As the oldest temple in Trat, Wat Buppharam was established in the mid 1600s during the later Ayutthaya period.
The oldest wooden wihaan in Thailand is its claim to fame, but it offers several other surprises that make it worth the trip.
Along with the venerable old wooden wihaan, you'll find ancient stone chedis, votive tablets and walls placed next to a string of very old and striking temple buildings with wood and plaster walls of dark crimson and faded gold. One of them apparently features Chinese-style wall murals while another contains a reclining Buddha, but you'll have to ask the monks to open the doors as they're normally locked. Just behind the temple lies a string of frangipani trees that extend close to the river in front of a photogenic stonewall. The whole scene looks and feels like it could have been plucked out of Ayutthaya's historical park.
The temple also has a small museum containing ancient Buddha images and ceramics among other bits of curio, though this too is often locked. Never hidden away are the massive wooden ox carts from some or other previous century, located at the back of the grounds. You'll also find no shortage of concrete animal, hermit and soldier statues, but arguably the temple's most captivating feature is a trio of concrete guys depicted sitting around drinking and smoking as empty bottles collect at their feet. A couple of concrete dogs sit near by, and these too have indulged in the booze. In theory, the scene is supposed to teach how those who ceaselessly indulge their desires are no better better than dogs. In practice, it's more hilarious than anything.
How to get there
Wat Buppharam is located two kilometres west of the old quarter, just north of the reservoir. Head west on Rhak Muang Road from Sukhumvit, then hang a right onto Thetsaban 4 at the front gates to Wat Yotha Nimit (also worth a peek if you're a temple enthusiast), then the second left. Wat Buppharam will sneak up on the right as you go uphill. Admission is free.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 12th March, 2014.