(Charlie brown voice) IT’S THE GREAT BUDDHA. Like the great pumpkin, get it? Lord I’m getting old, my dad humor gets worse every day.
While huge Buddha statues look super exotic on Instagram, they’re super commonplace in Thailand. Even in Dan Chang there are caves that house a huge creepy Buddha statue. The biggest Buddha in Thailand, or “THE GREAT BUDDHA,” located in Ang Thong, is the third largest Buddha statue in the world, and the largest in Thailand. While this is a little out of the way for most people, if you’re around Ayutthaya/Bangkok and have time, it’s only about a half-day trip.
The Great Buddha is located in Ang Thong, a small town/province actually not too far from my own, Suphan Buri. I went from Suphan Buri city, but you can also go from Bangkok. It’s kind of a pain to get to, but then again it’s not really on many peoples’ tourist radar so I’m not surprised.
Go to Mochit bus station. Walk around and say “Ang Thong,” pronounced “Ayngk Tong.” Thai people are extremely helpful, and will point you to the right bus in no time. If you want to get fancy you could say “Boh koh soh” which is Thai slang for “bus station.” “Satanee ta-roht” is the actual word for bus station, but no Thai person understands me when I say it, so I stick with bokoso.
Once you get off the bus at the bus station in Ang Thong(you’ll know, the bus will park there and the driver will probably gesture to you to get off), again walk around & look lost. Ask people to go to “Wat Muang” (pronounced waht moooahng) and they’ll point you to the right bus.
The tricky part is getting off the bus – there’s no transit that goes straight to the temple. So when you see the Buddha on your left about 10 minutes after leaving the bus station, ask the driver to stop (“yooot tee nee”) and hop off on the side of the main highway. Then you’ll see a long road leading to the temple, and it’s about a 10-minute walk to the temple. When we went some random Thai guy gave my friend Steve & I a ride to the temple when he saw us walking, not surprising anymore after being here for 7 months. I wish I was as nice as Thai people.
Then voila! You’re at Wat Muang. The entire temple isn’t just the giant Buddha statue, it’s a huge temple complex. It’s complete with housing for monks, a silver metallic temple, a hideous hell garden, and another temple surrounded by a giant lotus.
Same process, just go to the bus station in Ayutthaya on the Eastern side of the city. I use the term “bus station” loosely here, because in Ayutthaya the bus station in question is simply a street where there are a bunch of different vans waiting around.
Use the same process as above, except don’t go all the way to Ang Thong bus station. After paying 40 baht for the ride from Suphan Buri bus station, hop out of the van on the side of the main road when you see the huge Buddha on your right. This should happen about 20 minutes after leaving the station. Otherwise you’ll go to the bus station, pay another 20 baht, and get on a van that drops you off on the other side of the main road.
There you have it – how to get to the Great Buddha in Thailand. It’s worth it for the Instagram if you have a day to kill in Bangkok or you’re already in Ayutthaya, otherwise don’t sweat over missing it.