Wats and samnaksongs

What are the main differences between a “wat” and a “samnaksong”? If a samnaksong is regarded as lower in status than a wat, what can be done to effect an upgrade? Which authorities are involved in decisions concerning all of Phuket’s wats and samnaksongs, and where should any queries be directed to?

Jürgen Dreyer, Rawai.

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Wats are Buddhist temples on at least six rai of land and are registered with the Department of Religious Affairs (DRA). Samnaksongs are Buddhist temples that are run by a wat. These are registered with the DRA too. Generally, samnaksongs cannot be registered as wats because they are on public land or the land they occupy is less than six rai. A samnaksong is never regarded as lower in status than a wat. The same religious rites can be performed at either type of temple. All queries concerning wats or samnaksongs should be directed to the Religious and Cultural Promotion Section of the Phuket Provincial Education Office (Tel: 076-211591; 076-222805 ext. 14).

Tawichat Intararid, Chief of the Religious and Cultural Promotion Section, Phuket Provincial Education Office.

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