Russians, monks tie friendships with wristbands on Big Buddha Hill

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Despite a formidable language barrier, Russian tourists and monks at a Big Buddha Hill temple are connecting in friendship thanks to a few pieces of string.

Sittichai Sittithatro, secretary to the Naklua monk’s committee, said Russian tourists have made Khao Pra Yai Temple a daily stop on their tours, particularly enjoying a ceremony in which holy water is showered on temple goers for prosperity.

A young mother receives a blessing and btains sai sin from a monk on Buddha Hill.A young mother receives a blessing and btains sai sin from a monk on Buddha Hill.

With a tenuous grasp of English and even less on Russian, monks there have started taking language lessons from a Ramkhamhaeng University professor, who has been offering Russian classes for free. But communication is still difficult.

Monks have found a way to bridge the gap by giving tourists simple string bracelets. Called “sai sin” in Thai, the wristbands are meant to bring luck to travelers and boost spirits. Tying them has created a bond between the Thais and Russians.

He said the bracelets give the tourists a feeling of safety and security and have become a welcome token to those visiting the temple.