Photo: Wat Phra Phutthabat's grounds.

Wat Phra Phutthabat

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In 1623, a hunter followed a deer to a rocky hill, discovering a natural impression that looked like an oversized human footprint. After his skin disease miraculously healed when he drank water from the impression, he reported the find to King Songtham down in Ayutthaya, who had received word from Sri Lankan monks that the Buddha may have left footprints in Siam. Wat Phra Phutthabat, the “Temple of the Buddha’s footprint,” was born.

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It quickly became one of the kingdom’s most sacred Buddhist sites and is now one of six top-grade royal temples in Thailand -- and one of only two that are not found in Bangkok (the other being Wat Phra That Phanom). Thousands of Thais climb the hill each year, leaving offerings and hoping to earn merit for a positive rebirth. Travellers will appreciate the temple’s ornate halls and hilltop viewpoint.

The welcome committee. Photo taken in or around Wat Phra Phutthabat, Lopburi, Thailand by David Luekens.

The welcome committee. Photo: David Luekens

While the original mondop built over the footprint was destroyed during the Burmese invasions of the 1760s, several kings oversaw the construction of a new mondop in the Rattanakosin style along with many other structures in the early to mid 1800s. Today Wat Phra Phutthabat is one of Thailand’s most ornate temples.

The experience begins with yak giant statues standing near three long stairways, symbolising the paths for ascending up to Tavatimsa Heaven. Five-headed bronze naga statues twinkle on either side of each stairway, their scaled bodies extending up the balustrades. During our visit, the sense of drama that usually comes from climbing the 290 steps was shattered by a giant green tarp placed over the central mondop for restorations.

Heading up the hill. Photo taken in or around Wat Phra Phutthabat, Lopburi, Thailand by David Luekens.

Heading up the hill. Photo: David Luekens

A marble base supports the mondop with green ceramic tiles inlaid on a seven-tiered roof extending up to a graceful prasat spire. The doors feature mother-of-pearl designs considered to be among the most exquisite in Thailand. Twinkling Buddha images are placed in front of interior walls boasting intricate lai ... Travelfish members only (Around 500 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
Wat Phra Phutthabat is located off Route 2 (Phahonyothin Rd), some 20 km southeast of Lopburi town and just over the Saraburi province border in Phra Phutthabat town. Blue signs and big white gates mark the turnoff -- keep straight through the roundabout and you’ll see the temple up ahead. Coming from Lopburi you can catch any Saraburi-bound minibus and ask the driver to let you off at Phra Phutthabat; you’ll be dropped along the main road and will have to walk a km to the temple. Minibuses run through every 20 minutes from early morning to 20:00. In Lopburi they park at a terminal off Narai Maharat Rd near the Sri Suriyothai traffic circle, around 200 metres north of the main bus station. Alternately you can take an affordable tour offered by Noom’s Guesthouse that also includes the bat cave at Wat Khao Wongkot.

Wat Phra Phutthabat
Daily 08:00-17:00.
Admission: 30 baht.

Location map for Wat Phra Phutthabat

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 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Lopburi.
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