Temple of a Million Bottles
See what happens when bottled up Thai monks hit the bottle to build a temple.
In the Sisaket province in the south of Isaan and just over 500 kilometres (300 miles) northeast of Bangkok, you will find an unusual temple. The name of the temple is Wat Pa Maha Chedio Kaew, but it is perhaps better known as Wat Lan Kuad, which in English means Temple of a million bottles.
The name is not an exaggeration; the temple itself and the other buildings on the temple ground literally consists of more than a million bottles in various shapes and colours.
The monks built the temple itself on a platform on an artificial lake:
Two small bridges allow access to the temple. The paving on the bridges and the narrow aisle that goes all the way around the outside of the temple consists of bottle bottoms.
The inside of the temple:
The idea of building the temple of bottles originated in the mid-80s, when some of the monks decorated their cabins with empty bottles. The community began to donate empty bottles, which lead to the decoration of more cabins. They ended up with more bottles than they could use for the cabins, and then the idea of building and decorating a new temple arose.
The donation of empty bottles continued, and today, the monks have decorated all the buildings with bottles, including the temple's crematorium and the toilets.
When I visited, the monks were working on more buildings, like this building that features a reclining Buddha figure, revealing how they build the bottle temple:
In addition to the reclining Buddha, the temple contains two Buddha figures decorated with golden glass mosaics. You will find the fat Buddha, also known as the smiling and happy Buddha, which, perhaps, is the best known Buddha figure in the west. However, this is not really Buddha; it is a Chinese monk named Budai:
And you will find the real, slimmer Buddha:
GPS to Wat Lan Kuad: 14.618141, 104.419260.