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Continued from the entry Thailand – Laos: Day 3 – Part 2 – Wing 5 and Ao Manao Beach. For pre-travel, please refer here.
Location: Prachuap Khiri Khan
After looking at the map on Google Maps, the distance from Wing 5 to Wat Ao Noi (WAN) is approximately 11.7km. We were lucky to start the trip at 5 pm as the sun was about to set. Later if we arrived at WAN during sunset, nothing could be seen there.
For those who don’t know, Wat means temple. This Wat Ao Noi is a bit different from the other Wat not because it has the largest “reclining Buddha” statue-like in Hat Yai, but there are three other Wat sites nearby and one is located on the edge of a hill. WAN is one of the famous places listed on Tripadvisor for visitors to Prachuap Khiri Khan (PKK).
A grocery store at PKK Town.
At the end of PKK Town, there is Wat Thammikaram Worawihan of which I think is the largest here. It’s a bit hard to spell that Wat’s name, right? As for this Wat, I’ll story about it in a future post.
In front of Wat Thammikaram Worawihan is a large gathering place of wild monkeys. And along the way, there is a ladder to climb to Khao Chong Kra Chok Hill. It is believed that this is the place of the monkey god (could it be Hanuman?) that meditate, stop by, or a type of floating spirits wandering around here. I’ll tell you this later in the next entry.
On top of that hill is Wat Khao Chong Kra Chok. Then, we crossed a bridge.
While in the middle of the bridge. Do you see the road to the right of this picture? When we return from Wat Ao Noi, we will go on that route and if we continue on that path, we will arrive at the Night Market.
After crossing the bridge… I was disappointed by not asking my tuktuk rider to stop at the bridge. Maybe because we had very little time back then.
Hill or Wat Khao Chong Kra Chok that is located above.
On the way, we were served with panoramic views of the PKK coastline up to Wat Ao Noi (WAN). There are many smaller islands along the coast of the PKK that are only visible when we cross Khao Chong Kra Chok Hill. There are also many guesthouses and hotels and the second branch of Maggie Guesthouse (MG). But in my opinion, it is better to book the first branch of MG as it is closer to the city center, minibus station, night market, beach, 7E and so on.
View of the PKK beach that is facing Wat Ao Noi.
These are the path we took to Wat. To your knowledge, this picture is from the opposite direction because I took the photo from the back of the tuktuk.
The closer to Wat, the more dusk approached. The view is magnificent with the arrangement of clouds and sun rays in the sky.
In this area, many Thai fishing boats are docked.
We started to enter the village road. The local night market has just opened here. In my opinion, if we stop here, there may be no Muslim stall. After all, this place is a bit further and closer to Wat. As in Muslim countries, most people who live around the worship area usually refer to the type of adherent to worship. Do you know what I’m trying to say? Hahaha. For example, in the countryside of Malaysia, where there is a mosque, of course, the majority of the people around the mosque are Muslims. That’s what I mean.
We have bypass a hill that is a bit unique because it has a slightly curved out shape like a cucumber or any X-rated shape in your head, hahaha!
The village road leads to Wat Ao Noi. The quality of the village road here is quite good but is rarely maintained. As a result, the surrounding area is quiet and only a few vehicles can be seen on the road.
From the village road in the picture above, I turned my head to the right and was amazed by the modest size lake with a combination of sunset rays. Wow!
These are the shape of a house in this area. I’m not sure if it is a house or a small Wat.
We arrived at Wat Ao Noi. What do you see? Two water dragons were circling it. How do you differentiate a flying dragon from a water dragon? Simply put, a long water dragon looks like a snake and a flying dragon has wings. But in most of my research, the one that dominates the eastern region from China to Indonesia is the water dragon.
Location of Wat Ao Noi. GPS coordinates: 11.861097, 99.821793
What is interesting is that there are not many tourists here, only our family. Maybe because it almost reaches nighttime, or perhaps because not many people know about the point of interest in PKK City, or perhaps not interested in everything about Wats.
Wat Ao Noi is also known as Wat Tham Phra. It was built in 2003 and 100% of its construction is made of wood which, in my opinion, the carving is impressive and meticulous. Situated between Ao Noi and Khan Kradai at the foot of the hill, it is also an ideal location to relax and unwind with its beautiful natural scenery.
Keep in mind that this Wat is not a museum. It is a place of worship for Thai people who come for “tam boon” which means to make a reward by worshiping the Buddha and activities such as giving alms to the Wat and so on. So, like other places of worship, we also need to respect the Wat and wear appropriate clothing.
