I took a couple of our guests on a drive around the island the other day and we passed by Salakphet Temple. The new temple has been under construction for years, slowly being built as donations have come in. Architecturally it’s nothing spectacular, identical to pretty much any small temple anywhere in the country. I had been inside before and the walls were just whitewashed, again the same as most temples, where the emphasis is always on covering the exterior with as much tacky, shiny bling as possible. So the plan was just to take a couple of quick pics of the exterior and then head down to the fishing village to see some local life.
However, when we were standing outside an old monk shouted at us from one of the windows to come inside. So we did. The interior is something a bit special.
Two Thai artists, one from Trat and his assistant from Klong Yai, near the Cambodian border are three months into a year long project to paint a giant mural on the the four interior walls of the temple. One wall is complete which shows scenes from Buddha’s life. (The one above is the birth of Buddha – he was a bit special even at a young age as he could walk seven steps when born – as illustrated on the mural.) Work on the second wall has begun and some drawings have been outlined on the wall behind the main Buddha statue inside the temple.
Some visitors have already left their mark. If you go along and make a donation and ask to help then either you can paint a little of the mural or choose the coloring for some clothing worn by one of the figures, there’s wee bit of tartan in one guy’s troosers, courtesy of a Scottish woman and a couple of Dutch visitors had tulips included in the mural. Very nice idea and something you are unlikely to be able to do anywhere else during your visit to Thailand. You might want to bring a wide angle lens with you too, I didn’t as you can probably tell from the photos below. I also didn’t take any photos of the exterior, so if you aren’t sure what it looks like, basically just look for a temple – you cant really confuse it with any other building nearby.