Visiting Wat Khun Samut, the Temple in the Ocean

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Over the last few decades, the Gulf of Thailand just south of Bangkok has been eating up land at a rapid rate. The people of a small village on the coast, Ban Khun Samut Chin, have had to move their homes further inland several times to escape the encroaching water. The village temple, Wat Khun Samut, is still in operation in its original location, although water sometimes laps against its walls during high tide. The monks also had to raise the floor of the temple about a meter to keep it dry at all times.

Some point to global warming as the cause of the "rising ocean", but part of the problem is that people have cut down all of the mangrove forests that kept the soil in place. And add that to the common problem of eroding land at the mouth of a big river (like in New Orleans) and you have an ocean shoreline that is steadily moving closer and closer to Bangkok.

Back in September, Piyawat and I decided to see this for ourselves, so we headed over to Samut Prakan, Bangkok's provincial neighbor to the south, to visit the temple in the middle of the ocean. Our tour guide for the day was Richard Barrow, the webmaster of an incredible set of websites called Paknam Web. I have been reading his blog and visiting his sites (like the excellent Learning Thai Language site) for a long time, so it was great to finally meet him in person.

In any case, at the time, I never got around to writing about our little trip, so I will let Richard's description and photos fill in the blanks. If you want to read more, you can see many of his blog posts about the village and the temple, with some very interesting photos of the temple.

1 Comment

Oh, you met Richard. Very exciting. I've read his posts and sites for a few years now and he's one of the inspirations for my choosing to blog about my experiences living here.

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This page contains a single entry by Stuart published on November 24, 2007 7:39 PM.

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