Category Archives: Life

Tham Ta Pan Bureau Of Monks, Phang Nga…

…Parental Guidance Advised!

So, there I was in Phang Nga, taking a break from island life, doing some essential shopping and a little droning, when I found myself with time to kill. Google Maps showed me that very close to my hotel was something called a Bureau of Monks. Drone batteries were charging, and the weather had turned moderately unpleasant, so I decided to take a break from filming to pay a visit to said bureau.

I’d always imagined these bureaux of monks would be highly religious and private places, not somewhere farang tourists would be welcomed. But some years ago, having stumbled into one by accident (no, I wasn’t drunk, I was looking for a nearby wat, and… oh, never mind) and discovered they are very much places for tourists. They might have multiple temples, caves, statues, and often hundreds of steps which it always seems have to be climbed, to get a view of something that wasn’t worth viewing, but giving your cardio-vascular system a good work out.

This particular bureau I have to describe as totally bizarre.

There was a nice entrance…

travel, thailand, phang nga, tham ta pan bureau of monks, bizarre, statues

…some statues of monks…

travel, thailand, phang nga, tham ta pan bureau of monks, bizarre, statues

…animal statues, some with people who looked like they’d just stepped out of Avatar…

travel, thailand, phang nga, tham ta pan bureau of monks, bizarre, statues

travel, thailand, phang nga, tham ta pan bureau of monks, bizarre, statues

travel, thailand, phang nga, tham ta pan bureau of monks, bizarre, statues

…and then things got weird.

I have absolutely no explanation for what you are about to see, but you will understand why parental guidance is advised. And I’m only showing you a small selection. There were acres and acres of these things…

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travel, thailand, phang nga, tham ta pan bureau of monks, bizarre, statues

travel, thailand, phang nga, tham ta pan bureau of monks, bizarre, statues

travel, thailand, phang nga, tham ta pan bureau of monks, bizarre, statues

travel, thailand, phang nga, tham ta pan bureau of monks, bizarre, statues

travel, thailand, phang nga, tham ta pan bureau of monks, bizarre, statues

travel, thailand, phang nga, tham ta pan bureau of monks, bizarre, statues

…but I’m guessing you probably don’t want to see any more.

Just what these monks get up to in their spare time boggles the mind. But what ever it is, I think it’s time they switched to chess or tiddlywinks.

In an attempt to understand the place, I’ve looked at the name in Thai, chopped it into pieces (seems appropriate!) and come up with a translation of Eye Stigma Cave Monastery. I certainly feel like I have an eye stigma after looking at that lot.

wwiLet’s get back to normal twitterings.