Forest temple on the Mekong
Ajahn Thate passed away in 1994, and the forest monastery founded by this supposedly enlightened monk quickly became a prominent pilgrimage site. The grounds include a large chedi and mausoleum containing the monk’s relics along with his few personal requisites and a bronze statue of him. There’s also a life-like wax sculpture of Ajahn Thate that sits among a handful of temple buildings near the three boulders. The vast, sloped rocks are now off limits to visitors as they’re perched many metres over the river, but you can walk along a series of picturesque riverside walkways with decent views over to a forested part of Laos.
The monastery grounds are spread over nearly two square kilometres, most of which remain nothing but forest. It’s easy to find a quiet corner for meditation, but this is also a pleasant place to simply stroll around and soak up the peace and quiet. The grounds include simple monks’ cabins (kuti) and a large pond. If you’re not templed out by now, you might check out Phra Sutham Chedi at nearby Wat Aran Ban Pot, which is said to contain a pubic bone of the Buddha. Far out!
The temple is located right off Route 211, some seven km west of Sri Chiang Mai and 60 km from Nong Khai. It's well sign-posted if coming by motorbike. Alternately, you can catch the early bus from Nong Khai to Loei and ask to be dropped off at Wat Hin Mak Peng. Keep in mind however that only a few buses ply this route each day so it might be a long wait for the next one.
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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