The Chao Phraya River is inextricably linked with the history and culture of Thailand. As the country grew around the river many of its ancient monuments, among which are a host of temples, were built along the waterway. The best way to see many of them is by taking a leisurely boat trip up river to Ayutthaya, the ancient Thai kingdom. Although many cruises will not stop at individual temples, they are seen to advantage from the water and for visitors who are really keen to visit them a trip on a local boat may be the best way to approach them.
Wat Phra Phuttha Saiyat Pa Mok or Wat Pa Mok Worawihan on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River near Ang Thong, that was a frontier post in the 18th century, is one such temple. It is mentioned in 17th century texts as being among the eight sacred places outside the ancient city of Ayutthaya. The Wat is also mentioned in 17th century chronicles in connection with a visit King Nerusaun made to pay homage to the reclining Buddha prior to going into a battle he won. Wat Pa Mok is located among several other temples of the area.
The temple’s most well known feature is the gilded 22.58 metre reclining Buddha statue that is said to be older than the temple itself as it goes back to the Sukhothai period. The present Wat was established in the 18th century and the Buddha image was apparently moved from its original location in another temple by the river bank due to erosion and was relocated to its present position after the creation of Wat Po Mok by merging two temples. The new temple with the statue was dedicated in the mid 18th century. The temple’s other distinguishing features are rich decorations of its buildings, particularly those of the main shrine room and a chedi with a boat shaped base. In more recent times the temple is one of the starting points for the annual long boat races during October in which teams of traditional boats with 22 to 55 paddlers from all over Thailand participate.
Take in views of a range of historic attractions along the Chao Phraya River on Anantara cruises Thailand. Enjoy the very special ambience of converted 100 year old rice barges enhanced with modern amenities while on a Bangkok cruise tour.
Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.