio found in a traditional Thai pile dwelling. 

nuad reusi (หนวดฤาษี)

Thai. ‘Hermit's beard’ or ‘beard of a reusi’. Thai name for Spanish Moss (fig.), an angiosperm in the family Bromeliaceae, with the botanical name Tillandsia usneoides, that grows hanging from tree branches, and so-called due to its resemblance to the long beard of a hermit (fig.), and also called krao reusi (เคราฤาษี), which is a synonym of nuad reusi. Also spelled nuat reusi. 

nuan (นวล)

Thai. Name for a fine, whitish or bluish-grey, powder-like layer or waxy substance covering the surface of some plants, fruits and vegetables (fig.), like a natural film. The term is equivalent to the English botanical term glaucous, which derives from Greek and means ‘bluish-grey’, and is in Thai also used to described any creamy colour, by adding the prefix see, meaning ‘colour’, to it. 

nuat paen boraan (นวดแผนโบราณ)

Thai. ‘Massage in accordance with the ancient plan’. Thai name for traditional massage. Also gaan nuat paen boraan. 

nun (นุ่น)

Thai name for kapok

Nung (Nng)

Vietnamese. Name of an ethnic minority group with around 700,000 members. They live primarily in the hills of northern Vietnam, but also in southern China, where they are called Nong (侬) and, together with the Tay, are classified as members of the Zhuang (fig.). The Nung speak a language which is part of the Tai language family and have their own script, which was developed around the 17th century.


Name of an East Indian tree of the genus Myristica fragans bearing an hard aromatic seed (fig.) which is used as a spice and in medicine. In Thai the tree is called ton jan thet. 

Nu Wa (女娲)

Chinese dragon-goddess, who –according to one myth– created mankind from yellow clay. READ ON

nyak (न्यक्)

Sanskrit. ‘Downward’. A mythological water snake. The meaning of the name could refer to its role as guardian of the underworld, as snakes are often regarded as messengers between the underworld and the human world, perhaps for the reason that they tend to live in cracks and holes in the ground. See also naga. 


Pali for Yannasangwon

Nyang (เนียง)

Thai. Another name for Kariang. MORE ON THIS. 

Nyaunggan Sayadaw (ညောင်ရမ်းဆရာတော်)

Burmese. The term for a royal abbot i.e. the religious preceptor within a certain region in Upper Burma. The term includes the honorific sayadaw, which literally means ‘royal teacher’ and initially referred to the senior monks who taught at the former Burmese royal courts. See also Thathanabaing

Nyaunggyin (ညောင်ချင်း)

Burmese. One of 37 nats that belong to the official pantheon of spirits worshipped in Myanmar. In life, he was a descendant of the captive King Manuha or Makuta, i.e. the 59th and last king of Thaton, a Mon kingdom in Lower Burma that existed between the 4th Century BC and 11th Century AD. He died of leprosy during the reign of King Anawrahta (fig.) of Pagan. In iconography, he is usually portrayed holding a cane. See also LIST OF BURMESE NATS.

Nyaung Shwe (ညောင်ရွှေ)

Burmese. ‘Golden Banyan Tree’. Name of a town and township in Myanmar's Shan State, located to the north of Inle Lake (fig.). It is known in Shan as Yawnghwe and is the birthplace of Prince Sao Shwe Thaik, the last Saopha of Yawnghwe and first President of the Union of Burma (fig.), whose former palace today houses the Nyaung Shwe Cultural Museum (fig.), which is also home to the Bamboo Buddha (map - fig.). Besides those, places of interest include Yattana Manaung Phaya (map - fig.), a permanent market, as well as Red Mountain Vineyards & Winery (map - fig.</