How would you like to visit Thailand this Sunday, and never leave South Shore? If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit the Wat Temple yet you are in for an amazing surprise when you do. Situated along the banks of the Palm River in Riverview, the Wat Temple (Thai Buddhist Temple) is an extraordinary place and it is not only a place of worship.
It’s a destination. Imagine a beautiful riverside location, complete with boat docks, and a sprawling park shaded by towering trees. Add to that a weekly Thai Sunday Market with authentic Thai food (all prepared by Temple volunteers), tropical flowers for sale, traditional Thai dance and music exhibitions (during special festivals), and you’re on your way to Thailand for a Sunday afternoon.
A bit of information
Wat Temple Tampa, established in 1981, moved to its riverside Riverview location in 1983. The Temple that stands there today, along with living quarters for the resident Monks, was built between 2004 and 2007. The weekly Sunday Market, which is a spectacular way to spend a Sunday, started with just two tables, in the mid-80’s, and has grown to be a popular activity. In fact, the Sunday Market grew so much the Temple built a Sunday Market deck, to accommodate the various food vendors, and added benches and tables throughout the grounds so visitors can picnic along the river.
Buddhist temples in Thailand are called ‘Wats’ and the Wat Tampa Temple is a stunning example of traditional Thai Buddhist Temple architecture. While visiting the grounds during a Sunday Market, I highly recommend you visit the Temple, too.
The Songkarn Festival
I first visited the Temple and the grounds with my husband during the annual Songkarn Festival, which is also known as Thai New Year or the Water Festival, in early April. For Buddhists, Songkarn represents the time at which the sun moves into a new sign on the Zodiac and water is believed to wash away bad omens during this time. Without trying to sound corny, I would go as far as to say the Temple and grounds were enchanting during the festival with massive flower displays, colorful stages set up for special ceremonies, Thai music and a few ‘water fights’, all in good fun, to commemorate the Water Festival.
Did I mention the Thai food? I think I did, but it can be repeated. Oh, the Thai food. I wish I had eaten some but, apparently, the Songkarn Festival is popular and me and my husband did not arrive ‘early’ as we had been advised. Not willing to wait in line for 45 minutes we missed out on the Thai food I had been dreaming about for two days before the festival. The good news? I have intention of waiting until next year’s Songkarn Festival. I’ll be visiting a Sunday Market soon.
Sunday Market: Sundays: 9:AM – 1:00PM