Nong Bua Village
Marissa and I decided to spend our Saturday exploring. Just see what there is to see. We have been in Pua for nearly three months and realize how much of Pua we still haven't seen. After a few Google searches, we decided to find Nong Bua Village. We had no idea what the village offered except that it was fairly old-fashioned and had a cool temple.
After a 30 minute motor bike ride, we arrived in Nong Bua and felt extremely uncomfortable. The village was absolutely adorable and clean with many beautiful gardens, but we didn't see any people. It was eerie. It felt like a huge tornado or hurricane was about to hit and everyone knew except us. We decided to explore nonetheless. We followed the only English sign we saw to a clothing store. There were several women there working at huge looms making incredible scarves and clothes. The goods were expensive for Thailand, but very cheap for the quality work they did. When you see the women weaving these intricate patterns, it's so worth it. I'm not a souvenir type of person because I don't like carrying things around, but this is the kind of gift I want to bring home.
Marissa and I continued driving around the empty streets and saw a temple at the top of a hill across the river. We decided to check it out. We found our way up a very sketchy dirt path that seemed more like a hiking trail than a road. Once up, the road transformed into a sidewalk with blooming gardens on either side. It felt like we weren't allowed to be driving, so we parked our bikes and began walking around. Instantly, a Thai man in a white uniform gestured to us to take off our shoes and follow him. He conversed with us in Thai and we pretended like we understood. We passed through the temple walls and were greeted by a monk in his orange robe and a small girl in a white uniform who appeared to be in her early teens. It was as if they had been expecting us. Both the monk and the girl spoke English well and began the tour of the grounds. Upon meeting us, the monk immediately knew my name. I had heard rumors about fortune-telling monks and I believe this monk was one of those. He said sometimes words or thoughts just come to him.
Before entering the temple they asked if we were on our period. Apparently, they don't want the bad vibes of a menstruating woman in a temple. Neither of us were, so it was chill. Next, they had us put on white uniforms, which were basically white bed sheets that we wrapped around ourselves. We were eager to learn about this place even though it felt oddly cultish. They showed us how to pray and show our respects to the Buddha- which is a very useful skill as we visit many temples in Thailand. It did cross my mind that they could slash our tires so we would be stuck there and join their community.
As the monk and the young girl showed us around, they told us the history of the temple. They began building this temple 6 years ago and continue to build today. They never used any machines and built everything with their hands. The monk showed us pictures of hundreds of people working day and night to put this temple together- it's honestly very impressive. They are working towards being totally self-sustainable and grow organic gardens on the property. As we toured the temple it was beautiful and tacky at the same time. These huge structures were decorated with rhinestones and plastic sequins. It was all very strange.
Around the property were dozens of other smaller temples to worship at. Buddhists pray to different Buddhas when they are praying for certain things. The monk brought us to a Buddha known as the "wishing Buddha". The large structure was built in only 24 hours, so it is thought that wishes made will be granted quickly. Marissa and I were like, "why not?" and made a wish.
Though they were over-eager for us to return to the temple and controlled what we were and weren't able to explore on the property, it was still a very happy place. The monk was absolutely not pressuring us to convert to Buddhism, he just genuinely wanted us to live happy lives.
We also visited Wat Nong Bua, which may be one of the oldest temples in Northern Thailand. Traditional Thai music was being played outside the temple to add to the atmosphere. Ancient paintings were on the walls of the temples like Wat Phumin, the famous Wat in Nan, Thailand. It was lame compared to the experience we just had. We saw this cute dog though.
When we got home, there was a freaking kitten sitting on our doorstep. I looked at Marissa and asked "Did you ask Buddha for a kitten?" and she said, "...not exactly, but kinda!" The girl has been dying for a cat since we got to Thailand. It was the coolest ending to the weirdest day.