The symbol of Phattalung
Published/Last edited or updated: 9th August, 2021
The most dramatic of Phattalung’s many limestone massifs, Khao Ok Thalu looks like a giant shark’s fin of rock protruding from a jungle-clad body. A gaping crevasse near the roughly 250-metre peak is the highlight, while a second trail filled with animated Hindu/Buddhist statuary is also worth your while. Bring water and have a plus-size breakfast—you’ll need the energy.
There are two sets of cement stairs: the older and easier-to-miss steps on the right, if facing the mountain, lead straight up to the top, while the newer stairs marked by a pair of three-headed naga statues on the left meander through a forest monastery before ending at a meditation hermitage for Buddhist nuns. Many visitors stomp straight up to the top, but we also recommend the less-demanding temple trail.
Statues dotting the lower half of the temple trail include a chubby purple Ganesha; a four-faced Brahma next to an emerald-green Vishnu; and many different Buddha images striking many different postures. The largest Buddha, seated in the Subduing Mara posture with a saffron hue, stands high atop a hill and can be seen from the ground.
Then comes a newly built concrete meditation hall with a grand stature that looks out of place here; building materials were carried up the mountain by way of a pully system with carts attached to steel ropes. Inside sits a Chinese-style meditating Buddha marked by a svastika, an ancient Indian symbol that in Mahayana Buddhism represents the Buddha’s serene mind (and has nothing to do with Nazis). Further up the path are two Chinese-style pagodas joined by an image of Kuan Yin with 13 heads and over 200 hands (we ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 400 words.)
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.