Photo: Cockerels everywhere.

King Naresuan Shrine

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While not spectacular to look at, the King Naresuan Shrine has great historical significance and a good story behind it. Combined with the nearby Wat Wiang Haeng it makes a convenient place to break up your journey if you’re travelling under your own steam but probably isn’t worth the effort of getting there by public transport.

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Naresuan was king of Ayutthaya from 1590 to 1605, and despite his short reign is considered one of Thailand’s greatest monarchs. His main claim to fame is ridding Siam of the perfidious Burmese to regain independence. Not content with that he also went on to sack the Burmese capital at Bago (no fewer than two times), defeat the upstart ruler of Chiang Mai, teach the Khmers a lesson, bring the Mon under control and he even found time to march his army on Vientiane. Legend has him defeating the king of Burma in a single-handed, elephant-back, duel. He was a kind of hands-on Siamese Napoleon and under his rule, the kingdom is considered to have reached its apogee.

Elephants and chooks everywhere. Photo taken in or around King Naresuan Shrine, Wiang Haeng, Thailand by Mark Ord.

Elephants and chooks everywhere. Photo: Mark Ord

It was during one of his stomping campaigns, (diplomacy obviously not being his strong point), on his way to help the Shan fight the Burmese, that legend has him dying in Wiang Haeng. Historians can’t agree on how he died: maybe malaria, maybe smallpox. Although his ashes are said to be interred in a stupa over the border in Shan State a shrine has been set up just outside of Wiang Haeng to mark the point where the great man supposedly passed away.

The shrine is set on a low hill just two kilometres east of town on the side of Route 1322, so if you’re passing through Wiang Haeng, stop and pay your respects to the great warrior king, and check out the view at the same time. The cockerel is considered a symbol of the King hence the proliferation of plaster chickens both here and indeed right across the region.

Just past the shrine before entering Wiang Haeng proper you’ll see a fancy new Buddhist temple on the left of the highway going by the name of Wat Wiang Haeng. This is another eclectic mix of Thai and Shan features but is one of those sites which is worth a peek if you’re in the area, but not worth making an effort ... Travelfish members only (Around 300 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
The Naresuan shrine is some two kilometres before Wiang Haeng on the north side of Route 1322 and Wat Wiang Haeng is on the south side around 500 metres before entering town from the east.

King Naresuan Shrine
Route 1322, two kilometres before Wiang Haeng
Admission: Free

Location map for King Naresuan Shrine

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Wiang Haeng.
 Read up on where to eat on Wiang Haeng.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Wiang Haeng.
 Read up on how to get to Wiang Haeng, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Wiang Haeng? Please read this.
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