One thing is for sure: Thailand has a lot of temples to see and visit.

They are worth visiting for different reasons:

Some are very important, religiously and culturally, like f.e. Wat Phra Kheow, the Temple of the Emerald- Buddha, on the premises of the Grand Palace in Bangkok or Wat Po, also known as Bangkok’s “first university”, with the giant inclining Buddha.

Some are impressive and landmarks of the city, like Wat Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, the Golden Mountain in Bangkok or Wat Arun, one of the most photographed buildings in the Thai capital.

Some just offer record- breaking facts, like being home of the biggest sitting or standing Buddha of the town…the region…the province…or Thailand.

Others are especially interesting, because they are “different”…and this is, what this article is about.

There are many temples to see in Thailand and if you are on one or the other round-trip, you may find -as with catholic churches in Europe- that the pattern repeats itself, very often.

There may be a sitting or a standing Buddha, there may be more or less gold, but…hey…a temple is a temple, right?

 

Well…not quiet, as you may find out, when you pay a visit to Wat Tha Sung, also known as Chantharam, in Uthai Thani, the capital of the province by the same name, in Central- Thailand.

 

The temple is made up of many different buildings, some older and some younger.

It is one of the younger parts, that holds a big surprise and makes this temple significantly different from others you may see.

It is called “The Crystal Palace”…and for good reasons!

 

@Uthai Thani

The hall is filled with crystal columns, covered with mirror- glass and other crystal items all over.

Small openings near the ceiling, allow the sunlight to flow into the room and be reflected by the many glass- and crystal objects, turning the whole hall into some kind of sacred, quiet and holy “disco- ball”.

 

Some may even find it to be a bit on the “kitsch”- side…but it sure is different!

Adding to the sacred feeling, are lamps and candles that spread a rather warm light, also being reflected and golden Buddha- statues.

The temple is an especially spectacular sight at early morning or the afternoon.

 

@Uthai Thani

The temple was erected on the site of an older temple, dating back to the Ayutaya- era, on both sides of the Sakae Krang river. It was abandoned until 1789, when villagers asked a now famed monk by the name of Luang Pho Yai to take over the vacant position of the abbot. He renovated the temple and turned it into a popular center for meditation.

Many more buildings were added later, among them the said Crystal Palace.

A little note on the side: the monks in this temple produce their own “tiger balm”, an ointment, made mainly from camphor and menthol, that is said to cure pain and inflammation.

Let’s put it this way: when you are living in Thailand, you will -sooner or later- learn about tiger balm and use it.

I have no idea, if it has any medical abilities, but I use it for headaches and on insect- bites, sunburn or smaller pain in joints or muscles…and it helped me on numerous occasions.

My girlfriend and many of her Thai- friends use it basically for everything, from dirty feet to toothache …and they swear, it is better than any other “real” medicine.

No matter if that is true or not: by buying a little pot, you help the temple, do a good deed…and maybe get some actual and real help.

Things could be worse!