I like being spontaneous. Yesterday I decided on a whim that I’d take my last travel trip of the year. A week touring around Isaan… which I had started at the beginning of the month which had to be cut short. With my ruck sack packed, I jumped onto my motorbike and within an hour and a half I had reached the sleepy town of That Phanom, 55km south of Nakhon Phanom.
The main reason for visiting was to check out the temple, Wat That Phanom. As soon as I arrived, the temple was beautifully lit up and could be seen from most parts of the town. A great sight.
With bags dropped of at the NJ Hotel (300b – nice rooms in great location), I went out to take some pictures of the temple and of course, find a little den I could settle in for a nightcap. As I pulled up outside the temple, I could see preperations were being layed out around the temple grounds – I could sense something big was going to happen.
Then all of the sudden, a university teacher approached me and offered me some coffee – an act of kindness that is all to familiar in this part of the country. He explained that a ceremony involving 5,500 monks was to take place in the morning. Perfect timing I thought! Sweet.
After chatting for a while, he introduced me to his students and before long I was helping move some boxes with the rest of the students along with some local monks. Good times.
An early night was to be had, as I was keen to get up at 6am in order to return to witness the huge ceremony.
Monks sitting outside the That Phanom Temple at around 7am
Breakfast was offered out for free. I think it was noodles.
Many locals paying respect to the monks.
The monks started collecting donations – mostly food (rice, instant noodles and sweets), flowers and money.
Time to go home!