Southern Thailand is arguably one of the most exotic, beautiful parts in Thailand to discover. Although most people have heard about big tourist destinations like Phuket, Krabi or Phi Phi Island. This time, Ian will be taking you to the raw, hidden and undiscovered gems in Chumphon, Thailand where he will meet up with one of our Artists with many talents "Naka".
To spice up the adventure, he decides to take the train from Bangkok (Hua Lamphong Railway Station) to Chumphon. If you have never taken trains around in Thailand, we highly recommend you try - the scenery, the people and walk-ins food carts at various Station Stops add so much flavors to travelling experiences. Each time the train stops, you will experience different local cultures in their food, language and hustling-style.
The trip takes about 9 hours and for once, Ian gets a good night rest. In the morning, Naka takes him out to a very local area where a modest temple is located. Although we couldn't exactly tell you how to get there, as it is deep in the village of Chumphon, this is where Naka spent almost a year painting the temple's walls with Traditional Buddism Arts. The walls are covered with stories from Jataka along with various different Angels based on Hinduism. One of which, is Ian's Thai name "Indra".
Ian and Naka talks about the inspiration for Naka's massive, labor-intensive work. Naka says that he was approached by the head monk of this temple to help paint these walls, he accepted the offer wholeheartedly and dedicated his time and skills to master the project. He believes that it is a great opportunity to leave a legacy behind for his next generation to live on.
Naka also takes Ian to one of the most famous temples in Chumphon called "Chao Fah Sala Loi" Temple which resides the mummified body of the head monk who was well-known for his compassion and righteousness. When he was alive, there was many wild animals roaming around the Temple grounds, especially Giant Tortoise. They will gather in front of the building when he would give sermons. The head monk would then write the name of the temple onto the turtle's shell to protect them from being hunted or hurt. When the monk passed away, many turtles gathered up at the Temple as if they were mourning his passing.
When Naka is asked about the inspiration for his latest collection, he says that with his accumulated skills in Traditional painting and also mixed media, he wants to play with the Buddhism idea of "Shell" or Pluek. This can be referred to as our physical-self; it is impermanent, yet we spent most of our lives putting on things we value such as make-up, clothing, statuses but in the end we lose it all.