Phuang Malai is a Thai form of flower garland. You can see them hanging from the rear view mirrors of the Tuk tuk! But mostly in the temples and also offered as gifts.

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Phuang malai are a traditional form of Thai decoration. They are often given as offerings or kept for good luck. Its origins can be traced back to the Chola kings of Tamil Nadu, who were skilled garland makers and brought this tradition to present day Thailand.

What is the origin of Phuang Malai? From Hinduism to the integration of flowers in Thai temples.

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The floral art, an art of Queen.

Phuang malai may come from the Tamil word "poo maalai", which has the same meaning as "flowers" and "garland". There is historical evidence that the Chola kings of Tamil Nadu captured parts of Thailand, Java, Sumatra, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. These kings were known to have built huge temples and incorporated flower garlands into their culture.

The first record of phuang malai was found during the reign of King Chulalongkorn, who referred to the use of fresh flower garlands during ceremonies in his literary work "Phra Ratchaphithi Sip Song Duean". ("Royal Ceremonies of the Twelve Months").

The king's chief concubine, Thao Sichulalak, was in charge of creating the garlands of fresh flowers. During the Rattanakosin kingdom, the phuang malai became an important decorative object used in various ceremonies. Therefore, every young woman in the palace had to learn how to this flower garland. Queen Saovabha Phongsri even developed a range of intricate phuang malai designs.

The garlands of flowers and the Ramakien 

However, we also find mentions of flower garlands in the Ramakien, especially during the coronation of King Rama after he defeated the demon king, Ravana, and saved his wife, Sita.

In this episode, Rama is crowned as king of Ayodhya. The coronation ceremony is described as being filled with the fragrance of blooming flowers, and the palace is said to be decorated with garlands of flowers.

The origins of Ramakien go back several thousand years. The exact date of its composition is uncertain, but it is thought to have been written between the fifth and tenth centuries CE.

Therefore, we can easily imagine that floral art has always been a component of Thai culture. 

How many patterns do Malai have?

Most of the malai you will find take the form of a crown with a tail. They can come in many colors and the variations are endless. A visit to the flower markets is guaranteed to amaze.

However, it is said that phuang mal are classified into 6 groups:

  1. The creature malai, which resembles animals
  2. The chained malai, which is a series of interconnected rounded malai;
  3. The braided malai, which consists of two round malai connected together and decorated with pine-shaped malai at each end;
  4. The vine malai, which is a series of semi-circular malai arranged in the shape of a vine;
  5. The lace malai, which is a malai entirely decorated with gold and silver laces;
  6. The orchid malai, which is made only from orchid flowers.

Even for me, it's still a bit confusing. The best would be to visit probably one of the most famous flower markets in Bangkok: Pak Khlong Talat nearby Wat Pho temple.

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To whom to offer a Phuang Malai ? Why give a Phuang Malai as a gift?

These garlands are used for a variety of purposes, including as offerings to Buddha or monks, as gifts for loved ones or simply to give thanks. It can also be used as decoration for special occasions.

Honoring Buddha

One of the most common uses of phuang malai is as an offering to Buddha. In Thai Buddhist temples, worshippers often make offerings of flowers, incense and candles to statues of the Buddha as a sign of devotion and respect. The crown flower are often used as part of these offerings, as they are believed to bring luck and blessings.

Give them as gifts to your loved ones as birthday or wedding presents.

Phuang malai are also commonly used as gifts for loved ones. They are often given as a sign of affection and respect, and are often exchanged between friends and family members on special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, graduations, housewarmings and baby showers.

The malai can also be used to decorate the houses or the rooms of the house dedicated to the devotion towards Buddha.

A Phuang malai for Mother's Day, Father's Day or Teacher's Day

It is very common in Thailand to give a Phuang malai for Mother's Day, Father's Day or Teacher's Day. You will find a wide choice from natural flowers to plastic designs, but also exceptional and original models as we do at Macrame by Nicha. You can visit our collection below.

VIP Gifts

This could be very auspicious. Giving an original phuang malai for important visitors and dignitaries will be prevue of elegance and choice.

The Phuang malai for sacred ceremonies, and Thai cultural performances.

In addition to being used as offerings and gifts, these flowers are also used as decorations for special occasions. They are often used to decorate altars and shrines, as well as to adorn the heads of dancers in traditional Thai performances.

They can also be hung on Thai musical instruments to honor the masters of the instrument and bring them luck and success in their performances.

Offer to an association

Also offering phuang Malai to a community or association is a very elegant way to encourage them in their endeavor (with a small envelope, it will be even better😊).


In conclusion, if you are a foreigner and you want to thank someone, this can be a very appreciated gift for Thai people in different ways.

If you are looking for a unique or personalized design, contact us and together we can create something that has never existed before.

What is the meaning of a Phuang malai when it is offered?

The meaning of this cultural item is very broad. When offered, a Phuang malai is a symbol of good luck and a wish for good fortune. It is also a gesture of welcome, respect and good health.

It can represent purity, beauty, peace, love and passion.

For all situations, this precious symbol carries a very positive message.

Why offer a Phuang Malai for Mother's Day?

In Thailand, offering Phuang Malai on Mother's Day is a tradition that stems from the Buddhist belief in the power of merit-making. Merit-making refers to the act of doing good deeds and making offerings to the Buddhist gods or to the spirits of deceased ancestors.

By offering Phuang Malai on Mother's Day, it is believed that the person making the offering is making merit, which will bring good luck and blessings to their mothers and to their families. This tradition is a way of expressing love, gratitude, and respect to mothers and to all women who have played an important role in the lives of those making the offerings.

In addition to being a way of making merit, offering Phuang Malai on Mother's Day is also seen as a way of promoting the Phuang Malai tradition and keeping it alive for future generations.

