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Will Thailand's Spirit Houses Help the Real Housewives on Their Ultimate Girls Trip?
The ladies began their luxurious stay on Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip Season 3 by bringing their intentions for the trip to Thailand's spirits.
The Real Housewives are tapping into Asia’s rich culture in hopes of some good vibes and fortune, perhaps with the help of Thailand’s traditional spirit houses.
In Season 3 of The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip — featuring The Real Housewives of Potomac’s Gizelle Bryant and Candiace Dillard Bassett, The Real Housewives of Miami’s Alexia Nepola and Marysol Patton, The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City cousins Heather Gay and Whitney Rose, The Real Housewives of Atlanta’s Porsha Williams, and The Real Housewives of New York City’s Leah McSweeney — the ladies have packed their bags for Phuket, Thailand.
Hosted by their trusted and loveable concierge, Pepsi, the Housewives' stay at the luxurious Villa Aye began with a house tour. Their first stop: an outdoor structure commonly seen around southeast Asia known as San Phra Phum or a “Spirit House.”
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“Every house in Thailand has the small house for the spirits,” Pepsi told the 'Wives. “Every morning, we offer flowers and some food here.”
Spirit houses are not only found in Thailand but are also common in Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
Spirit Houses are actually shrines: smaller house-like and roofed structures found outside businesses, residences, and even government buildings. Aesthetically, they resemble beautifully-crafted dollhouses upheld on daises and pedestals, though spiritually, they are believed to house souls that might otherwise wish to bother the living.
Each day, believers bring offerings — typically fruits and floral garlands known as phuang malai — to appease the spirits. Leaving dishes and drinks, and lighting candles and incense are also customarily shared among the devoted.
“I just didn’t know spirits lived here as well,” said Porsha. “I thought we [were] the ones renting this place.”
During the RHUGT season premiere, Pepsi instructed the ladies to hold burning incense, explaining they should visit the spirit house every morning to “pray” their intentions while closing their eyes and remaining “confident.” Pepsi can be seen cleansing himself with incense sticks, a spiritual practice known as “smudging.”
“Thank you so much for this beautiful opportunity to be here,” said Porsha. “I would like to have some sisterhood-type of vibe happening, and I also would like more of this good food that y’all have down here.”
Villa Aye’s spirit house is a dark wooden structure with a resting hill roof and intricately carved lattice. Before it is an altar with beautiful platters of fruit containing bananas, pomelos, mangoes, and other produce, and dual towering floral arrangements. The spirit house, like many others around the country, is also equipped with a ladder that starts from the ground, said to allow the spirits easy access to come and go to wander the earth as they please.
Spirit houses can be as small as birdhouses or as big as sheds, the work of skillful architects which are typically overseen and blessed by Buddhist monks and/or Brahman priests. They are often miniature versions of the home or structure they represent, sometimes containing handcrafted figurines and furniture inside. And while Villa Aye’s spirit house was quite ornate, they greatly vary in terms of design, simplicity, and size.
“My intention for this trip is that I keep all of my edges,” said Candiace.
“Please, Lord, allow us to have fun and get down to some nitty gritty drama if we need it,” Gizelle said as her intention, prompting Marysol to call on Mary J. Blige for “no more drama.”
Suffice to say, based on the first look trailer of The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip, drama is undoubtedly on the horizon. To see more about spirit houses and the housewives’ week-long stay in Thailand, tune in to weekly episodes on Peacock.