Why did I visit The Big Buddha in Thailand? I’m not a Buddhist and I never will be. What’s there for somebody like me?
Well, after being sick and stuck in the house for six straight days, I needed to get out and explore. I was paying to rent a parked moped. Also, I have no experience driving a moped! What better way to learn how to drive a moped than to drive an always-curvy, up and down, long, winding route with road signs in a language that you don’t speak?
Furthermore, while viewing pictures online of The Big Buddha, I noticed the scenery and the views were incredible. I wanted to experience that first hand and observe Buddhist monks in a monastery setting. So, let’s go to The Big Buddha!
When you’re walking from the parking lot to The Big Buddha, make sure to “waik carefully” and “drive safety”. To my surprise, this hasn’t been the only sign that I’ve seen in Thailand with misspellings. I would’ve thought that whoever was responsible for making the signs would ask a native English speaker if the sign made sense. I guess not 🙂
Overhead map of The Big Buddha.
I thought this was fascinating! There were many signs that had links to The Big Buddha’s online presence and encouraged visitors to engage with them on social media. I guess even religions have to work on their online marketing game!
There were donation boxes like this all over the place. At least in this regard, Buddhist monasteries are no different than all of the Christian churches that I saw while I was traveling throughout Europe – always looking for funding.
The big staircase to the top! And I mean that quite literally – these stairs are only to be used to get to the top, not to go down. There’s a security guard at the top to make sure you go down the way that they want you to go down. That’s because the “down” staircase goes to a gift shop and even more options to donate money. On the bottom right and left of this pic, you can see signs that this is a work in progress. There was construction going on all over the grounds.
The Big Buddha.
This was at the top, looking away from The Big Buddha. Those steal bars are for more construction. I got the feeling that it’ll be many, many years before construction is finished on the grounds.
I don’t mean to continue to pick on the monks, but there was basically garbage and random stuff all over the place. Perhaps this answers the question: what would it look like if monks treated their property like rednecks from West Virginia treat their property?
Alright, here it is, the pic you’ve been waiting for. This is the backside of The Big Buddha. Check out the monk at the bottom of the pic. You can see he has a smartphone. Right after I took this pic, he looked around to see if anybody was looking at him, quickly took a pic of The Big Buddha with his phone, immediately pulled his phone down, and kept walking as if he’d just committed a crime and wanted to blend in with the crowd. Even monks can be tourists 🙂
The Not-So-Big Buddha behind The Big Buddha. There were a couple of Buddhist women praying to it as I walked up.
In between The Big Buddha and the viewpoint was another small Buddha. This place has a lot of Buddhas!
Kata Noi Beach and the surrounding areas. https://goo.gl/maps/x37B6rKPohF2
Notice the sign: “products for charity”. There were no less than three gift shop areas on the grounds.
Stray dogs and cats are all over Phuket Island. The Big Buddha is certainly no exception to that rule.
There was a sign like this at Border Security in the airport. They definitely want you to know how to respect their religion. The problem is… (continued below)
(continued from above) … I saw tourists and Thai breaking these rules all over the place. I never saw any law enforcement talking to anybody about it. Is it all just for show?