28 In Religion + Spirituality/ Thailand/ Travel

Wat Thipsukhontharam – Near Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Wat Thipsukhontharam was not anywhere on my radar when I started planning my trip to Kanchanaburi. Luckily for me, my dear friend Salapong had heard of this massive standing Buddha and wanted to share his first time there with Matt and me. Matt and I took a taxi out to Safari Park Zoo where Salapong works + lives and from there the three of us hopped on his motorbike (I’m sure we were quite the site) and made our way to the giant bronze Buddha. 

I honestly had no idea where we were going. Although I had worked in the area two years ago, after a certain turn I no longer recognized anything. I was wedged in-between Salapong and Matt on a motorbike has we zoomed our way out of Bo Phloi and toward who knows where. Salapong nudged me every time we passed a temple exclaiming, “Beautiful!” Then suddenly, standing in front of a large hill, I saw the giant Buddha.

All three of us were amazed at how big and beautiful this Buddha figure is! The grounds are immaculately kept and everyone we passed greeted us with a smile. You can tell that the people who work here are truly proud of this marvel.

Salapong bought us incense to leave as an offering and ask for a blessing before walking up to the Buddha figure. He said it would bring good luck. So we lit our incense, bowed three times, left them and asked for our blessing before proceeding through the grounds. 

Quick Facts About the Buddha at Wat Thipsukhontharam

✈︎ This is Thailand’s largest standing bronze Buddha Statue. This is extra-impressive because bronze is such a soft metal to work with.

✈︎ The statue itself is 32 meters (just shy of 105 feet), but it also stands on an 8-meter (26 feet) tall base!

✈︎ The Buddha figure is standing with the Abhaya Mudra (mudra means hand-pose). This is the mudra of fearlessness and is is supposed to be the pose he took after attaining enlightenment. It symbolizes peace, protection and, of course, fearlessness.

✈︎ It took 4 years to build this massive statue.

✈︎ The Queen of the late King of Thailand gave her blessing and helped ensure the construction + acquire the funds for this massive, beautiful project.

The beautifully manicured grounds.

Wat Thipsukhontharam Museum

Admission for this museum was only 100 baht. For those who choose to enjoy it, there’s a/c which is a much needed break from the heat. Unfortunately the boys didn’t get to enjoy this and waited outside for me to go through the museum. This is the museum I’ve enjoyed the most in Thailand thus far. It gives a lot of information on this giant Buddha and the monk who had the vision for it. Then in addition to that, there were some really great interactive exhibits on Buddhism and it’s spread  throughout Asia along with artifacts.

Replica of the foot + display of how it was made // a smaller replica of the Giant Buddha with the real deal in the background // a photo of them adding the head of the Buddha to the massive figure

There were many screens and videos throughout the museums as well that taught each patron of the museum more about Buddhism and its rich history. I really enjoyed watching these. There were also models of influential sites for Buddhism. It just was an all around wonderful museum full of educational material that was easy to digest.

This site is one of those places that you find it difficult to leave. Especially after learning about the love and passion that went into this site by the monk Senior Thera. I think they did a marvelous job realizing his vision for this gorgeous spot in Kanchanaburi. Don’t miss this gorgeous statue if you’re in the area.

A Special Thanks:

I wanted to take a moment to thank this man, Salapong, for taking Matt and me on this adventure. I love visiting places with Salapong because he is just a genuinely great friend. His excitement to show others his beautiful hometown is apparent. He was so generous with his time, and the use of his motorbike, to show us some of the more off-the-beaten path sites near Kanchanaburi. It’s often the people you meet while traveling that make a destination truly special.

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  • Reply
    October 2, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    This reminds me so much of Buddha Park in Vientiane in Laos, although there they have many different buddhas instead of one giant one but this does look very impressive. Also nice that you were in Kanchanaburi, I would love to spend more time there. Seems very chill.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      October 5, 2017 at 2:09 am

      It is a bit like that, but much more peaceful. I loved Buddha park because it was the vision of that one artist and there’s so much to see! Kanchanaburi is wonderful, and very chill. We’re actually considering returning in January because we love it so much.

  • Reply
    Anne @TravelTheGlobe (@TTGLOBE4L)
    October 3, 2017 at 8:49 am

    I have a real affinity for buddhas and this one looks fab. I always think it’s great to go somewhere unexpected that is less touristy as it can often be a lovely surprise

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      October 5, 2017 at 2:15 am

      I have an affinity for them as well, much to the dismay of all who travel with me in Asia. 😉 (I studied eastern religion in college, so I can’t get enough of it!) This was absolutely a lovely surprise and amazing to be in such an off the path kind of place.

  • Reply
    October 3, 2017 at 8:55 am

    I love Thailand! I really want to go back there one day and will definitely try and visit the statue. The fact that there is a museum that tells you about the history of the statue makes it so much more worth the visit.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      October 5, 2017 at 2:32 am

      I love Thailand too! It’s always so hard to leave here for me. It’s definitely a beautiful statue and the area around it is just so beautiful as well!

