When I visited Wat Bang Kung (วัดบางกุ้ง) a few months ago, I am surprised that the temple is now much more crowded compared to 10 years ago. Vans and cars with foreigners speaking my dialect (Cantonese) in a small province (Samut Songkram) to visit the temple.
If you are just tagging along because you wanted to see how an ancient tree is able to enshrine the hall and Buddha statue, may I just suggest that rather than just another tourist spot, take the rare opportunity to pray to the Buddha statue. Perhaps you may wonder what is so special since it is not a huge temple.
Well, there are temples in Thailand which is inconspicuous and humble but are of strong spiritual energy. If you have faith and pray sincerely, you may be able to find the answers and solutions that you are looking for (but please, this is not about striking the lottery or lotto).
More than 10 years ago, I first came and prayed sincerely and my life has really changed. Not in riches, power and fame because those are not what I am looking for. But I am able to find answers and path leading to more inner peace.
When visiting Wat Bang Kung… ladies please do not come in shorts or mini skirts as you may not be allowed in the hall. However sometimes there are volunteers who provide wrap skirts that you can use to wrap around before you enter. Still, if visiting any temple is part of your itinerary for the day, please try to come in longer skirts, jeans or bring a shawl along to ensure you would be allowed to enter the hall. There is no admission or entrance fee required.
You can proceed to a counter where you can put in donation in exchange for some jossticks, candles, flower and a few small pieces of golden sticky paper. Usually you can put about 20 baht or more. Lighted jossticks and candles are not allowed in the hall. You can light and place the candles and jossticks at a space provided outside.
If you don’t know what to say, then I have a suggestion:
Kneel down (like what you see others are doing), then say in your heart that “I am (your full name) from (your address and country) and I would like to come to pay respect to Buddha. May the merits earned from this be shared with my parents, spouse, children, and (people in your list). May we be able to overcome our obstacles, be healthy and safe.”
When you arrive inside the hall, kneel down and bow down 3 times. Make your aspiration- if you have any wish or hope for some answer to some problems, pray to have guidance shown to you. After that, proceed to the stairs on your left (as per the picture above) when you see people making their way up. You can stick the golden paper on the Buddha statue.
There is one direction which is clockwise…going up via the left stairs and coming down by the right stairs.
After you complete, you may wish to pay your respects again before leaving. You may find your sincere prayers and aspirations being answered. If yes, it be good to come back again and pay respect and gratitude to the temple again.
How a temple can be hidden inside a huge tree is truly a mystery. The photo above is taken from the side of the temple.
Going further down, you would see life sized statutes of Thais and Burmese fighting during the war time hundreds of years ago.