Road signage to the entrance of the Wat compound can be seen from the village road earlier.
Once out of the tuktuk, there were plenty of dogs. As always, there are a lot of dogs in every Wats. But the dogs here are friendly and do not disturb visitors. As we are used to a large group of dogs like this, we didn’t feel awkward anymore. If in Malaysia, of course, we felt like we wanted to run away as far as we can. Importantly, as long as it does not lick or trying to smell on our clothes. It will be a long story later because it needs to be tanned.
This time the tuktuk rider did not give us any allocation of time. So feel free to spend more time here. He’ll be willing to wait longer.
In front of Wat, there’s a dog that seems to be a ‘guardian’ here. So we went upstairs to see what was there.
Before that, we took a picture in front of a snake with 9 heads. Indeed, I am not sure what this creature is. Either a snake with 9 heads or a water dragon or a water dragon with 9 heads.
After climbing the stairs, I immediately took a picture of Wat’s roof because it looks like the roof of a Minangkabau house (a traditional house in Sumatra, Indonesia, which can also be found in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia). I am not sure in terms of history how there can be such similarities. There are many beautiful wood carvings here.
Before climbing the second stairs, a ball of stone or iron (I’m not exactly sure the material) is placed here. Its diameter is about 0.5 meters. This stone has 2 chunks in front and 6 more around the Wat. It looks like stickers or tin or gold papers affixed to it. Ever seen gold paper after opening a cigarette box? That’s the shape. I’m not sure what the purpose of the paper is. If it’s a place of worship, I assume it’s normal, which is a prayer note and request to God. But we didn’t touch that ball. The worries of other things are absorbed into the hands, and maybe you understand what I mean. Next to it is a pot of lotus flowers which is synonymous with Buddhism.
I counted and there are 16 heads of the snake were surrounding the back of the Buddha statue. Have you calculated it? At the top of the 2nd stair, there is another of the same black ball. I took a picture position here and then followed by Tatie. I hope the area that we’re sitting in now is permitted. Felt worried if seen as disrespecting a place of worship if we were sitting in a prohibited area.
Look at that! Tatie is tightly guarded left and right by a water dragon of 9 heads x 2 that is equivalent to 18 heads! Not sure of the symbolism of it. The dog that followed us was still loyal to accompany. Before walking towards another area, we also handed them the fruit date, but they dislike it.
The back of the body of the water dragon circled to the back of the Wat.
These are behind the Buddha statue. It looks like a finger. But try to take a closer look. There is a face like a mythical creature or a common animal like a snake at each fingertip.
We posed for pictures at the back of the Wat. I don’t know what’s in this Wat. But from my observations during our travels to 11 cities in Thailand and Laos, there are usually dozens of other Buddha statues that are hundreds of years old and there’s also a 2 meter long Buddha footprint. Perhaps the other Buddhist statues are no longer relevant to the present day, referring to their respective followers. So, it is replaced with a new statue that suits the latest followers/believers. Due to the dilemma of breaking the old statue, it is kept in this house. These are my assumption, don’t take it as a fact. Please research it for yourself…
In the left corner of the Wat’s external.
A pot of lotus flowers located in front of the stairs we stepped first. I also remember the song Teratai Layu Di Tasik Madu sung by Fauziah Latiff from the 90s, a Malaysian singer.
Some information is taken from the blog http://thefilosofi.blogspot.my.
The Lotus Flower is a flower that needs mud and water to grow and flourish, but it will not sink into it. Instead, these flowers live on calm, dirty water, where many insects and sources of the disease live. Its large leaves float on water and are often used as a ‘springboard’ for frogs.
With such a dirty condition, one would regard the lotus flower as a worthless and dirty flower, which is not worthy of owning or keeping because of the filthiness of the place where one lives. However, contrary to reality, the lotus flower still appears with its flower elegance, which is captivating to those who see it. These are because it lives a life full of beauty and cleanliness without being influenced by its dirty environment. No matter how dirty the place it lives in, the beauty is well preserved and even adds to the beauty of its environment.
Likewise, our life as humans. Humans are born as beings with beauty and perfection who need a wish or desire to develop towards a more advanced, to achieve wealth for the achievement of a goal. Without both, the journey of human life will never be achieved, but that doesn’t mean we sink in between the two. On the contrary, we continue to live our wishes and desires with kindness so that the wealth we get comes from goodness as well so that in the end, it will give beauty to the environment and the surrounding nature like a lotus flower.
