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Thailand: Unique Taxi Decorations in Bangkok

This blog is dedicated to the friendly, patient, somtum-eating, talisman-worshipping taxi drivers of Bangkok.

Created four years ago, the blog Still Life in Moving Vehicles has been featuring a variety of interesting photos of Bangkok taxi cab decorations. Dale Konstanz, who started compiling the photos more than five years ago, cites his inspiration for the online project

I started taking photos inside Bangkok taxis almost 5 years ago and shortly thereafter a writer friend suggested that I start a blog as a way to archive my photographs and as a method to document my experiences in the cabs. Also, I thought it would be a good way to share my observations of Thai culture with friends and family, as well as other enthusiasts of Thai popular culture.

Dale appreciates the value of the taxi charms and talismans especially their impact on passengers and Bangkok residents

I get off the skytrain and jump in a taxi and go to work. I put in my 8 hours. Then, I get back into a taxi and head for home. 5 days a week. Sounds boring? Not if you're taking taxis in Bangkok.

For me, it's not so much about the view outside. It's more about what's inside the taxis in Bangkok; the menagerie of gods, goddesses, deities, and monk statuettes, flowers, and other trinkets chosen for their ability to protect the driver and the car, and to assure that the driver has ample passengers. Like me.

Asked to name the pictures in his blog which best represent the uniqueness of Bangkok taxis, Dale mentions the following

1. Photo of a taxi filled with extensive collections of religious and superstitious objects, as well as other miscellaneous bits and bobs.

2. Picture of a cab decked out with images of characters such as Hello Kitty, Tweety Bird, Doraemon, Winnie the Pooh, or The Hulk.

3. Photo of a taxi with yan drawings created by Buddhist monks on the ceiling, steering wheel, or other parts of the carʼs interior. The drawings are supposed to help protect the driver, the car, and the passengers from accidents and ghostly spirits.

4. Picture with objects that are believed to attract money. Such items include fish decorations made out of folded money, Buddha statues with torn loot suspended in resin, and miniature fish traps that are supposed to “catch” money inside.

5. Picture of a taxi with images of the King and other Thai royalty from the past and present.

The King is a very popular and well-loved figure in Thailand

Talisman with plastic cover

Buddha and soldier.

Coin decoration

Sticker of Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand's first female Prime Minister

Breakfast for the Gods: Red curry, stir-fried greens, rice, and iced tea

Symbol of Thai Volunteer Road Rescue Foundation

Fish decoration made out of folded money

A monk statuette on the dashboard

Dale’s blog has generated a lot of positive response and even media attention

Some of the readers live in Thailand, but there are enthusiasts from around the globe. Admirers include Thais living abroad who crave a slice of home, those who have traveled here and are reminiscing about their experiences in Thailand, and others who are drawn to Thai culture, anything related to taxis, archaeology, or Buddhism

  • http://www.thaitourguides.com Ben

    I love how Dale constantly keeps his eyes open and shares what he sees in his blog. It’s a constant source of joy for me everytime I see a new entry there. Many times I’ve already seen these taxi decorations somewhere, but some of them I’ve never seen before, and it continues to amaze me :-)

  • Chester Jones

    You know what would be a truly unique feature of a taxi? A CLEAN taxi. That’d be great. I hear there’s a taxi in Naples, FL, FL that keeps their cars absolutely resplendent.

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