It is said that those who touch the Big Buddha’s right hand are blessed with luck.
Known formally as Mahaminh Sakayamunee Visejchaicharn, informally as Phra Buddha Maha Nawamin, and simply as the Big Buddha, Wat Muang’s Buddha stands at an eye-watering 92 meters tall and 63 meters wide. Completed in 2008, the enormous statue towers above the surrounding, sparsely populated farmland.
As the original Wat Muang was destroyed during the ransacking of the former Thai capital Ayutthaya by the Burmese in the 18th century, the temple’s exact origins are unknown. After years of work, the reconstruction of Wat Muang was completed in 1982. In 1990, work started on the Big Buddha and was completed 18 years later, costing around 131 million Thai Baht (around $3.75 million).
The giant concrete structure is finished with gold paint and casts its shadow over not only the Wat Muang monastery and temple, but also the surrounding “Hell Garden” featuring statues depicting various scenes from Buddhist Hell. Other nearby sculptures on display memorialize the Gods and Kings and Thailand and commemorate events from the Burmese-Siamese War. As well as the garden, visitors can enjoy the Viharn Kaew (glass ordination hall), a chamber decorated from floor to ceiling with mirrored mosaic tiles that houses a Buddha made of solid silver.
Know Before You Go
As Ang Thong is a region in Thailand that plays host to a small amount of tourists compared with the likes of Bangkok, Chiang Mai and the Southern Gulf, it can be quite difficult to get to Wat Muang. From Bangkok (116km away) or Ayutthaya (44km away) it is best to take a minivan (this is a very common way for people Thais to travel) and ask to be dropped off in Ang Thong. From Ang Thong, it is then possible to rent a car or a motorcycle to complete the remainder of the journey by taking the A 3064 and A 3195 west, a journey of less than 20 minutes from Ang Thong center. The Buddha dominates the skyline and can easily be seen from the road.