Over recent years, it has become increasingly popular for people to see in the new year by making merit at nine sacred temples within one day. Why nine temples? Well, the number nine is considered an auspicious number by Thai people. Not to be outdone, I decided to visit nine temples around Thailand today. Although these sacred temples are spread all over Thailand I didn’t need to travel very far. All I had to do was drive to the Ancient City in Samut Prakan which has some beautiful reproductions of these temples. To Thai people, it doesn’t matter if these Buddha images are the real items or not – they will give any Buddha image the proper respect that it deserves.
Wat Phumin in Nan Province
One of the most beautiful buildings at Ancient City is the Mondop that houses the Footprint of the Lord Buddha. You can find this at Wat Phra Phuttabat in Saraburi Province. The original is even larger and well worth a visit if you are passing through Saraburion your way to Lop Buri. I quite often stop here to pay my respects if I am traveling north. The temple is also famous for the Tak Bat Dok Mai Festival in July.
These four large gilded Buddha images from Wat Phumin are among my favouites at the Ancient City. They are just as beautiful as the real thing in Nan which I visited during my Northern Thailand trip last year. The Buddha images are sitting back to back with their right hands pointing to the ground calling on the Earth to witness the victory over Mara.
Wat Chong Kham, Lampang
The Ancient City doesn’t only have reproductions. Some buildings have been rescued from demolition. It also has buildings based on historical records. A classic example is one of the palaces of Ayutthaya which was burned to the ground by the Burmese in 1767. I like it how you can visit buildings from different historical periods and also different geographical areas.
Wihan Lan Chang
Ancient City is open every day. The price for foreigners is 300 baht for adults and 200 baht for children. If you have a work permit then you will be able to go in at the Thai price of 100 baht. The park is really worth the entrance fee as there is so much to see and do. Take your time and have lunch in the floating market. The New Year festival runs until 1st January 2008. It will be repeated during Songkran in mid-April. Well worth a visit if you don’t have time to visit all these temples during your visit to Thailand.