Overall, the tradition of offering Phuang Malai on Mother's Day in Thailand reflects the important role of mothers and women in Thai culture, and the belief in the power of merit-making to bring good luck and blessings to families and communities.

Mother's Day: Queen Sirikit's legacy

Queen Sirikit has been a major patron of Thai arts and culture throughout her life, and she has been especially associated with the promotion of the Phuang Malai tradition.

Queen Sirikit is known for her love of flowers, and she has been instrumental in reviving the Phuang Malai tradition and making it a more widely recognized and celebrated part of Thai culture. Through her support, the tradition has gained new prominence, and it is now seen as an important part of Thai cultural heritage.

In recognition of her contributions to the Phuang Malai tradition and to Thai arts and culture more broadly, Queen Sirikit is widely respected and admired in Thailand, and the tradition of offering Phuang Malai on Mother's Day has become closely associated with her and with her legacy.

Why is the color blue commonly used on Mother's Day?

In Thai culture, blue is considered to be a color of royalty and elegance, and it is associated with the highest levels of respect and admiration. In recognition of her contributions to Thai culture and society, Queen Sirikit is often depicted wearing blue, and the color has become closely associated with her and her legacy.

For this reason, blue is often used in Mother's Day celebrations in Thailand as a way of paying tribute to Queen Sirikit and honoring her contributions. The use of blue Phuang Malai, or flower garlands, is seen as a way of expressing love, gratitude, and respect for mothers.

Where to buy Phuang Malai in Thailand?

You can easily find the traditional phuang malai in front of every temple in Thailand and in the local markets.

To get the most beautiful design of fresh flowers, go to the flower market where you will be enchanted by the fragrance of all these flowers and other innumerable colors.

A visit which should not be missed during your visit in Thailand and especially on Bangkok. I suggest you to go to Pak Khlong Talat nearby Wat Pho temple.

You can also shop them online. For example we do propose appropriate packaging and personalized note. We offer in our store wooden boxes for our most beautiful luxury creations. Contact us to know more. 

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How is a Phuang malai made?

Creating a phuang malai involves a unique approach known as "flower deconstruction". The maker uses the buds, petals, sepals, stems and leaves of each flower to recreate a specific shape, unlike the Western style of flower arrangement which focuses on preserving the natural beauty of each flower.

Various flowers and foliage are used, such as roses, dahlia, jasmine, gardenia, crown flower, marigold, orchids, champak, globe amarath, tamarind and orange jasmine leaves.

The use of Dok Ruk, or crown flower, is essential because it has an exceptional shape, a longer shelf life and has a positive meaning in Thai culture ("Ruk" means love and "Dok" means flower).

Jasmine is very popular because of its fragrance, but it does not last as long as other flowers.

The flowers are assembled with a needle and a cotton thread. The different compositions are then assembled to form the famous crown with tail.

Such a work requires patience, delicacy and sense of detail. It is a beautiful work of concentration and artistic. This work is even taught in primary schools in Thailand!

The Phuang Malai, A Thai cultural heritage to preserve

Also, some artists even take over this topic to create exceptional models. Phuang Malai is a strong component of Thai culture. Modernizing this 200 years old tradition is a guarantee of longevity and protection of this cultural heritage.

This is one of the missions that Macrame by Nicha strives to develop. Modernity sometimes goes against the culture, and a certain weariness in relation to "too old" designs damages the popularity of this symbol.


If you are looking for an original Phuang Malai and want to stand out with this gift, check out our unique collection handmade in Bangkok.

Our Malai are mainly made of cotton, and Nicha, year after year renews its collection. You may not find the models you see now next year and guarantee the uniqueness of our models.

You can order directly on our website or contact Nicha by chat if you want a unique model.

Wishing you luck, beauty and happiness.

The Macrame by Nicha team

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Yes, giving a Phuang Malai as a sign of gratitude or appreciation is a traditional and meaningful way to show respect in Thailand. The person receiving your gift may be very touched.

Phuang Malai can be given at any time. It is a gift to show respect or gratitude. It is also very common in Thailand to give a Phuang Malai during Songkran, Mother's Day, Father's Day, for a birthday or a wedding.

Yes, all our Phuang Malai are made by me with the help of my team of Akha ladies based in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

We are based in Bangkok, Taling Chan and Chiang Rai, Mae Yao. We don't have a store to receive our customers yet, however, you can find our Malai at Siam Paragon and Emporium during Mother's Day.

No. We only work with natural components because we like it but also because it respects the tradition, mainly based on natural flowers.

Absolutely, we offer customized Phuang Malai according to your needs. Please contact me.

Yes, we offer a wooden box for the special event with a blank card for a personalized note and fragrance. Please contact me for more information and to place a custom order.

We do not provide do-it-yourself Phuang Malai kits at this time, but we do offer workshops for those who wish to learn macrame techniques. You can check our events section on our Facebook page or contact me directly for a private workshop.

The average delivery time is 10 to 20 business days. During Mother's Day, the estimated delivery time in Thailand is 5-7 business days. For rush orders (birthday, wedding, religious celebration...), please contact me via Facebook, Instagram or email here.

We deliver on a case by case basis. Please contact us for more information and pricing for international delivery.

To take care of your Phuang Malai, place it in a dry, cool and well ventilated place. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight or moisture. You can gently brush off the surface dust.

Our Phuang malai are guaranteed against any problems related to shipping. We have created a package to withstand shipping and since then, we have no returns. Everything will be fine! If for any reason you change your mind, you have 14 days to return it to us in the same condition you received it. If the Malai is damaged, no refund will be given. Please take care of it! It is a difficult piece of work to compose.