Worth a peek
Published/Last edited or updated: 12th May, 2018
While we’re not suggesting going all the way to Chiang Dao just to see them, if you’ve done the caves, been on a hike, checked out Makham Pom and still have some time on your hands then there are a couple of temples in town that we’d say are worth a look.
Primarily the conveniently placed Wat Mae It which boasts some quite remarkable sculptures plus a decent coffee shop while Wat Don Sri Sa-ard is another attractive if less conveniently sited, Buddhist temple just to the north of the centre of Chiang Dao.
If you’re walking or cycling between Ban Tham and Chiang Dao Town then you’ll pass right by Wat Mae It (or Ead—spellings vary), which is situated aside the Chiang Dao Cave road a short distance up from the main street. The modern Buddhist temple’s main attractions are a group of highly vivid and graphic sculptures though it also offers a viewpoint and handy coffee shop. These graphic and gruesome sculptures of torture and punishments are intended as warnings of what will befall naughty Buddhist boys and girls in the afterlife.
You do see these themes repeated in many Thai temples across Thailand, but these were particularly gruesome—probably because they seem to receive regular fresh coats of scarlet paint—and though the subject’s intentions are serious, we reckon the monks must have had great fun putting these together.
The sculptures lie in front of the main worshipping hall behind which is a small chedi with fine views out the rear towards Doi Chiang Dao. In the small temple carpark you’ll find a coffee shop with WiFi so you can sip an iced mocha, peruse the torture and post it on Instagram at the same time.
Back on the main street, on the north side of town and just before the bypass re-appears, is another imposing temple, Wat Don Sri Sa-ard. This is a much older and larger structure set amid tall trees, and the complex includes an elaborately decorated wiharn, (main hall), a golden chedi, plus a large, white, seated Buddha image almost hidden by the vegetation. The smaller but much older Lanna style hall to the right is also a notable building. Impressive and well worth a look around if you’re passing that way.
Wat Don Sri Na Saad Highway 1354–Chiang Dao main street, north of the town centre, Chiang Dao.
Wat Mae It Moo 5, Chiang Dao Cave road, (soi 25), Chiang Dao.
Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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