… In Thung Song.
After leaving the reservoirs I mentioned in my last article, I drove north a bit and west a bit to the town of Tung Song. It’s in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, about forty minutes to the west of the city of the same name.
Tung Song is a strange place. Most people miss it as they swoosh past on the six-lane highway 41 bypass. Having now visited the place, I’d say that’s not a bad plan.
Aside from a couple of main roads it’s a town of tiny streets and lanes and not much more. This gave me cause to curse Ms. Chuckles my GPS person. Possibly soon-to-be ex-GPS person.
The first place I wanted to visit was Wat Khao Preedee. She decided to send me over a narrow metal bridge with high sides, that I swear was only about two millimeters wider than Bert. I don’t know that for sure as I kept my eyes dead ahead and tried to drive as straight as possible.
You did remember to push the little button that folds in the door mirrors, didn’t you?
And having crossed safely, she wanted me to turn right across the railroad tracks. Ha. There were stout metal poles to prevent anything larger than a motorbike from crossing. And, there was absolutely nowhere to turn around.
I knew it would be impossible to reverse across the bridge, so after a twenty-seven, or was it twenty-nine point turn, I was faced with the metal bridge for the second time in five minutes. This time it was a little easier as I remembered to press the little button that folds in the door mirrors.
Eventually I found the wat. Strange place. It’s mostly tombs set under a high vertical cliff. It was damp, spooky and more than a little smelly…
There were lots of little monks’ homes dotted around, along with lots of little monks. There’s one just left of center, hiding behind a bush. I assume he’s wearing more than just the bush. Maybe it’s laundry day…
In fact there were maybe a hundred in the main hall, being taught whatever it is that monks get taught. Except for the four who’d popped-out for an ice cream. That seemed odd.
I thought monks were not allowed to have money. I thought monks only ate donated food. I thought monks didn’t eat after midday. Shows what I know.
Anyways, I’m not complaining. They offered to buy me one.
I politely declined as I’m desperately trying to lose three kilos, and ice cream is on my list of not-to-be-touched-under-any-circumstances foods. Those are the same 3kgs I’ve been trying to lose for the past twelve months. Aside from which, I’d just eaten three donuts.
Yes? You have a problem?
I’d seen somewhere that the wat had a cave that was worth visiting. This was the entrance…
…okay, scrap that idea. So I wandered around – sprightly, as I was not weighed down by ice cream – and found this…
…an unfinished and somewhat deserted prayer hall.
With or without Ms. Chuckles’ directions, I’d say this one is not worth the effort of finding it.
So, it was back towards town to find the Tham Talot Cave, famous for its reclining Buddha. “Tham Talot” translates roughly as a cave open at both ends, and sure enough, there’s the other end, just beyond the Buddha who is indeed reclining again. When does he ever get any work done?
And that was it really, not much else to see.
Except I did find some stone steps at the back of the cave, and usually they lead to something worth seeing…
Really? I walked all the way up here to see that? What is it anyways? Oh well, I assume at least there’s a good view…
Okay. Never mind. Cross this one off your list too, if it was ever on there.
There was one more place I’d planed on visiting – a botanical garden to the south of the town. The mid-afternoon skies were getting blacker, and I figured what was probably a fairly average place in sunshine would be downright dour in the rain. Maybe next time, if there is one.
Actually, Tung Song is a good place to visit for a very different reason. On the bypass there’s a large Tesco Lotus Supercenter, which has mountain views to the south from its upper floor. I must remember one day to take my camera inside. And strangely, given that Tung Song is in the middle of nowhere, everyone seems to speak good English. Ah well, if I’m in the area, I’ll maybe visit again.