Christmas and New Year are the right time to find out what the oncoming year will bring to you. And I know where to go for some fortune telling.
The Thais are really fond of any form of fortune telling. I often see magicians reading your fate by the lines of your palm in the markets.
Last April, when I was escaping from Songkran in Pattaya to Prachuap Khiri Khan on the other side of the Gulf, one morning the leady-owner of the guesthouse where I was staying, excused herself for not serving breakfast as it was Sunday, and on Sunday she practiced fortune telling and had no time for cooking.
And in fact, I saw a young man waiting for her in an auspiciously decorated room downstairs and two more customers queuing patiently by the entrance. There is a regular fortune-teller in Buddha Hill, too.
But the easiest and funniest way to have a glimpse of your future in Thailand is siamsi, wooden sticks which can predict your fate.
If you have already visited at least a couple of temples in Pattaya, you have most probably noticed people sitting on the floor totally obsessed with the process of shaking out a single stick from the bunch of 28 in a wooden or bamboo container.
This is siamsi, or Chinese fortune telling sticks. The siamsi tradition has most probably originated from the Chinese practice of ‘kau cim’ and has been successfully adopted by Thai Buddhists.
You can try it out, too. Take a container with sticks and concentrate on a certain question for which you would like to receive an answer. Then start shaking the container until only one stick falls out.
Check the number written on the stick and then look for the interpretation on a sheet of paper in a box or on the wall – there is usually a table with numbered boxes or a board with numbered hookers on the wall.
As a rule, interpretations are very allegoric, so you have to use your imagination to figure out what is meant under a ‘pink blossom tree is waiting for you’. And yes, not all the temples offer interpretations in English!
In Pattaya, there are siamsi corners in Wat Khao Phra Bat in View Point Hill, Wat Chai Mongkon in South Pattaya Road and Wat Huai Yai, among others.
Well, good luck to you!