Wat Phra That Pha Son Kaeo is a hill top temple in a location of immense natural beauty with some original and creative statues and religious buildings that make it a very popular a tourist destination.
- Opening hours: 07:00 to 17:00
- Entrance Fee: Free (20 THB parking fee)
About Wat Phra That Pha Son Kaeo
Wat Phra That Pha Son Kaeo is in a remote location and it takes some effort to get there. Most visitors either use their own vehicle, hire a car and driver in Phitsanulok, or go on an organised tour to reach Wat Phra That Pha Son Kaeo. You can, however, take a bus from Phitsanulok to Khon Kaen and ask that they drop you on the main road at the turning to the temple, a little over 2 hours into the journey. From the turning its around 2 km uphill to reach the temple. You may get offered a lift by another visitor or you may have to walk. There are no taxis.
The reason for the out of the way location is that Wat Phra That Pha Son Kaeo was established in 2004 as a Dharma centre, and the remote location in the hills of Khao Kho District is peaceful and therefore perfect for quiet contemplation and meditation, except of course that this temple now attracts large number of tourists. The hill upon which the temple is built reaches an elevation of 830 metres above sea level which provides great views across the surrounding countryside and a noticeably cooler climate than at sea level in Thailand. The views and the lower temperatures are two the main attractions for tourists.
The other two major attractions at Wat Phra That Pha Son Kaeo are its main statue of the Lord Buddha, and its very creative and colourful stupa. The tall white statue of the Lord Buddha is very known and it appears on a lot of marketing for Thailand. The statue is unusual in that it incorporates five images of the Lord Buddha descending in size, with each image partly subsumed within the large image behind. The craftsmanship on this smooth surfaced statue is incredible. The stupa, whilst smaller than the main Buddha statue, is equally stunning. Shaped like a lotus flower, the stupa is adorned with an estimated 5 million mosaic tiles and pieces of glass in a wide range of colours. Unlike the strictly regimented patterns in the pottery pieces that adorn Wat Arun in Bangkok, the patterns are in this stupa are far more random and varied. The stupa at this temple is often compared to some of Gaudi’s creations in Barcelona because of the range of colours and the asymmetry. The other building of note at this temple is the monk’s accommodation block, which has elements of European architectural design and a facade which is partly decorated in the same bright colours as the stupa.
Location of Wat Phra That Pha Son Kaeo
- Wat Phra That Pha Son Kaeo is located 105 km by road from Phitsanulok Railway Station.