Nakhon Si Thammarat (20-22 Jan 13)

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January 21st 2013
Published: January 21st 2013
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Wat Phra MahatatWat Phra MahatatWat Phra Mahatat

Apparently it's almost as large as Wat Pho in Bangkok, and is the centrepiece of Nakhon, which used to be an ancient provincial capital. Housing a Buddha tooth and other relics, it's indeed very, very underrated, considering the handful of tourists I saw (I think I counted just two other falang)!
Continuing northwards, it was a 4h local bus ride to Nakhon Si Thammarat, the provincial capital, and second largest city in the south. It's right on the highway to the ferry jump-off point to Koh Samui (my next intended destination), so it seemed like a good place to drop by for a couple of days. Considering its location en route to the tourist and backpacker mecca that is Koh Samui, it's quite surprising how few tourists actually stop here. During my two days here, I barely counted a handful of falangs. And it's a pity too, as the city houses the impressive Wat Phra Mahatat, a sizeable temple and stupa complex that houses a Buddha tooth and other relics. And of course it offers perhaps a more authentic look at typical Thai life in the secondary cities, than what you might find at Bangkok etc. Oh well, their loss is my gain, and after being at a series of banana pancake trail stopovers, it was nice to be able to walk around freely without being solicited every five minutes by the ubiquitous over-enthusiastic motorcycle taxi touts ("Hello, where you go?" Grrrrr....!)

Stayed at Muang Tong Hotel.

Additional photos below
Photos: 18, Displayed: 18


Downtown NakhonDowntown Nakhon
Downtown Nakhon

Typical mid-sized Thai city off the tourist trail.
Nakhon National MuseumNakhon National Museum
Nakhon National Museum

It was closed so I had to content myself with the one outdoor exhibit I had access to!
Wat Phra MahatatWat Phra Mahatat
Wat Phra Mahatat

Skeleton of a Bryde's Whale apparently found beached at the river mouth close to the city a few decades ago!
Wat Phra MahatatWat Phra Mahatat
Wat Phra Mahatat

Eagerly rubbing the gong. I'm guessing it's supposed to bring good luck.
Wat Phra MahatatWat Phra Mahatat
Wat Phra Mahatat

Sole of Buddha's foot, with the standard 108 auspicious symbols. Those aunties were rubbing it and then touching their heads. For good luck again, I presume.
Wat Phra MahatatWat Phra Mahatat
Wat Phra Mahatat

Pigeon alert! Reminds me of the scene I saw in Yangon, when this baller of a devotee literally bought an entire pail of corn to feed the pigeons. He was very popular with them (and the corn vendor) that day. And maybe with the Buddha too.
Some Kind of Preserved HouseSome Kind of Preserved House
Some Kind of Preserved House

Maybe the previous residence of the provincial governor.
Pimped up Sawngthaew!Pimped up Sawngthaew!
Pimped up Sawngthaew!

Seems to be the trend here in Nakhon, I saw several like this!

We are still in the South after all!

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