An atmospheric temple
Published/Last edited or updated: 8th February, 2021
Established in 1859, Wat Si Thep is our favourite of Nakhon Phanom town’s temples thanks to its atmospheric grounds shrouded in often-blossoming trees.
The ordination hall houses Phra Saeng, a famous bronze Buddha image thought to have been crafted at the same time as Nong Khai’s Phra Sai image, by Lao artisans during the days of the Lan Xiang kingdom. Placed high on a twinkling gold and blue pedestal, the Buddha image is backed by a mural depicting a large tree trunk along with forest animals frolicking and what appear to be Himalayan mountains rising behind.
Murals on the sidewalls display key scenes from the Buddha’s life painted in vivid detail that would impress a graphic novel artist. Show up at 17:00 to sit in the back while the resident dark ochre-robed monks perform their nightly chanting of Pali scripture.
Wat Si Thep is a forest tradition temple that was frequented by Luang Phu Chan, a well-known meditation monk. His ashes are enshrined in a large golden bell-shaped chedi situated behind the ordination hall, and a life-like statue of him is placed in a side building. Built in 1921, one of the lovely European-style buildings has won awards for architectural preservation.
Wat Si Thep is centrally located south of Highway 22 on Si Thep Rd, just south of Pho Si Rd and an easy walk from the river.
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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