Thai Funeral Traditions
The majority of Thai people are Buddhist and have traditionally preferred burial. However land is getting scarce in some places, particularly on island communities. As in China, it is customary for monks to be cremated and their ashes placed in ornate pagoda-like structures called chedi. In Bangkok, Thailand, in the grounds of the Grand Palace is the Wat Phra Kaew which contains some of the biggest Thai chedi including the well photographed golden chedi.
On the island of Phuket, Thailand, the Wat Chalong contains amongst a number of beautiful temples, a very decorative crematory building.
There is also a Muslim community on Phuket, due to the immigrant labour during the time of the tin mines in the north of the island. Here the practice is burial, but not with the tombstones we have come to expect, but simple markers.
The Muslims on the island of Koh Panyi, sometimes referred to as sea gypsies, have had to make adaptations in order to create their cemetery. A large proportion of the village is on stilts over the water, while the cemetery has been excavated from the side of the karst so that burials can take place in the earth.