Photo: Freighter on the Mekong.

Wat Phrathat Chom Kiti

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Prestigious Wat Phrathat Chom Kiti is situated on the slopes of a scenic forested hill just a couple of kilometres to the west of town.

Photo of Wat Phrathat Chom Kiti

It’s the usual hilltop temple set up, so a flight of naga-lined steps head straight up the hill, or you can use the sealed road winding its way round and up to the summit. There’s 350 steps but at least it’s shady, and there are statues scattered among the teak trees as you make your way up too.

The temple building on the first level as you ascend is actually Wat Chom Chaeng though we couldn’t see where one temple finished and the other began. Here you’ll find an ancient brick stupa and a more recently constructed Chiang Saen-style worshipping hall. This small but attractive building has an intricate, gold-leaf covered lintel and pediment.

On the summit is a larger chedi belonging to Wat Prathat Chom Kiti and said to contain a Buddha hair. The chedi is famous for being crooked though, to our eyes, not dramatically so. No-one knows for sure how old the complex is; the old chedis may well pre-date Chiang Saen, perhaps being connected to the rumoured town under the nearby lake while other sections are presumably contemporary with the 13th and 14th century constructions. As with the town it was also pretty much abandoned and derelict for periods, so much also dates from recent times. Whatever its age, views across town and the Mekong River are stupendous on a clear day.

It can be reached on foot by exiting the old town at Nong Mut Gate. You’ll see the hill ahead of you and it’s around a three-kilometre round trip.

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Wat Phrathat Chom Kiti
Daily 08:30-17:00
Admission: Free

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Location map for Wat Phrathat Chom Kiti

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