Remote / Interesting Temples – Chiang Mai Region
There are so many interesting and unique temples in the region that it would take forever to compile the best ones. So for now here are some of the most interesting/remote ones I have come across. I will likely add more later on and update 🙂
1: สำนักปฏิบัติธรรมสันกู่ / San Pa Gu Meditation Centre (Google Map)
Amazing entranceway to this meditation temple retreat. Please remember to be respectful as there are people practicing meditation in this center. 🙂
2: Wat Doi Sapphanyu (Google Map)
Amazing temple with four giant standing Buddha statues.
With an amazing view at the top
..and beehives under the arms of each Buddha!
A very interesting temple and very quiet.
3: สำนักวิปัสสนาพระธาตุศรีสมเด็จพระพุทธชินวงศ์ /Wat Phra That Sri Somdet Phra Buddha Chinwong (Google Map)
Stunning giant mountain Buddha Statue in Mae Wang, which stands high upon a mountain, within the temple grounds of สำนักวิปัสสนาพระธาตุศรีสมเด็จพระพุทธชินวงศ์.
I spotted this stunning mountain Buddha in the distance on a couple of previous rides, so went on a quest to find it. (*NOTE* the staff at the temple were fully aware of me walking onto the statue and had no objections at all. I was given nods and smiles.)
I did a little research on the temple when I got home and it seems this whole temple zone has been under construction since 2012. There is even a Facebook page on it showing the amazing transformation. It is such a strange and magnificent Buddha image. In the construction days it looks rather surreal.
Here is the Facebook page for this amazing temple and the work that has been going on to produce this incredible statue.
4: Phrathat Ban Pong (Google Map)
Phrathat Bang Pong is a stunning temple overlooking Ban Pong. If you enjoy riding the Samoeng Loop then you will most likely have spotted the top of this white temple, perched high on a hilltop. For many years I only ever saw scaffolding on the spire as I rode through Bang Pong, then in June 2017 I noticed there was no longer any scaffolding, so of course had to pay a visit. Was fantastic to see the temple almost near to completion finally. I was also able to purchase a small bag of cement (on a donation basis) to help towards the rendering.
Feels good to think there is a very small part of my contribution in that temple. I have heard that it is now completely finished and will need to take a look at the final results for myself.
5: Wat Luang Khun Win (Google Map)
This temple is a tricky one to get to currently as involves a little off road riding (or a lot, depending on the direction you take). If you take the Mae Wang route (which is very scenic), you need to take a right turn just after San Patong Forest Park Office.
This route is pathed until you reach the Karen Eco Lodge, after which is a mix of dirt and broken road and small sections of concrete road. When I was last there (March 2018) the area was under construction, so it may be that this route will be fully pathed at a later date, but I suspect it will take some time. (If you want to turn this into an off road adventure you can go via the Samoeng side. I have a full trip report HERE.)
6: Cực Lạc Cảnh Giới Tự / Wat Pa Sukawadee (Google Map)
Dotted all around were solar panel lights and speakers, and many of the lights done in beautiful and interesting ways (such as cherry blossom flowers and lotus leaves in the water) This hidden temple has to be seen to be believed. It was a very unexpected find on a mini explore (full trip report HERE).
They are obviously not used to visitors, so I would like to request that if you do go to visit this temple, do so either solo or in very small numbers.
7: Wat Phra Phatthaban Si Roi (Google Map)
Within the temple grounds there is a coffee shop, clean toilet facilities, and stalls selling items for alms.
8: Wat Mae Kaet Noi: The Creepiest Temple in Chiang Mai! (Google Map)
!!***WARNING*** – DISTURBING IMAGES/VIDEO !!
Do NOT watch if you are sensitive to disturbing images or if you are under 13 years old.
This “Hell Temple” in San Sai, is one of a few Hell Temples in Thailand depicting the Buddhist vision of Hell. No serene images of meditation and harmony for you here (well actually, there is later on in the temple, but only a small part of it). Instead you are faced with the punishment of your sins committed on earth, in all it’s gory forms. Tortured souls writhe in agony as they are put through horrific ordeals by grotesque demons. For additional effect you can listen to horror sounds and watch moving parts and flashing lights, for the cost of ten baht per display. So take plenty of ten baht coins for the slot machines dotted around the temple grounds, if you want to immerse in the full effect.
An interesting temple and only around 15km / 30 minutes from the center of Chiang Mai.
Worth a look, if you have a strong constitution ^^^
9: Wat Hua Dong Samakkhitham (Google Map Link)
Kyaiktiyo (Golden Rock) in Chiang Mai, Thailand!
While I was enjoying my small ride-explore on the outskirts of Chiang Mai, I accidentally came across this interesting temple. I was very surprised to see the Golden Rock of Myanmar before me!
The temple is called Wat Hua Dong and surprisingly the monks were wearing orange instead of red (red being the usual colour for Burmese Monks, so I believe). Thus, would appear to be a Thai temple..? Not quite sure, and regrettably forgot to ask the Abbot that I spoke to.
The video is not the best quality as it was a Facebook Live video, and for some reason did not shoot in HD, although I have my settings set up to do so.
An interesting place to visit!
10: Wat Phad Thamachart (Google Map)
At the time I visited the temple it seemed almost abandoned, but was obviously occupied and just a little neglected. No one was around and no real signs of life except from some small laundry drying in the wind down by accommodation huts. I have not been back in some time, so have no idea of it’s current condition. This temple is worth a look. It has a lost in time feel about it (and a little eerie to be honest. Particularly because when I visited the ground was littered in flying ants, mostly dead or dying).
11: Khuang Phra Chao Lanna (Google Map)
This temple isn’t remote in the least and easily accessible, and yet it is surprising the amount of people who are unaware of it. Even those who are familiar with Huay Tung Tao lake just pass it by as their focus is on the lake, rather than the temple. It is a very interesting temple though and very quiet. Last year my friends and I were lucky enough to be allowed a photo opportunity there (a promo photo op for TBB Tours). If you wish to do similar make sure to ask permission first from the guard. I actually don’t have a lot of images of this temple, although I have been a few times. However, there are some fantastic images and a great write up on this temple on GT.Rider forum. There is information about the temple on site, and occasionally a small tuck shop open (where i bought the tiniest Cornetto-style ice cream I have ever eaten in my life..!)
12: Suttichit Buddha Place Park / Wat Mok Khan Lan (Google Map)
Well worth a visit to this unusual and interesting temple, with its labyrinth statued pathways, leading to a spectacular reclining Buddha statue.
Once in the temple grounds it can actually be a little disorentating, with so many pathways and multiple depictions of Buddhism.
Impossible to miss this temple when heading south from Chiang Mai, because the giant Buddha images peer down upon you whilst you are riding/driving the main 108 highway.
I have spotted these wonderful Buddha images for YEARS, but never actually took the time out to go to the temple grounds. Mainly because I was always on the way to someplace else (such as Mae Sariang, etc), so it always ended up being one of those places I’ve been meaning to visit, but never did (until now). I am glad I finally went to visit, as it turned out to be much more interesting than I had imagined.
If you havent been, then it is one for to visit for sure!
Wat Umong: A stunning temple with a fantastic lake area.
Wat Palad: Pretty much my favorite temple to visit which also has a walking trail leading to it known as The Monks Trail.
(Google map – start of trail)
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