Angthong: A Place of Charm and Authenticity
Just north of Ayutthaya, Angthong is both charming and authentic. Get lucky at its monumental sacred sites or just enjoy the small-town life.
If you’re on a quest for good fortune, you may have been told to “go pray at nine temples.” For the express three-temple version, Angthong’s tourism board just rolled out a day-trip to three monumental Buddha statues with the catchphrase “Big, Long and Strong” (see sidebar). The slogan refers to life, not men: “strong” for your health, “big” for your work growth and “long” for your life. But here are a few more things to check out while in the area.
Apart from being a small town near the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, Angthong is also famous for its arts and crafts. Start your day with a bang at Ban Pae in the Ekkaraj district (open 7am-4pm, 086-131-9114), dubbed the “drum maker village” for almost a hundred years. Watch the process of making Thai traditional drums and get a look at the world’s longest long drum (7.6 meters long) in the village. Another option is Ban Bang Sadet Court Doll Center in the Pamoke district (open daily 9am-4pm, 081-255-5654) where you can see the finely-crafted dolls. The doll-making center first began as a project of Her Majesty the Queen in 1976.
Save room for spicy and authentic Thai dishes at Niramit (39/3 Moo 7, Sanchao Rongthor sub district, Wiset Chai Chan district, open daily Mon-Fri 9am-5.30pm, Sat-Sun 9am-8pm. 035-631-052, 081-852-4777). This riverside restaurant serves a host of tasty Thai plates and popular fish dishes, like shooshee planuea-on (whisker sheatfish with curry paste) or pla kang pad cha (spicy fried catfish), or go for traditional a la carte items, like pad thai goongsod, Niramit fried chicken and tom yum goong. They’re renowned for their desserts, too, such as the kesorn lamjiak (flour sheet stuffed with sweet coconut), which is Angthong’s famous treat. Niramit also offers dessert cooking classes, if you want to make your own.
If you still have energy, head to Anek Farm Floating Market (57/2 Moo 2, Pa Ngew, open daily 10am-5pm. 081-191-4449, 081-652-5666). Though the 2011 floods damaged this purpose-built floating market, it’s now ready to reopen. The floating houses surrounding the pond have various food stalls. The souvenirs aren’t much different from Ampawa, but here there is a stage in the middle, where plays are performed every weekend.
Big, Long and Strong
Big: Wat Muang
This temple is the home of the world’s biggest Buddha statue, called Luang Por Yai, which you can see sitting in the middle of the rice fields from a long way off. It took 16 years and B106 million to build this golden statue that is 63 meters wide and 95 meters high. Luang Por Yai is believed to bring you luck in work and business. The temple also has a beautiful but spooky sculpture garden, where you can learn all about heaven, hell and karma. Then head to the bot (chapel) that has another big statue and is surrounded by lotus leaf sculptures.
Long: Wat Khuninthapramul
At 50 meters long, this reclining Buddha draws worshippers seeking long lives. It is the second longest reclining Buddha in the country. (At 53 meters, the reclining Buddha at Wat Bang Phli Yai Klang takes first place. You were thinking Wat Pho? The reclining Buddha there is a mere 46 meters long.) After visiting the Buddha, absorb the peaceful environment and architecture in the compound that has a history tracing back to the Sukhothai era.
Strong: Wat Chantarangsi
This temple is home to the golden Luang Por Sod statue (6.9 meters wide and 9.9 meters high). It was built to praise the most famous monk of the century, Pra Mongkol Thepmunee or Luang Por Sod, who died 50 years ago. The name of the statue “Sod” has the meaning of “fresh” and “young,” which is good for your health. Don’t forget to check out the 5.8-meter-tall Kuan Yin (the highly-revered Chinese goddess) statue, which was originally crafted in China before it was delivered to Angthong.
TAT Central Region Office 6: 035-246-076-7.
TAT Angthong: 035-536-030. www.tourismthailand.org
|Address:||Angthong: A Place of Charm and Authenticity, Ayutthaya, Thailand|
|Report a correction|