Wat Sri Sunthon (or Wat Srisoonthorn) sounds like any another Wat, and since there are maybe 40 of them in Phuket, you might ask what can be different about this one? (Wat is the Thai word for ‘Temple’)
First, everyone seems to miss the giant golden reclining Buddha peacefully contemplates the road… nice but still not so unusual… The statue is so big, how can you miss it when you drive on the way to Phuket International Airport? And yet, amazingly, most residents seeing the photo or hearing about a reclining Buddha of this size on Phuket Island would have no idea where the place is.
Best of all, Wat Sri Sunthorn is really easy to spot, just past the ‘Heroine Monument’ and drive few kilometers… you will see a typical temple gate on your left and through that gate, this huge golden Buddha stare at you. But as you are on the highway and people speed up in this area, you too drove too fast and missed it too!
Wat Sri Sunthorn is peaceful, like most temples, and 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, but the image really takes its full dimension from the distance, through the tree foliage.
Often in Thai temples, numerous carvings and fun statues are scattered here and there under the tress. Some are cute, such as pink elephants and exotics animals… and some are right down scary, like the ‘Pret Pret’ on the photo. ‘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.
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.