Meaning of Lotus and Lotus Flowers as Spiritual Symbols
The white lotus symbolizes Bodhi (Sanskrit for enlightenment). Pure symbolizes body, mind and soul, along with the spiritual perfection and peace of one’s nature.
A lotus flower generally grows with eight petals, corresponding to the Eight Paths of the Good Law . The white lotus is considered the lotus of the Buddha (but not Buddha himself) because of the symbols mentioned above associated with it.
After seeing the Wat, the tuktuk rider took us to the 2nd Wat. The distance is only 200 meters. While walking, we also enjoyed the view of the artificial lake here. I have never seen a lake located less than 100 meters from the shore.
Tatie and Aqif walked first in front and I followed from behind. To their left, there is a hut to feed the fish in this lake. There are also many dogs. We just ignored them and if possible, don’t try to run away because they will try to chase you up.
Before entering the 2nd Wat, we took a picture on the outside. At first, we wanted to take photos with the beach as our background, but the area was a little dirty. We were lazy to walk away from the garbage area due to insufficient time and almost dusk. I was delighted to take pictures of the hills in the middle of the sea and the rows of Thai fishing boats moored.
The 2nd Wat is located on the hillside. And on the hill, there is the 3rd Wat. But we didn’t go up and just took pictures with the statue below. After all, the atmosphere there looks a bit dark.
These are Buddha statues found on the hillside.
In this 2nd Wat, we take a short break to enjoy and learn what is in each Wat and what their devotees do. The Buddhist monks here are very kind. They smiled at us as we passed by and didn’t care even the Muslim hijab wore by Tatie. However, most monks in Thailand have a different mentality than monks in Myanmar (referring to the ongoing Rohingya issue). So, in respecting religious differences, let’s not assume that all Buddhist monks worldwide are the same.
Before returning, the tuktuk rider invited us to hang out at the lake we passed earlier. He said, there we can do activities to feed the fish. In the 2nd Wat, there is bread sold to feed the fish. Because we didn’t want to walk back to the Wat, so we threw the fruit dates that we bought one by one into the lake. Wow !! The catfish is huge, length of almost 1 meter each. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture because it was so much fun to see the fish.
After feeling satisfied with all the activities here, we were presented with a landscape of the sky with a reddish-orange sunset on the way back.
Remember the junction leading to the Prachuap Night Market located on the edge of Khao Chong Kra Chok Hill? We stopped for a moment at a large signboard that reads “Prachuap” and took a few photos. Thankfully the atmosphere is still not dark.
From a short distance, I took a picture of a tuktuk belonging to our rider. Our tuktuk is red: D.
On the banks of the seawall, many vehicles can be seen parking here. At first, I didn’t know why and what happened. Townspeople parked here to walk to the Night Market. The length of this Night Market starts from here to the end there. I think it’s almost 1 km long!
Because there was a Night Market, so we had to get into the main road in the town of Prachuap. While stopping at a traffic light, there was a carved statue of monkeys made of stone.
I deliberately took a picture of a Thai gas station as a memento here.
On our way to the city, I asked the tuktuk rider if there was a Muslim food stall in the center of town. He said that the location was where we arrived for the first time in PKK, which was close to 7-Eleven. Luckily he knew. Imagine, from Ao Manao beach to dusk, and we ate nothing. So, he dropped us there. Before he left, I asked him to take a picture first to remember his excellent service. Suddenly he pushed Aqif’s leg. I was shocked and began to think badly of him. He was worried if Aqif’s feet touched the hot exhaust rod. I also gave THB400 as fare and wages for the tuktuk services. The total fee is THB600 which is THB200 for a round trip to Wing 5, an additional THB200 for a round trip to Wat Ao Noi, and lastly, an additional THB200 as a wage to be a tour guide. Thanks to our tuk-tuk rider!!
“Take care of our children … don’t become slaves … we are free people …” – from the song Anak-Anak Kita by M. Nasir.
As soon as we got to Maggie Guesthouse, we had to clean our feet because we took off our shoes at Wat Ao Noi earlier. Lots of traces of dog poop there. A bit of advice, there is no need to take off shoes while hovering outside the Wat.
Continued in the next entry Thailand – Laos Travel: Day 3 – Part 4 – Muslim Food Stalls and Night Market in Prachuap Khiri Khan.