Pretty island temple
Published/Last edited or updated: 16th June, 2016
Located just east of the historical park’s central zone, Wat Traphang Thong – or Temple of the Golden Lake – is the first worthwhile site that most visitors come across on a day of exploring the ruins.
Accessed by a couple of long wood footbridges, the old section of the temple occupies an island at the centre of a reservoir that’s another focal point for the Loy Krathong festivities. One of the bridges runs straight to a large bell-shaped chedi topped by a slender spire in very good condition -- it’s one of the finest examples of the Sri Lankan style found in Sukhothai.
The site also features a brick mondop with stucco reliefs depicting the Buddha descending from Tavatimsa heaven and imparting wisdom to his wife and other relatives. A small ordination hall that appears to hail from the 19th century stands to the west but was locked when we last passed through.
Be sure to wander along the banks of the reservoir to check out signs posted on trees with helpful messages like, “Defects are good teachers”. You’ll also find several Buddha images and remains of ancient chedis scattered beneath the frangipani and coconut trees. A large Bodhi tree stands along the southern rim of the complex, its branches dipping over the reservoir.
Wat Traphang Thong is still a large working temple, with monastic residences and several modern buildings reachable by a footbridge that shoots east from the island. While here you might stop by the neighbouring Traphang Thong Market to grab a bite to eat.
Wat Traphang Thong is located around 200 metres east of the central zone’s main gate on Jarod Vithithong Road. Admission is free. From here you could pop into the neighbouring National Museum or head straight into the central zone.
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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