I saved this post for last. Out of all the wild amazing crazy beautiful stuff I saw, Wat Phut Udomphom (วัดพืชอุดม) really carried the torch, partially because of the vastness of the area it covers. This is another epic spot recommended by my hosts Sandy & Logan (Logan's company Free Size sponsored my programing in Bangkok). I feel like should mention I didn't know Sandy and Logan before this trip, they just happened to have great taste is weird spots, which was a super bonus for me. And, as it so often turns out, we discovered we have many friends in common (they used to live in Chicago). My world continually gets smaller on a daily basis.
Wat Phut Udomphom is built like what I imagine the definition of a compound is. There is a traditional temple near the back, a smattering of buildings here and there, a crematorium which is standard at a lot of Buddhist Temples. Where it starts to get a little strange is with the outdoor sculptures of gods riding beasts, demons busting out of the ground and animals tearing apart bloody disemboweled people. THEN you hit the REALLY weird stuff when you move indoors to the monks rendition of Heaven & Hell. When I say rendition I mean the monks there have constructed, painted and assembled this entire space. There is work in progress around the area and you can see monks painting devil faces as you walk by.
Maybe you saw my other post on Wat Rong Kuhn a Heaven & Hell themed temple in Chiang Rai designed by a contemporary Thai artist? If you did, as you will see Wat Phut Udomphom is an entirely different Heaven & Hell. Think 7 levels of Heaven where you climb from floor to floor on dangerously narrow and steep steps witnessing different blue sparkly dioramas depicting the joys of making it to this enlighten place. Then imagine walking back outside around the building into Hells jaws (literelay) housed in a sub-level football field size room. The easiest way is to describe it as a theme park, but that's not quite accurate, it's stranger, your at a temple. In Hell you walk through a maze of fenced off dioramas, many include a 5 bhat (.15 cents) machine that trigger's a Chucky Cheese style automotoronic event of what will happen if you end up there. All built by the monks.
Wat (which translates to temple) Phut Udomphom was a half day commitment. It could of easitly been a full day trip and I had Logan with me who luckly was able to take off work. I don't think I could of gotten there without his help (let's just say, I wouldn't of), he speaks Thai, had been there AND had a two different maps- all helpful in Thailand. Him and Sandy had only been there with family driving them, so they looked into bus options (very confusing) and we decided on getting a taxi for a flat rate to go. The temple is located about a 30-40 minute drive outside of central Bangkok. There is a lot more about this place that is amazing including all the machines you can get your lucky numbers from, karp the size of puppies to feed in the nasty river that flows by and I discovered a number of amazing moralistic murals painted inside a giant crab sculpture. Don't ask, I don't know... I'll let the photos tell you the rest.
Entrance to Heaven
This is my last Thailand post. I have so much more to share about my trip, but I need to move forward since so much is happening now that I'm home. If your really interested there are about a million photos on my flicker you can go through and if you have specific questions always feel free to shoot me an email (right at the top there on the right).
My lucky numbers & fortune....
If you can read Thai or want to look at the website Logan found for the spot check it out here.
Full photo set of Wat Phut Udomphom here.