  • Reply
    Candy & Crystal
    October 3, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    I love it when people are genuinely excited to show friends their hometown. I had no idea that bronze is a difficult metal to work with. I enjoy reading interesting facts like this as it makes me appreciate it even more 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      October 5, 2017 at 2:33 am

      I love that too. Plus, it’s so fun to see what people find “of value” in their hometowns. I didn’t know it was difficult to work with either. Which is interesting because it’s used so often!

  • Reply
    Vibeke Johannessen
    October 3, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    I want to see more Buddha statues, didn’t really see much, when I just went to Bangkok for one evening. The Buddha at Wat Thipsukhontharam looks so huge. I have never really seen a huge one like this before. It is incredible how they built it 🙂 Would love to check it out. Thank you for letting me know about Wat Thipsukhontharam 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      October 5, 2017 at 2:34 am

      It is huge and so amazing to stand at the foot of. Bangkok is a good place to stopover if you’re in Thailand, but I do highly recommend a return trip! There’s just so much to see!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Wow this looks amazing — the Buddha statue is impressive. (I really appreciate the conversations to ft by the way hahaha!) I think I’d most love spending time taking in the gorgeous gardens here.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      October 5, 2017 at 2:35 am

      I have to do them for myself, so I’m glad others appreciate the effort! 😉 haha! The gardens are amazing and as long as it isn’t too hot, wonderful to stroll through.

  • Reply
    Claire Sturzaker
    October 4, 2017 at 8:55 am

    It’s so nice when you have local friends who really know the best spots to visit, I bet it was cozy on the motorbike! The museum sounds fascinating, I love that photo of them adding the buddha’s head!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      October 5, 2017 at 2:57 am

      It’s so true! I don’t know if cozy is the right word… Sticky is more like it! Ha! It was so hot that day! I loved that photo too. Really gives you a respect for it as a piece of art as well.

  • Reply
    October 4, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Never heard about Wat Thipsukhontharam although I have been to Thailand a few times. Guess having local friends has its benefits. Would love to check this iconic statue on my next trip. Thanks for the info.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      October 5, 2017 at 3:04 am

      I hadn’t heard of it either. Local friends have many benefits, things like this is definitely one! It’s also a relatively new statue. It was just completed in 2014. I hope you get to see it on your next visit!

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    October 4, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    This place with the tongue twister of a name is new to me. But looking at the beautiful gardens and the majestic statue, I feel I have missed something. Goes to prove the innumerable treasures of the world that we are not aware of. Indeed Wat Thipsukhontharam is nothing short of a revelation

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      October 5, 2017 at 3:07 am

      Ha! It definitely is a tongue twister of a name! I couldn’t pronounce it if I tried my hardest. It is absolutely stunning. There certainly are so many treasures that I know I’ve left undiscovered, but I feel like those are the reasons we return places.

  • Reply
    Veronica P.
    October 6, 2017 at 4:57 am

    It is quiet amazing that there wasn’t many people. It seems that you were the only ones there actually.
    I never knew about Abhaya Mudra and that this is the pose he took after the enlightment.
    What are your next travel plans?

  • Reply
    Rahul Khurana
    October 6, 2017 at 7:23 am

    The statue is huge and indeed looks a marvel. It looks more beautiful with the smile of Buddha and backdrop of the hill covered with lush green trees. Also, that manicured park looks pretty. 🙂

  • Reply
    October 7, 2017 at 11:42 am

    That looks like such a great experience! Also, totally agree that it’s often the people who you meet that really make the experience. It’s great that Salapong was able to take you here.

  • Reply
    Lois Alter Mark
    October 7, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    I haven’t visited Thailand yet but can’t wait to go. I would love to see this Buddha in person. It’s hard to imagine how big it actually is but it looks beautiful in that setting.

  • Reply
    Sreekar Harinatha
    October 7, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    Loved the massive Buddha at Wat Thipsukhontharam. Had seen some pics of the same on my friends blog. Its looks spectacular every time I see it!

  • Reply
    October 8, 2017 at 7:08 am

    Ohh, this is something that was not on y radar while I was in Thailand, I never actually even heard of it. Reading through this post looks like I really missed missed out. In saying that it’s great when you hear of a place word of mouth that not many others know about. Recently there have been more and more museums that I’ve visited that are becoming more interactive and really educate you on the history. Thanks for this post, it was a great read 😀

  • Reply
    October 8, 2017 at 11:58 am

    I have never heard of this! That is one massive Buddha and the grounds look awesome. Adding it my list

  • Reply
    October 8, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    I would like to visit the tallest Buddha and museum in Thailand, looks really interesting. At the beginning of the year I went visit the big Buddha in Hong Kong and the three faced Buddha in Sanya, China. I could not believe how big and tall they are!

  • Reply
    Marcelle Simone Heller
    October 10, 2017 at 8:05 am

    That is enormous! No wonder that they had to built more than four years! Wat Thipsukhontharam in Kanchanaburi is certainly worth a trip if in Thailand. That massive Buddha shows how devoted the people must have been and probably still are to their religion and culture.

  • Reply
    October 11, 2017 at 1:02 am

    I have absolutely no idea how you would pronouce Thipsukhontaram! But I really enjoy seeing your photos and reading about your visit. It’s a great idea to have a museum right there at the site to explain how the statue was built and more interesting information.

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