0035 The Army of Buddhas (Thai 002—new)

Hat Yai Travel Blog

 › entry 7 of 58 › view all entries
The Buddha in the background is HUGE!

Day 020: 14 hours, 12.8 kms

I catch a minivan to the next town up the road: Hat Yai.  No brothel or nightclubs in sight anywhere… clearly, Sadao was an exception and not the rule.

What I do see everywhere are pictures of the king.  Apparently, even though Thailand is a democracy, the king is still hugely popular. Banners honouring the king are strung across the main streets as far as the eye can see. 

I wander through some rather uneventful neighbourhoods, gradually circling my way towards the heart of the city… Then, suddenly, something catches my eye on the skyline that makes me forget about the heart of the city entirely: A towering pagoda and next to it the biggest Buddha statue I’ve ever seen…

I make my way down the sidestreet until I find it.

  It’s a magnificent sight--  and the coolest thing of all is that I “discovered it” completely by accident… I had no idea that there was a giant Buddha here in Hat Yai… That’s the beautiful thing about travelling with no guidebook and no expectations.

Not only that, but in front of the statue is an whole army of statues, standing serenely at attention… Each one has a plaque at its base with a person’s name and photo.  I’m not sure if these are tombs, or simply memorials--  but it’s clearly a very reverent and significant place. 

No one disturbs me as I enter the temple complex and make my way up the pagoda.  Just to play it safe, I take off my shoes--  as I’m not sure which spots are sacred and which ones are not.  The pagoda is still being finished and on about the 8thfloor I meet a couple of friendly Vietnamese fellows working away, perched precariously on a wooden plank…

I’d really like to take a video clip of this amazing monument, but not sure quite how.  I don’t know if playing my guitar in front of the statues would be considered disrespectful.  So I opt for a compromise… I just hold my guitar inside it’s cast and tap on it a little bit… It’s still a really cool clip…
Finally I continue on towards the “Heart of the City”… across a canal and into the commercial district… Here I explore no fewer than four markets… One modern market, more like a shopping mall… then a bustling indoor vegetable market… then a hardware and electronics market… and finally a very scruffy, outdoor makeshift market with muddy alleys and flimsy stalls…

I wander around a while, soaking in the vibe of the place.  This place feels like real Thailand… none of the typical stereotypes that Thailand is known for…

Very happy with my discoveries here in Hat Yai, I head on my way…

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The Buddha in the background is HU…
The Buddha in the background is H…
Hat Yai
photo by: machupicchu26