Photo: The grand approach to Phanom Rung.

Wat Khao Angkhan

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Taking a page out of the ancient locals’ playbook, Wat Khao Angkhan is a modern Buddhist temple built atop an extinct volcano that affords you views over the vast forest and paddies down below.

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Photo of Wat Khao Angkhan

The wat displays elements of Dvaravati, Khmer, Chinese, Sri Lankan and Thai temple artistry.

The site is thought to have served as a religious sanctuary during the Dvaravati period in the eighth and ninth centuries, evidenced by sandstone markers inscribed with images of people, lotuses and Dharma wheels. Today the most eye-catching structure is a 50-year-old clay-red ordination hall topped by depictions of Khmer-style gateways leading up to Sri Lankan style bell-shaped chedis. The entire complex is surrounded by rows of fairly large seated Buddha images.

An ancient historical record claims that ashes of the Buddha were enshrined here way back in the year 535 BCE -- an obvious falsehood considering that the Buddha was probably still alive in that year. Nevertheless, the famous Thai meditation monk, Ajahn Panyawutthitho, did apparently discover some ancient relics when establishing Wat Khao Angkhan in the 1970s, placing them atop the ordination hall.

The temple also features a Chinese-style pagoda and a huge reclining Buddha sprawled out next to the dirt car park. Towering trees droop over the grounds and the slightly higher altitude keeps the air a bit cooler than down in the farmland. It does take some effort to get here; probably only worth it if you have an extra couple of hours to kill after hitting Phanom Rung and Muang Tam.


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How to get there
Wat Khao Angkhan is located just west of the village of Charoen Suk, 20 kilometres south of Nang Rong. The easiest way here is to head east out of Nang Rong and take a right on Highway 2117, which is the same way to Phanom Rung. Instead of going left in Baan Ta Pek to Phanom Rung, hang a right and head towards Lahan Sai for 13 kilometres, then go right and follow signs to Wat Khao Angkhan. Note that these are remote back roads, with some leading to massive mineral mines; if you don’t have GPS you might be better off arranging for a driver to take you here.

Location map for Wat Khao Angkhan

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Phanom Rung.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Phanom Rung.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Phanom Rung.
 Read up on how to get to Phanom Rung, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Phanom Rung? Please read this.
 Buy a SIM card for Thailand—pick it up at the airport when you arrive.
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See below for more sights and activities in Phanom Rung that are listed on Travelfish.org.


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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Phanom Rung? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.


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