travel, thailand, around khanom, wats

Six Wats And A Puddle – Or Not…

…All Around Khanom.

Wats seem to be like buses. There never seems to be one when you’re looking for it, and then suddenly they appear in groups.

I had to go into Surat Thani during the week. So I thought, while I’m there, I’ll visit some wats. What wats? I hunted all over the city using Google Maps and could only see a couple, both of which I already knew were not particularly interesting. And it’s quite a large city. Strange.

But, in the process of looking at the map in some detail, I discovered there were six – all in a group – where I was least expecting them. On the way out from Khanom, towards the main road, there’s the small village of Thanoi. I must have zipped through there a hundred times without noticing anything of interest, but Google Maps insists there are six wats. Six? Seriously?…

travel, thailand, around khanom, wats



Booking.com

Well, I’ve been waiting for a break in the weather so I could go investigate. The past week, it’s been as gloomy as the mood of the Thai people, who are dilligently mourning the loss of their King. The weather has helped them by remaining heavily overcast with low clouds, strong winds, and frequent rain squalls.

Today being Sunday, true to its name, the sun has put in an appearance, so I headed out mid-morning, wearing a suitably-sombre black shirt, for a spot of wat hunting.

I confess, I have no idea why wats get built, nor do I know why they get built where they do. I have been told they are all publicly funded, which, given how grand some of them are, seems hard to believe. And who the heck funded the six in Thanoi?

Maybe the people of Thanoi made a fortune selling public address systems!

Well, no they didn’t. There’s only about five houses, a corner store, and a coffee shop on the main road, and – trust me, I looked carefully – there’s only one wat. It’s quite attractive…

travel, thailand, around khanom, wats

travel, thailand, around khanom, wats

… but nothing like the photographs that accompany the markers on the maps. One is supposed to have a huge reclining Buddha…

travel, thailand, around khanom, wats

So, after a short chat w ith the resident monk, whose English is not bad, I went off in search of the puddle. Just up the road from the invisible wats, there’s something that Google Maps describes as “Ban Nam Phut Natural Tourist.” One might think this is a naked person in a field, but Google has a photo…

travel, thailand, around khanom, wats

Not much more than a puddle, I thought, but it looks like it’s worth a photo or three of my own. Guess what? It also doesn’t exist. I was using Google Maps as my guide (no doubt Ms. Chuckles is, well, having a good chuckle at the ineptitude of her competition) and to get to the indicated location meant going down a small gravel road onto a smaller gravel road, and to two small houses at the exact location of the mini-lake. The occupants seemed as confused at seeing me, as I was them. Hmmm.

travel, thailand, around khanom, wats

I’ve no doubt these wats and puddle do exist. Just not where Google Maps has put them.

Well, this was clearly not a satisfactory morning’s-worth of tootling, so I tootled some more – not using Google Maps. Soon I found Wat Chedi Luang. This was supposed to be one of the six, but it’s somewhere completely different. And sure enough it has a chedi…

travel, thailand, around khanom, wats

…although it’s a little unfinished.

For some reason I’d always imagined chedis to be solid structures, but clearly this one is a few concrete beams – reinforced, one hopes – plus hundreds, maybe thousands, of stacked cement blocks – each with a small offset – held together with the occasional dab of mortar, and plastered on the outside…

travel, thailand, around khanom, wats

Okay, the effect is good…

travel, thailand, around khanom, wats

…but I sure as heck wouldn’t want to be standing next to it during an earthquake!

Then it was on to Wat Nai a couple of kilometers away for a few photos…

travel, thailand, around khanom, wats

travel, thailand, around khanom, wats

…plus one of an impressive tree and a silly selfie…

travel, thailand, around khanom, wats

wwiSo, after a bit of a failure, my mission for the coming week is to hope for better weather, and to track down something rather more interesting, near or far.

Paul

...has been travelling the world for more than fifty years; having lived and worked in five countries and travelled to many many more. He likes to write about his travels - present and past - along with his other main interests of Information Technology and Motorsport, and he adds a few general twitterings along the way. More info than you could possibly need is available by clicking the ABOUT tab in the top menu line.

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