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Hat Yai | Cheo Chaang Temple

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Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai

 

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Cheo Chaang Temple In Hat Yai

Introduction

Thailand is famous for its temples, and magnificent Thai Buddhist temples can be found throughout the kingdom. There are ancient temples in places such as Ayuthaya and Sukothai and stunning modern temples such as Rong Khun Temple in Chiang Rai.

Hat Yai is a little different. There is a large Muslim population and some areas of the south have more mosques than temples. Hat Yai also has a large ethnic Chinese population and many temples are Chinese in style rather than classical Thai.

Some of the Chinese temples are tiny and have been slotted in between existing buildings in a very narrow gap. Others are huge, such as Taworn Woraaraam Temple. This temple is built on several floors and has its own elevator.

Another large Chinese temple is the one I am writing about on this page - Cheo Chaang Temple. The first apartment building I stayed in was located a few yards away from Cheo Chaang and ever since my first visit to Hat Yai in 2002 I have been following its progress.

 

It doesn't have the "Wow" factor that some other large Thai temples have, but the way it has been constructed is quite interesting. It's a temple I walk past fairly often and I pop in fairly often to take a few photos and see what is happening.

When I first saw it in 2002 it was just a concrete shell. The basic structure of the temple was there, but it was simply grey concrete with no decoration.

As I said above, Hat Yai has a large ethnic Chinese population. In addition, many Malaysian and Singaporean tourists who visit Hat Yai are ethnic Chinese. Visitors to the temple make merit by donating money and this money is used to advance the construction.

Over the years, hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) of ornate porcelain tiles (fired in local kilns) have been added to the original concrete structure. As you can imagine, this process has transformed the temple.

As I write, in October 2018, the temple is still unfinished but those parts that have been finished look amazing. On this page I have selected some of the photos I have taken over the years to give a pictorial history of the temple's construction.

For information about other temples in the area see:

Temples In Hat Yai

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Name

 

วัดฉือฉาง

For those familiar with Thai, the name has nothing to do with elephants. It is a different spelling with a different initial consonant - chor ching, not chor chaang.

Please don't send any e-mails telling me I have got the spelling wrong. There are no correct ways to transliterate Thai words and names into English, only wrong ways.

I suspect that the name of this temple (being a Chinese temple) is not even Thai. It is most likely a Chinese name that has been transliterated into Thai.

Google refers to it as 'Chue Chang', as do the street signs outside. However, the vowel used in the first word is usually transliterated as 'eu', therefore it would normally be 'Cheu'.

 

The strange transliteration used on the temple's own minivan

The strange transliteration used on the temple's own minivan

 

The temple has its own minivan and the English transliteration on the side of the van uses yet another version. They're all wrong, including the one I have used on this page.

As I said, in the field of transliteration there are only wrong ways, no right ways. I hate transliteration and because I can read Thai I would rather do away with it completely, but most foreigners can't read Thai and therefore it is a necessary evil.

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Pictorial History

I first saw the temple in 2002, but this is the earliest photo I can find. You can see the temple structure, but it is simply drab, grey concrete apart from some window frames. The photo was taken at low resolution with my first digital camera, an early Sony DSC-P1, and therefore the image quality is poor.

 

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 26 January 2004

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 26 January 2004

 

Construction continues and here you get a better view of the window frames that have been decorated with yellow and red tiles.

 

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 26 January 2004

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 6 March 2004

 

The following shot was taken from my room in an apartment building that overlooked the temple. At this stage there is still very little decoration, apart from the tiles around the window frames.

 

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 25 July 2004

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 25 July 2004

 

Work has also started decorating the tops of the supporting pillars.

 

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 25 July 2004

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 25 July 2004

 

Aerial view from Lee Gardens Plaza (shot through dirty glass with a Point & Shoot camera). The first room I rented in Hat Yai was in the white apartment building on the corner, just to the right of the temple.

 

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 1 December 2009

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 1 December 2009

 

Cutting and laying tiles on the steps that lead up to the temple. The ground floor of the temple is a couple of meters above street level, which is a very good idea because of the huge floods that affect Hat Yai periodically.

