Phra Yai

Phra Yai

Big Buddha

More on Chiang Khan

Located in the tiny village of Ban Tha Di Mi, 21 km west of Chiang Khan, Phra Yai (“Big Buddha”) is a 19-metre-high, gold-hued standing Buddha placed on a high hill that slopes sharply down to where the Hueang River feeds the Mekong. Completed in 2001, the tall but otherwise unremarkable statue is overshadowed by great views that are sure to inspire geography nerds.

Travelfish says:

To the west of this point, the Thai-Lao border follows the comparatively narrow Hueang; to the east, the two countries share the Mekong. Virtually the entire view from Phra Yai—including a village that’s literally a stone’s throw away—is part of Laos. This is the first point in Northeastern Thailand that affords a glimpse of the Mekong, here churning dramatically southwards between a pair of green mountains. It feels like you could jump down to Laos and start the swim up to Luang Prabang.

It is not a long stroll to Laos. : David Luekens.
It is not a long stroll to Laos. Photo: David Luekens

This is a remote attraction with nothing but a shrine at the foot of the statue, some rubber trees and a pavilion for enjoying the views. The place was completely empty when we visited on a weekday around sunset. The road to get here is also devoid of anything save a couple of villages that don’t appear to have changed much over the last century.

Transport information

If you have your own vehicle, head straight west out of Chiang Khan along Sri Chiang Khan Road, which becomes Route 2195, and follow the blue English signs to Phra Yai, located at the end of a right turn off the main road. We would expect a tuk tuk to charge in the neighbourhood of 400 baht for a return trip, while a boat from Khaeng Khut Khu should cost 1,000 to 1,500.

Contact details for Phra Yai

Address: 21 km west of Chiang Khan
Coordinates (for GPS): 101º33'15.54" E, 17º49'10.32" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: Free

Reviewed by

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.

Tours in Thailand


These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.


Our top 5 other sights and activities in and around Chiang Khan

Tai Dam Weaving Group
Tai Dam Weaving Group

Try your hand at weaving

Ba Kom Goi Thai Massage
Ba Kom Goi Thai Massage

Oh sweet pain

Temples
Temples

Lovely

Phu Tok
Phu Tok

Check out the "sea of fog"

Khaeng Khut Khu
Khaeng Khut Khu

Go for the view, stay for the food