Wat Khao Sukim

A lavish mountaintop temple

Photo of Wat Khao Sukim, , Chanthaburi

What we say: 2.5 stars

Located between Chanthaburi and Khao Khichakhut, this imposing mountaintop temple makes for a decent detour on the way back from the national park.

The temple was made famous by the revered forest meditation monk, Ajahn Somchai, who lived during the 20th century. Although it would have been a quiet forest temple during most of his life, the monk became something of an icon in the Chanthaburi area and well-heeled locals showed their respect for Ajahn Somchai during the later years of his life and after his passing by donating loads of money and gifts to the temple.

The ultimate result is that today the temple has a rather gaudy feel -- it's a huge complex with imposing structures built atop the mountain. The main building is filled with bizarre and lavish gifts like two-metre high Chinese ceramic vases, furniture with elaborate mother-of-pearl designs, tiger skins complete with heads still attached and wax sculptures of famous Thai monks.

Although it's a decent view from the top and all the strange gifts are interesting, the temple struck us as being money obsessed and not even close to a true forest meditation temple. Still, the grounds include ponds filled with fish and turtles and the surrounding area is remote and picturesque. Visitors can walk a long staircase or take a tram to the top of the mountain.

More details
How to get there: Wat Khao Sukim is located some eight kilometres down Route 3322, which cuts west off Route 3249 about two-thirds of the way from Chan to Khao Khichakhut.
Last updated: 3rd December, 2014

About the author:
Usually found exploring Bangkok's side streets or south Thailand's islands, David Luekens is an American freelance writer & photographer who finds everyday life in Asia to be extraordinary. You can follow his travails here.
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