Wat Charok Padang, or the Glass Bottle Temple, is a Thai Buddhist temple near the town of Sik, Kedah in northern Malaysia.
It is decorated with 100,000 green and brown glass bottles, hence its nickname and it is usually described as the only glass bottle temple in Malaysia.
That’s not quite true as there is another small temple in Melaka which incorporates recycled bottles into its décor as well.
There is an older and more famous glass bottle temple in Thailand called Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew in Sisaket Province.
That temple is made of old beer bottles whereas the one in Malaysia is decorated with non-alcoholic beverage bottles.
Wat Charok Padang comprises a compound with a small glass covered pavilion, a larger two storey building also covered in glass bottles, a giant bottle structure made up of thousands of small bottles, a three storey hall, and monks’ residences.
There is a Thai language school there too.
Glass bottles make for an interesting construction material and the builders have achieved attractive results with their designs by creatively arranging the bottles embedded in concrete.
Glass bottles are easy to obtain, cheap, durable and attractive and if they have been used before and recycled then that is a useful way of re-using waste material.
The shiny two-tone glass glints in the sunlight like a poor man’s version of those semi-precious stone-encrusted temples that you find in Bangkok or Chieng Mai.
Charok Padang is in a rural area which is quite a long drive from anywhere (One hour 15 minutes from Penang Bridge for context) but the scenery is pleasant so just enjoy the ride.
Wat Charok Padang Temple
Kampung Charok Padang, 08200 Sik, Kedah
GPS: 5.796085, 100.7111
This article first appeared in Malaysia-Traveller.