Chonburi and Rayong are one of the most popular eastern provinces in Thailand. They are close to Bangkok and they have nice enough beaches and nature experiences for a relaxing getaway. We go there quite a lot. This time when we were coming back from Chonburi, we decided to take a little detour and explore one of the neighboring province - Chachoengsao.
With limited time, we checked Google to see what are some touristic attractions we can quickly visit. We came across plenty of temples and cultural sites but there one temple that really caught our eye.
Located in sort of an island, surrounded by a river (Bang Pakong), Wat Saman Ratanaram is a multi-belief temple ground with a variety of Hindu and Buddhist statues. If there is no other reason for you to visit this province, perhaps this temple would convince you otherwise. Here's why.
Lord Ganesha statue(s)
The main attraction and feature of the temple is a giant reclining Lord Ganesha statue. It is certainly one of the biggest one I have seen. A striking attraction here due to its sheer size and bright pink color.
Apparently, there are two other Lord Ganesha statues in Chachoengsao. A seated one can be found at Wat Phrong Akat and another standing one is at the khlong khuean ganesh international park. We only saw the one at Wat Saman Ratanaram.
Statues of Mythical creatures & Gods
If you are into stories of mythical creatures and icons, then you should definitely visit this temple. Here you will find awe-inspiring statues such as as the three-headed Erawan, multicolored Nagas and Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy,
This stretched Naga by the river is one of my favorites. Lots of awesome photo opportunities here for the gram.
Perhaps the most interesting thing at the temple is that there are all these cute cartoon and anime figurines spread around.
They have everything from superheros and Asian anime to popular cartoons and animals.
There are also bunch of original and multi-colored Pikachus. So cute!
It was really quite interesting to see all these statues but more importantly, you ask yourself...why? Why are they here? How they do belong in a place meant for faith and religion?
Probably for touristic and attraction purposes.
Wait, there's more
Other than the statues, Wat Saman Ratanaram has a floating market for shopping and lots of food stalls.
It was quite lively and busy with people making merits, taking photos, shopping and eating. If we had more time, we would have done some shopping and have a big feast.
Other popular temples to visit in Chachoengsao are Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan, Wat Hua Suan and Wat Phrong Akat.