Continued from Thailand – Laos: Day 4 – Part 7 – Cicada Night Market di Hua Hin. For pre-travel, please refer here.
Supposedly, Wat Amparam or known as Wat Hua Hin, we plan to visit it the next day. But considering that we’ve just returned from Cicada, I wondered where the people of Hua Hin used to gather to celebrate the new year.
We hovered around Hua Hin from the Night Market until the Hua Hin Clock Tower but did not find the gathering place. We were also excited if got the opportunity to watch the Thai version of the fireworks display. While at the clock tower, we heard chanting from Buddhist monks from Wat Amparam. The location is next to the clock tower. I thought, since we were there, we’d better visit tonight as well.
GPS location of Wat Amparan: 12.570091, 99.957434
As soon as we reached the gate, I asked the two men and women to the left of the door whether we could enter or not. He said we could go inside and recommend that we buy a ‘ask for prayers and blessings’ package. At first I didn’t understand what it was. It was a donation for Wat Amparan that was packaged once with the recitation of prayers and blessings from the monks according to what we wished. As Muslims, we didn’t buy it. So, I informed them that we only came in to take pictures and they allowed it.
After entering, it seems that there are many Buddhists here. We were a bit awkward and many people looked at us. And I see in this area there are no Muslims even as tourists.
From my guess, there are over 1000 seats here and at the end, there is a performance stage. We stepped to the right towards the main Wat.
Here there is a special space for those who want to pray for any desired request. We tried to get close to the corner where many people had gathered.
There is a specially laid table tray whose shape looks similar to the copper tray used during the engagement and wedding ceremonies of the Malays in Malaysia. On this tray, there are also paper flowers neatly arranged. Maybe each flower or color has its meaning and symbolism.
The woman I took pictures of was someone I had observed from the beginning. I was a little sad to see the look on her face like expecting something or hope that prayers will be answered. Maybe she was having problems in his life. Although different religions, on the basis of humanity in the heart, I also pray that she gets what she desires.
Then, the paper flowers are ‘washed away’ in the artificial pond provided here. The same concept as releasing a lantern into the air, releasing the ashes of a corpse into the water, drifting the corpse on a canoe and so on. They believe that the whole universe has something to do with their spirit.
I see there are also westerners here begging for prayers and blessings. Maybe they have converted to Buddhism as a result of marriage or maybe also because of their interest in the religion.
Earlier I was on the edge of a special room.
Next to the special room, there is the main Wat here which houses the main Buddha statues.
Religious lectures by Buddhists from the other side.
Pictured in front of the main Wat entrance. I think this is the real ‘Wat Amparam’.
While Tatie was taking a picture of me in front of the main Wat, I spotted an old woman who was guarding a trolley that looked like a cage. Inside was a boy who I think was in his 20s. I looked again, only then did I know why it was put in an ‘iron cage’. This woman’s child is disabled. So, because she didn’t want her son to crawl somewhere else, she then locked him in this cage. Meanwhile, this woman also collected donations by selling fortune-telling papers. But deep in my heart, “I felt sorry for this boy …”
Without further ado, we went up to the main Wat. Looks like a family is praying here. From small children to the elderly.
To the left of the entrance, there are plugs and flowers for sale here. The price may not be fixed and is counted as ‘alms’ if there is a surplus balance.
To the right of the door, there is also a sale of the same item.
Before going deeper, I also asked the seller at the left door whether I could enter with a picture or not. He said that it’s okay for us to enter. At first, I wanted to ask those at the right door, but there were a lot of people.
On the right side of the main Wat.
The beautiful interior decoration of the roof.
Before coming here, I read that there is a statue of a Buddhist monk that is made of pure gold. So, I turned back to the florist who was to the left of the door earlier and asked again. He said this is the golden statue I’m looking for. And he added, the other statues in this Wat are not made entirely of gold, only gold plated.
I think this is the actual monk of Hua Hin. So, this Wat is also called Wat Hua Hin. Presumably how much did it cost to make this statue out of gold?
I don’t know what the function of each monk statue is here. I think, maybe each statue has its purpose and function. For example, statue A is built to apply for wealth, statue B is to apply for protection while statue C is to apply for a mate and so on. The statue in the middle is the ‘original Buddha’ while the other statues are incarnations of the original Buddha but with a different body. In other words, it is called ‘reincarnation’.
When the body of a person whose whole life (his body) is visited by the Buddhist spirit, he will be given the title of monk, teacher, Dalai Lama and so on. Because not many people can be ‘approached’ spiritually by the Buddha, then each of their bodies is also revered and adored (or become a point of reference) by being made into a statue after death. For them, it is not easy for normal people to obtain the honor of being ‘touched’ by a Buddhist spirit. So, the monk who has been sculpted is what we can see as in the picture above with a face like a normal human while the one in the middle (the original Buddha) has a different face shape or is quite different from the face of a normal human.
There is also another version that says the body of a monk who has died is preserved and coated with cement and then made into a statue-like one of the temples in Koh Samui, Thailand. Another opinion also says that inside this statue there are the ashes of the monk’s corpse.
Statue of Hua Hin Monk from a closer distance. I wanted to go to the back of this statue but was worried if it looked rude.
Video around Wat Amparam.
As soon as we finished, we left Wat Amparam. I’m still not satisfied with where to gather to celebrate the new year 2017. Then, I asked a tourist wearing a white shirt in the picture above.
How arrogant he is!
At first, I asked, “hi … do you know the place where local people celebrate the new year?”.
He replied, “why don’t you ask the policeman over there?” while placing his hands on his waist and frowning.
There is truth in what is being said because the locals know better. For your information, if I ask the police there, it means that I have asked the Hua Hin police twice who finally responded with a shake of their head, did not understand English and so on. That’s why I asked the tourist. Who knows, maybe the hotel they are staying at might inform the location of the new year celebration.
The man remained silent but the conversation was continued by his daughter. She said that she didn’t know either. So, I replied with an appropriate allusion and feeling satisfied!
In the end, we just took a picture in front of Hua Hin Clock Tower. Look at the clock above, another 10 minutes to enter the new year. But we kept going back to the hotel because we were too tired. From climbing the hill in Prachuap Khiri Khan in the early morning until now that it is already night, there is no rest at all.
And set foot back to Hotel Tong Mee. Eh eh, there’s a Hua Hin signboard. If you come across something like this, don’t miss the opportunity. Psst … why is there no such concept in Malaysia (my country)? If not, it should be built.
When we walked home, I realized that all this time I thought that non-Muslim countries usually like to enjoy themselves, apparently on New Year’s Eve which is usually celebrated with ‘happy hour beer’, fireworks and firecracker shows, big events in Dataran Merdeka, KLCC and so on. But when I went to Wat Amparam, then I realized that Thais celebrate the new year by praying and asking for good throughout the new year 2017. Yes, really ‘Something Unexpected In Hua Hin’.
We’re very tired all day. After this, we want to rest as much as we can. Tomorrow is our 5th day on Thai soil, where will our next activity be? Continued to next entry Thailand – Laos Travel: Day 5 – Part 1 – Review of Tong Mee Hotel and Hua Hin Railway Station.