Broke, stranded Russian tourist earns his keep at temple

Broke, stranded Russian tourist earns his keep at temple

A Russian tourist identified only as Ivan helps monks hand out free meals at Wat Mai Pattararam in Muang district of Surat Thani. (Photo by Supapong Chaolan)
A Russian tourist identified only as Ivan helps monks hand out free meals at Wat Mai Pattararam in Muang district of Surat Thani. (Photo by Supapong Chaolan)

SURAT THANI: A Russian student has been surviving on meals from monks -- and helping out where he can -- at a temple in this southern province since flights back to Russia were cancelled.

The tourist, identified only as Ivan, 25, has been staying at Wat Mai Pattararam in the Surat Thani municipality since March 26, Phra Khru Pisal Pattananukit said on Wednesday.

The acting abbot said the visitor arrived from Koh Samui. where he had been on holiday. Since he was running out of money, he asked if he could stay at the temple while waiting for a flight back to Russia.

The monk praised him for not sitting idly at the temple, saying he helped other monks to clean the premises and worked in the kitchen preparing free meals for people in the neighbourhood. 

The tourist refused to give his last name.

The government has allowed foreigners holding all types of non-immigrant visas to stay in the country until the end of July without having to file for extensions. 



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