A remote forest temple
Published/Last edited or updated: 30th July, 2017
Wat Phra Phutthabat Si Roi, located in Mae Rim's Salouang district some 70 kilometres from central Chiang Mai, is a relatively new temple that houses four famous footprints of the Buddha.
Though it’s a highly prestigious and popular temple among Thais, very few foreigners make it out here, which is a shame since it’s a picturesque spot, with a lovely drive to get there, making it an interesting day or half-day out from Chiang Mai.
It’s remoteness and the difficulty of access accounts for the lack of tourists—we’ve never found any organised tours here and it’s impossible to reach by public transport—but if you’ve rented a motorbike or are prepared to hire a songthaew for the day, then it’s worth the effort. While the temple is very well signposted, all signs are written in Thai but they have a picture of the Buddha footprint on them, so just follow the pictures (if you can’t read Thai).
The temple itself is a fairly recent construction—and indeed the famous Buddha footprints seem to our sacrilegious minds recently carved—but it’s a photogenic collection of various temple buildings and hundreds of Buddha statues, set in a wooded valley surrounded by low hills. A basic cafe in the car park will keep you fed and watered, while various vendors sell herbal medicines, too.
Part of the attraction is simply in the journey of getting here. Note that it’s easily combined with a trip to Mae Sa Valley or perhaps Mae Taeng; Salouang village has some eateries and even a camp site half-way between the village and temple if you want to stay the night in the middle of nowhere.
Drive through Mae Rim on the main highway north, and some five kilometres or so after the town look out for a sign and a turning to the left—it is just before a right turn onto Route 3011. The sealed road then winds its way through villages and up wooded hills for 25 kilometres until you reach the temple. Every junction is signposted, and side tracks to several waterfalls are indicated in English.
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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