 

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 17 July 2013

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 17 July 2013

 

An external view of the temple in 2015.

 

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 11 February 2015

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 11 February 2015

 

Unfortunately, whenever you take an external photo of a building in Thailand it is always obscured by a mass of overhead electricity cables. Just imagine how much better Thailand would look if these were put underground.

Such a project did indeed take place in central Hat Yai some years ago and it really improved the look of the downtown area, but elsewhere cables keep being installed overhead. It's not something that seems to bother Thais, but most foreigners seem to think that it looks a real mess.

The doorways leading into Chinese temples are very important features and have a classic shape. In this photo you can see that the old doorway on the left has been taken down ready to be replaced with a new one. The other doorway will follow soon.

On the right you can see the apartment building where I used to stay.

 

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 27 August 2016

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 27 August 2016

 

Here's a closer look.

 

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 28 June 2016

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 28 June 2016

 

Classic Chinese-style roof tiles waiting to be put on to the roof. I believe that all building materials for the temple are made locally.

 

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 August 2017

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 August 2017

 

Of course, there is just as much work on the inside of the temple as there is on the outside. The inside is gradually coming on as well, with thousands more tiles and lots of Chinese deities.

 

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 August 2017

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 August 2017

 

Buddha images on the main altar.

 

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 August 2017

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 August 2017

 

The intricate classical style of a Chinese temple roof on the temple doorways - complete with attractive electricity cables in the background.

 

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 25 September 2017

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 25 September 2017

 

This is a view of the roof of Cheo Chaang Temple taken from Taworn Woraaraam Temple, which is nearby.

 

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 5 April 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 5 April 2018

 

Here is one of the new temple doorways. I'm not sure if the old doorways were refurbished or whether the new ones were made from scratch. The design is very intricate with lots of tiles and they look fabulous. Now, if only they would remove those ugly overhead electricity cables.

 

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 22 June 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 22 June 2018

 

In addition to the doorways, the perimeter walls have also been decorated with attractive, colourful tiles. Previously, the walls were plain concrete with peeling paint.

 

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 22 June 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 22 June 2018

 

Here's a close-up of the wall tiles. I believe that all the tiles were hand-made and hand-painted. It's a real labour of love.

 

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 22 June 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 22 June 2018

 

Considering the size of the temple, you can see that an enormous number of tiles are required to cover the floors, walls and ceilings. The next photo shows some ornate ceiling decorations.

 

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

 

I don't know when the temple will be finished, but I suspect that there will still be work going on in five years' time from now (2018).

In the photo of the external wall above you can see that some large rectangular spaces were left undecorated. In 2019 these were filled with hand-painted tiles depicting various scenes from Hat Yai's past.

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

Hand-painted tiles on the external wall of Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 10 August 2018

Cheo Chaang Temple, Hat Yai, 31 October 2019

 

I will continue documenting the work, as well as adding some more old photos. Remember to check this page again for updates.

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Get The Best Deal On Your Hat Yai Hotel Room

Listed opposite are some of my personal recommendations for hotels in Hat Yai based on budget. I have lived permanently in Hat Yai since 2003 and my recommendations are based on a lot of local knowledge.

Each link will take you to the relevant page on the Agoda website where you can see photos, read reviews, and book on-line. I use Agoda to book all of my own hotels in Thailand and the Southeast Asia region. Agoda hotel rates are usually always the lowest and I have received good customer service, therefore I am happy to recommend the company to other people. Here is some analysis I did regarding booking hotels in Southeast Asia.

Booking.com used to be more expensive than Agoda, but when I have checked hotel prices recently I have found their rates to be quite competitive. Unlike Agoda, you don't need to pay at the time of booking with Booking.com - you can simply pay at the hotel when you check in. Also, Booking.com show you total prices whereas Agoda show you a price and then add on 17% for tax and service charge.

If you want to compare prices between different on-line travel agents (OTAs) for a specific hotel, you can use a company such as HotelsCombined.

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