Tumpat is a small town located at about 20 kilometers from Kota Bharu, the capital city of the state of Kelantan in Malaysia. The influence of Thai culture is quite visible in this town and surrounding areas as Kelantan is located in the northeastern bordering of Malaysia with Thailand.
Tumpat also houses the terminus railway station of the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhard’s east coast line. The railway route is also known as the jungle railway as the rail line entirely passes through the rain forests in Malaysia.
The town of Tumpat showcases the true essence of Buddhist architecture through several Buddhist temples and buildings. There are around 25 Buddhist temples in Tumpat alone and it includes the most popular Wat Photivihan Buddhist Temple.
One of the most popular temples situated in the town is the Wat Machimmaram Temple. The temple houses the largest sitting Buddha statue in Southeast Asia. The statue is about 30m high and 47m wide and according to some reading materials, the lips of Buddha in the statue have been made using gold.
The Wat Machimmaram temple and its surroundings have a serene atmosphere. The statue of the sitting Buddha was constructed after 10 years of hard labor from hundreds of skilled craftsmen from Thailand. The construction of the statue was completed in 2000. The temple covers an area of 2.4 hectares and this vast space gives lots of room for exploration.
Thai groups often conduct religious celebrations like Kahtinna, Loy Krathong, Saibat, Songkran, etc at the Wat Machimmaram temple. Several statues of Chinese deities and Buddha can be found at the front portion of the temple. Statues of the PT Khlai, Phor Than Thit and Tok Raja can be found inside the Ubosot. In the Seating Buddha building, an amulets counter can be found. There is another amulets counter at old Vihara. A mix of Chinese and Thai culture is quite evident in the architecture of buildings in Wat Machimmaram.
There are several other places for interest for tourists visiting the town of Tumpat. One of the most popular destinations in Tumpat is the Buddhalila which is a large statue of standing Buddha, placed on a platform that is 5m tall. Visitors can reach the platform from 3 sides using steps. Devotees usually offer prayers and burn smoke sticks before the statues.
The huge complex around the statue houses several small temples of Buddha and Chinese deities. There are two temples in the same complex. One temple houses a statue of an elegant standing Buddha on the roof.
The second temple is constructed on a vividly decorated dragon boat which gives the impression of floating in a pond of water. Also located near Wat Machimmaram is Wat Kok Seraya which is a temple housing the statue of a female Buddha.
To get there from Kota Bharu, you’ll have to drive across the Sultan Yahya Bridge (near Tesco Hypermarket) to Pengkalan Kubor.
Chief Abbot: Ven. Phrakhru Vithest Thammanad
Address: Kg. Jubakar, 16200 Tumpat, Kelantan
*This trip was sponsored by ZestAir and Tourism Malaysia!
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