Wat Sri Sunthon (Wat Srisoonthorn) is known for the immense golden Buddha reclining at the top of a large building in the ‘Pang Sai Yat’ posture, which corresponds to “Realizing Nirvana” (read more here). The statue seems to be staring endlessly at the frantic traffic on the nearby road to Phuket International Airport. Of course you already knew that ‘Wat’ is the Thai word for ‘Temple’.
Surprisingly, most people miss the giant Buddha peacefully glittering in the sun of Phuket. The statue is so big, how can you possibly miss it when you drive on such busy road? Even residents hearing about the giant reclining Buddha of Sri Sunthon have no idea where the place is.
Best of all, Wat Sri Sunthon is really easy to spot. Just drive past the ‘Heroine Monument’ and keep going for a couple kilometers… you will spot this typical temple gate on your left. Through that gate, this huge golden Buddha is staring at you. But as this is a speedway and people enjoy speeding in this area, most drive too fast and missed it.
Like most temples, the grounds of Wat Sri Sunthon are usually peaceful. The main temple is surrounded by several constructions, a bell tower and a large building on top of which the Buddha is resting. You can climb the stairs at the back on the building and walk around the Buddha. However, the sculpture really takes its full dimension from the distance, through the tree foliage.
As usual carvings and funny statues are scattered here and there on the grounds of the temple. Some are cute, such as pink elephants or exotics animals. Some are right down scary like the ‘Pret Pret’ on the photo below. ‘Pret’ is a demon or hungry ghost and according to Thais’ common belief, Prets are as tall as palm trees, have mouth as small as a needle; their feet and hands are as big as a sugar palm leaf. Their only food is blood and pus. That’s lovely.
People who curse their parents, those who commit adultery or had a greedy life will become Pret after their death. It’s another form of life co-existing with human beings, but human can’t see them. Well most human can’t. Worry not, it is not a permanent state. Once they did their ‘time’, they will return to human, become angels or go to hell.