… Underground And Overground.
So, as I mentioned in my last article, on my way home from Wat Phra Si Surat – in fact, only a few kilometers from there – I spotted something else on a hill.
I’m not sure how I’d missed it on my way to the wat. I guess I wasn’t looking. Anyways, I’d seen it now, and at the risk of getting a late lunch, I turned right down a long driveway to investigate, and was met by several “people” praying…
Was I supposed to join them?
At this point I wasn’t really sure what I’d driven into. I could no longer see whatever was on the hill. There were a few buildings, and a few more statues, but nothing terribly interesting.
It wasn’t until I was back home, and checked with Google Maps, that I learned I had just driven into something called the Tham Bo Nam Thip Bureau of Monks. What on earth was I doing in a Bureau of Monks? Was I going to end up in orange robes and with a shaved head?
As I jumped out of Bert to get a better look at things, I realized people were shouting. At me. There were several people sitting under an awning having what looked like a picnic lunch, but it wasn’t them. It was a monk and another guy beckoning me towards one of the many small buildings. They wanted money. For what? Maybe for wat. But what wat? I couldn’t see anything worth paying for.
So, being a little cautious I tried to ask what it was I might decide to pay for. A hole in the hill was about all I could figure. This hill..
Up the steps, past the angry looking fella and the rather more attractive Kuan Yin lady, between the Naga persons and into the hillside.
Okay. Looks interesting. I’m in. How much?
Well, fifty baht didn’t seem like too much money to waste. And trust me, it wasn’t a waste. It was quite an experience. And it included a guide. The half of the shouting twins who wasn’t a monk.
I didn’t think I really needed a guide, especially as he didn’t speak much English. But I must admit he was useful in pointing out the many extra-low stalactites that could have resulted in a nasty hole in the head.
Oops. That’s a bit of a giveway. Yes, through the hole in the hill, there was a whole network of caves and caverns, many with Buddhas and other statues, all with just the right amount of lighting to make it seem a bit spooky.
And the were bats. But let’s not talk about the bats. Just don’t look up.
I took so many photographs I’ve had to put them in a gallery. Click any thumbnail to view the full-sized picture, and scroll left an right to your heart’s content…
Right. Back into the sunlight. And I still haven’t found the thing on the hill.
I was about to walk around the place when my guide helpfully said “Why don’t you walk around the place?” and disappeared. So, I walked around the place.
Ah look. More steps. I love steps.
Especially after having walked up and down three hundred plus at Wat Phra Si Surat.
This had better be worth it.
Well, it sort-of was.
The building at the top was a bit of a disappointment. It’s either under construction or abandoned, or probably both…
…but the views were worth seeing…
…and there were only a hundred-or-so steps, which with all the practice I’ve been getting, I’m sure I could run up & down ten times before breakfast. Or not.
So, after that lengthy diversion I headed again for home. I didn’t find anything else on top of a hill. And I was late for lunch. It was worth it.