More commonly called Wat Sothon, this wat contains one of Thailand's most sacred Buddha images, Phra Phuttha Sothon, or Luang Pho Sothon as it is known by the locals.
The statue is fairly small, 198 cm high and 165 cm across its lap, and is sitting in the meditation position. Legend has it that three Buddha images floated down the river from Prachinburi, the largest one ended up at Ban Laem in Samut Songkhram Province, the smallest landed at Samut Prakan, but the middle sized statue found its way to Chachoengsao. On seeing the image the townsfolk tried everything to lift it from the river however did not succeed until they built a shrine and paid homage to the image. It has since been preserved within the wat.
On weekends, the wat is the place to be. People flood the compound from throughout the province and beyond to pay homage to Phra Phuttha Sothon. When we say flood, we mean flood. There are so many people that traffic jams are common and numbered parking attendants try to maintain some kind of order. Hundreds of people have to line up to take their turn in honouring the image. The weekend ritual has turned the grounds into a fair like display of lottery ticket sellers and food stalls. The image and its associated statues are actually located in the large shed in front of the wat with a green tiled roof. Thai dancers also put on a constant show throughout the weekend festivities. The wat is certainly not short of cash -- the numerous donation boxes are full and need to be consistently emptied, with the money paying for the massive new wat next door. There are two major annual festivals which are held at Wat Sothon, the first falls in the middle of the 12th lunar month and the second is in the middle of the 5th lunar. Contact the TAT for exact dates.
The Chinese temple next door is also worth a look. The ground level holds a large laughing Buddha where you can try to throw 1B coins into a small slot in his generous belly. The next level holds a beautiful wooden shrine.
To get here, jump on a blue songtheaw heading south along Chumpol Rd for a few kilometres for 4B, and get off when you see the wat and huge chedi. A tuk tuk from town or the bus station costs 30B.
Last updated on 29th December, 2007.