Photo: Freighter on the Mekong.

Wat Phrathat Pha Ngao

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Wat Phrathat Pha Ngao, a temple as prestigious as -->

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Photo of Wat Phrathat Pha Ngao">Wat Phrathat Chom Kiti, lies just south of town close to the smaller ancient city known as Chiang Saen Noi. This was another 13th-14th century walled town and remains of brick stupas and temples also exist here too. As with Phrathat Chom Kiti, the date of its original founding is unclear with some claiming sixth century, and so contemporary with the rumoured town under Chiang Saen Lake, though the 13th century, at the time of Mengrai, would be more logical.

It is found on another wooded hill, and while on previous visits we’ve seen a troop of macaques here, they weren’t in evidence on our last late 2015 visit, so we’re not sure if they were having a quiet day or have been moved on. The highlight of the temple is a round boulder surmounted by an ancient chedi . This is where a splendid old Chiang Saen-period Buddha image -- named Pha Ngao -- was unearthed. At the foot of the hill is a collection of buildings including monks’ quarters and an elaborate Lanna-style hall on stilts in the centre of a large fish-pond. The summit of the hill however, is home to an odd, space-age looking white concrete chedi ,though views are of course tremendous.

The carpark of this popular temple has snack and coffee stands and you can purchase food to feed the pond’s giant carp.


How to get there
The entrance is off Route 1129, three kilometres south of town just before the village of Sob Khan. It's a convenient stop if you’re making your way down to Chiang Khong. A bit more of a hike than Prathat Chom Kiti but makes for a fine cycle ride.

Location map for Wat Phrathat Pha Ngao

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Chiang Saen.
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