Ancient halls and boozy dogs
Published/Last edited or updated: 6th May, 2018
A wooden wihaan reputed to be the oldest of its kind in Thailand is Wat Buppharam’s claim to fame, but this Ayutthaya-period temple has a few other surprises that make it worth the two-kilometre trip from the old town.
Established in 1652, the wat contains rows of centuries-old chedis rising beside a canal lined by old laterite walls and frangipani trees. Several ancient structures sport faded gold and crimson paint peeling from the wood and mortar surfaces. One features murals in Ayutthaya and Chinese styles, while another contains a striking reclining Buddha along with other ancient images. The whole place looks and feels like it could have been plucked out of Ayutthaya Historical Park.
The temple oversees a small museum stuffed with ancient Buddha images, votive tablets, bronze implements and antique ceramics hailing from from Sukhothai, China and beyond. It’s often locked but resident monks can open it upon request. You could also wander towards the back of the grounds for a look at giant antique ox carts parked beneath the branches.
The big surprise is a quirky set of concrete sculptures including angry-looking guys smoking and boozing as a couple of dogs also sit around drunk with empty bottles strewn about. The scene is supposed to display how those who lack restraint in feeding their desires are no better than dogs—good for a laugh even if you don’t come away enlightened.
Wat Buppharam remains an active temple hosting a community of monks who dwell in old wooden kutis, essentially bungalows used for sleep and meditation. Do dress appropriately and consider making a small donation.
The temple is located just north of a reservoir lined by restaurants where locals come to unwind. Throw in a seafood lunch and a stop at another historic temple, Wat Yotha Nimit (aka Wat Bot) found on the way to Wat Buppharam, and this isn’t a bad way to lose half a day.
From Rhak Muang Road in the old town, head west and cross the main drag before hanging a right on Thetsaban 4 at the gate to Wat Yotha Nimit. Hang a left from there and Wat Buppharam will sneak up on the right as you go uphill.
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.