Home to a big Buddha
Unlike other ancient temples that fell into ruin after King Narai’s death, Wat Sao Thong Thong remained active and now boasts one of Lopburi’s most striking Buddha images.
It’s thought that King Narai set aside the large grounds for either a church or mosque, or perhaps both, where French, Persian and other visiting foreigners could go to worship. The temple features several halls that are nearly five centuries old and, unlike others in Lopburi, are still in good condition.
The highlight is a roughly three-metre-tall seated Buddha, crafted in the Ayutthaya style in the subduing Mara posture. Its pointed headdress reaches above the crimson-painted rafters and nearly touches the ceiling of an ancient wihaan with Gothic-style niches, indicating that the building may have been built as a church. Old naga-headed Buddha images are placed in the niches.
Wat Sao Thong Thong is now a large and active Theravada Buddhist monastery. Wander to the north side of the complex and you may find a few women offering Thai massage from 08:30 to 16:30, especially on weekends.
Wat Sao Thong Thong stretches between Ratchadamnoen, Phra Ram and Rue de France roads near the river and just north of Phra Narai Ratchaniwet Palace’s northwestern corner. It’s easy to pop over here after visiting Ban Wichayen and before continuing northwest up to Wat Mani Chonlakan.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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