IBC Educational Trip to Songkhla on October 5, 2019

IBC arranged a refreshing day-tour to Songkhla after the completion of its September 7 big event - five celebrations namely; commemoration of IBC 15th Anniversary, the 12th Convocation, Alumni Gathering, the Opening Ceremony of the Female Hostel Block (Mahapajapati Vihara) and Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Male Hostel Block (Sona Vihara). Altogether over sixty members joined the trip while some other students stayed back at the campus.

The day-tour visiting includes some monumental monasteries, educational and tourist spots in Songkhla like;

1. Wat Pharnon Leam Po
2. Wat Siriwannawat
3. Wat Bor Sap
4. Wat Suwan Khiri
5. Riding on the Songkhla ferry
6. Songkhla National Museum 7. Songkhla Zoo 8. Songkhla lake 9. Shopping at different shopping centers etc

First destination we visited is Wat Phranon Laem Pho, situated on the Ko Yo island adjacent to the Tinsulanonda Bridge of Songkhla and it houses the famous 30-meter long reclining Buddha statue. Temple also contains various other Statues and Dhamma objects. The temple attracts so many visitors and devotees. This is a modern temple unlike other three monasteries we visited.

Adjacent to the temple is the Songkhla lake which is the largest lake in Thailand covering an area of approximately 80 kilometers long and 20 to 25 kilometers wide in Songkhla and Phatthalung Provinces. In addition, it is the only natural, fresh-water lake in Thailand. Everyone was happy to see the Thailand's largest lake and captured the lake memories with the pictures.

Next three temples we visited are situated at the Ancient sites of the old Songkhla at Laem Son area. The old Songkhla at Laem Son appears to reveal some historical sites emphasizing the urban communities of Songkhla in the early Rattanakosin period, such as Wat Siriwannawat, Wat Bor Sap, Wat Suwan Khiri and Wat Phupha Boek. And we were fortunate to visit first three historical temples one after another.

The temples were intentionally set along the east-west line dating back to the late Ayutthaya to early Rattanakosin period.

The Buddhist sanctuaries of the four temples were influenced by the architecture of King Rama III. The arts are mostly combination of Chinese art and art of the local Thai craftsmanship.

Temples are ancient but continuously thriving and catering the social and spiritual needs of the society as a living tradition, as a living Dhamma which is ever modern.
Songkhla National Museum was one the best spots to be visited and to learn so many diverse information regarding history, archeology, art and culture, traditional crafts and antiques, information of religions and Buddhist monasteries etc.

This museum also houses many interesting things like warfare artifacts, farming life styles of Thai villages, fine clothing, boats, fishing tools, musical instruments and historical, Dhamma and general titles etc.

Neat and clean, and so nicely arranged and protected by the museum officials. The building housing the Songkhla National Museum was originally built in 1878 by the province's deputy governor, Phraya Sundranuraksa (also known as Net Na Songkhla), who was a descendant of the modern city's Chinese founder.

This museum is housed in a unique Chinese and European architectural style house, which in and of itself is a protected national monument.

Something interesting happened during our ride on the Songkhla ferry – crossing the big canal like Songkhla lake that connects to the Songkhla sea adjacent to the beach, which is renowned for its sandy beach, shady pine groves, and the statue of a golden mermaid that is Songkhla's most famous landmark – some students came out of the vehicles onto the ferry to have better experience of the ferry riding as it was a first time experience for some of the students to encounter such a nice ferry riding.

Believe it or not – some members were gazing at the sea and sandy beach from the vehicles that are being obstructed by the shady pine groves to have a clear sight of the ocean for the first time in their life. We wait for another visit to have such a firsthand, first experience of the sea.

Of course, we shouldn’t forget about the delicious lunch arrangement by IBC at one of the temples. The temple contains so many Sapodilla fruits, a common Thai fruit and some of us had taste of it after lunch as it was available plenty of it everywhere in the temples.

It was sleepy afternoon after having delicious lunch, it was appropriate time to walk, visit and interact with the animal world with mixed feelings – love and pain. Happy to see new place, many unseen and seen animals together but it is painful as well to see the caged them. Sometimes people are entertained at the expense of animals’ pain, difficulty etc. Songkhla Zoo is situated on the lap of beautiful nature and mountain. It contains various types of beings. It has a few shows for visitors.

Finally, before coming back to IBC home, most of us had shopping at the various supermarkets in Songkhla and Hatyai.

It was a very educative, refreshing and exciting excursion at the midst of our studies and new life in IBC, Thailand. We are indeed fortunate to have such a safe and happy trip during our studies in the Southern Thailand.