The laterite temple
Reached after climbing a long laterite stairway through the forest, the enormous main hall is constructed almost entirely of laterite bricks. You could be forgiven for mistaking this for an ancient temple.
Surrounding the structure are neatly kept bonsai trees, flower gardens and dark-blue lamp posts that wouldn’t look out of place on a London street. The temple is a tribute to the forest meditation tradition, evidenced by ornate ceramic sculptures of wandering thudong monks below a large Dhamma wheel near the structure’s pinnacle. Exquisite gold lacquer reliefs of jungle scenes adorn the shutters on both outer walls.
Inside, the airy hall is anchored around an uncanny replica of Phra Phutha Chinnarat, a sacred Buddha image residing in Phitsanulok. Even the black-and-gold background and wide pillars have been copied in fine detail. Murals depicting scenes from the Buddha’s life decorate the walls. The complex also includes a laterite shrine room housing the relics of a former abbot.
From Wat Phra Tat Si Song Rak, head briefly south before taking the first right (west), where you'll see the stone gateway leading up to the temple. Open daily 8:00 to 17:00.
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.