Traditional games of Southeast Asia

Pole climbing competition
November 13, 2007, 12:50 pm
Filed under: Philippines, Pole-climbing, Thailand


In Thailand, the game is known as Been sao nam-mun whereby it is normally played during occasions such as the Buffalo Racing Festival. Number of players: Individual or team game. Materials used: Long, greased pole and prize. How to play: An individual or a team has to climb up a long, greased pole, placed upright. Usually, money is involved whereby whoever manages to reach the top of the pole wins the prize money.   


The game, which is similar to the one played in Thailand is called Palo Sebo, played during celebrations and fiestas. It originates from a game played by the Visayas which requires men to climb up greased coconut trees. It is also similar ‘Pinang’, a game of Java, Indonesia. Number of players: Individual or team game, normally played by young men. 

Materials used: A long polish bamboo pole, greased with oil, to be planted on the ground. Prize is placed at the top end of the poles 

How to play:

An individual or team competes with the rest to climb the pole for the prize. Normally, the prize consists of cash, whose amount depends on the sponsor’s generosity.

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November 13, 2007, 12:43 pm
Filed under: Indonesia, marbles, Thailand


This game is also known as kelereng. It is popular among the children especially the boys. 

Materials used: A set of marbles (2 or more depending on the number of players) 

Number of players: Two or more How to play:

  1. A small circle is drawn on the ground where each player put one of their marbles in it
  2. Each of the players drops another marble to a point outside of the circle and the one whose marble lands furthest away from the circle gets to start first.
  3. Each player has his or her own shooter marble (striker) that is outside of the circle to shoot the set.
  4. Shooting is done by placing the shooter marble between the index finger and the thumb and moving the thumb outward to shove the shooter marble in order to hit the marbles in the set.
  5. The marbles that he managed to knock out of the circle are now his to keep.
  6. However, the striker marble must also land outside the circumference of the drawn circle or else, the marble will be forfeited.
  7. The player can try to strike his opponents’ striker marble if he succeeded in knocking his opponents’ marble out of the circle.
  8. If he succeeds in doing so, he wins the opponents’ striker marble and causes the opponent to lose his turn.
  9. However, if he misses his shot, he loses his turn and the next player can then start to play.
  10. The winner takes all at the end of the game.


The game is known as Luk Hin  

Number of players: Individual or team game 

Material used: Marbles, stones or rocks. 

How to play:

A shallow hole is dug in the ground. Players normally consist of children from 10 to 12 years old. The first player attempts to aim his marble, stone or rock at the nearest opponent’s until all the opponents’ rocks are out of his way. Only until then, he can aim his rocks at the hole. Once a player misses his target, another player takes over his turn.

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