Not to be missed
Published/Last edited or updated: 25th July, 2018
A row of hills along the northern edge of town is all that separates Tha Ton from the border and Burma’s Shan State and dotted among these forested slopes and strung along the summit ridges you’ll find the sprawling temple complex of Wat Tha Ton.
Standing at the foot of the hill on the main road, it looks quite a climb to the top (it is) although the path does ascend gradually through a series of levels with something to see, plus different views, at each step. Take it slowly with plenty of pauses and you’ll make it in one piece. Of course, you could just hire a motorbike and drive up the sealed road that winds its way up, but then you’d be missing half the fun.
The steps begin just on the west side of the bridge and lead through some rock gardens with elaborate Chinese-style salas and statues overlooking the river. After this, level one includes a dharma school for novices, the abbot’s office and perhaps of more interest to casual tourists, a good coffee shop. The gold-leaf-coated chedi you see on this level is certainly the oldest part of the temple and is said to contain Buddha relics such as hair and bone.
Level two, a short walk further up, is home to the main ordination hall above which, peering through the trees, you’ll spot the giant, seated, white Buddha on the level above. You can see this huge statue from pretty much anywhere in Tha Ton. The principal temple admin buildings over and done with, the path and steps become more attractive, leading you through forest and rock outcrops with occasional small shrines and statues ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 600 words.)
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.