Thai people believe that nature is alive and animated. Every plot of land has guardian spirits who have lived on the land long before humans began to cultivate it. To honor and create a harmonious relationship with these powerful energies, Thai people build them their own home, called a spirit house. The oldest type of spirit house is called a saan jaothii (pronounced jow -tee).The word jaothii means “ruler of the place” and echoes the language of the indigenous Thai people who began their migrations into Thailand from as far away as China, Laos, and Vietnam.
The following 10 images present a rare view of the animistic forms of spirit houses. We found these spirit houses over months of "house hunting" through Thailand’s rural landscapes. Each one has its own duty, story and adventure to tell.