The ornate gilded roof of Wat Buddha Thai Thavorn Vanaram rises majestically above squat brick apartment buildings of Elmhurst. The temple, its grounds, and the shrine room with its Emerald Buddha are so spectacular that I always include it in my tours of what I like to call SEA Elmhurst. Even more amazing though is the temple’s annual Songkran—or Thai New Year—festival featuring music, kick boxing, a beauty pageant, and an immense Thai buffet that draws an equally immense crowd.
The festival takes place this Sunday. Best to arrive around 10 a .m. to beat the lines. While the buffet is complimentary it’s good form to make a donation to the temple, which is easily done by writing ones name on an ornament and hanging it from a decorative bamboo tree. I am especially excited for this year’s Songkran because my soup slinging friends from Pata Paplean told me they might be there.
Wat Buddha Thai Thavorn Vanaram, 76-16 46th Ave., Elmhurst