The leaning tower of Lopburi
Published/Last edited or updated: 8th September, 2016
Wat Mani Chonlakan’s eye-catching chedi leans slightly to one side on a riverine island in the Lopburi River.
Built in the mid 19th century, the chedi has an unusual design with three tiers boasting standing Buddha images in niches and 12 recessed corners leading up to a small spire that looks like the uppermost section of a traditional bell-shaped chedi. The chedi resembles the Chiang Saen style of Northern Thailand, making it look even more out of place in Lopburi.
Known as Chedi Luang Por Saeng, the chedi was named after a famous monk who is depicted in a life-size wax statue in a neighbouring shrine. A shady riverside park stretches out around the chedi with benches and stairways leading down to the water -- check out the views of giant stilted fishing nets and rusty rooftops over in the Tha Pho market area. You also might walk down to a lesser-used southern bridge for a good look of the chedi towering above the river.
The rest of Wat Mani Chonlakan is located on the other side of Route 311, just west of a bridge. There’s little of interest here apart from a large seated Buddha gazing over the river and a handful of halls, including a boxy European-style wihaan, built by order of King Mongkut.
Wat Mani Chonlakan is worth a trip for the chedi and riverside scenery, but a big part of its allure comes from the picturesque walk through the old Tha Pho market area to get here from the rest of the old town.
Wat Mani Chonlakan is located just northwest of the old town on a riverine island. From the west side of Phra Narai Ratchaniwet Palace, head north on Phra Ram Rd and perhaps take a left down Tha Khun Nang Rd to check out a charming old neighbourhood before returning to Phra Ram and hanging a left. The temple is located just across the bridge. Admission is free.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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