Ancient riverside temple
Published/Last edited or updated: 13th June, 2016
The roughly 30-metre-tall chedi stands on the site of three smaller lotus-shaped chedis commissioned by Sukhothai’s King Lithai to enshrine relics of the Buddha in the mid-14th century. In the early 1900s a prominent Karen logger apparently covered the chedis with a larger white-plaster chedi resembling Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda, albeit much smaller. How the logger had the clout to erase the work of a Sukhothai king is anyone’s guess.
A stone’s throw from the riverbank, the chedi has since been painted gold and is a focal point of the annual Nop Phra Len Phleng Festival, which coincides with the Makha Puja holiday on a full moon in February. A colourful procession of musicians and dancers cross the Ping from modern Kamphaeng Phet town to pay respects to the Buddha relics at Wat Phra Borommathat.
The temple also features an old ordination hall done up with vivid murals depicting scenes from the Buddha’s life and a seated Buddha image that appears to mimic Phitsanulok’s famous Phra Phuttha Chinnarat image. We arrived to find a young man doing a merit-making ceremony with a resident monk, though the hall may be closed when it’s not in use.
After checking out the temple you could head further south along the riverside road and grab lunch at one of several restaurants serving seafood on decks with river views.
Wat Phra Borommathat is located directly across the river from the historical park’s central zone and can be hit by bicycle if you don’t mind a slightly harrowing ride across the bridge on Highway 101. After heading west across the bridge from the clock tower in downtown Kamphaeng Phet, take the first sharp left at the exit, which will turn you back east, and then take the first left (west), and you’ll reach Wat Phra Borommathat after around a kilometre on the right. It’s also within easy walking distance north from the bus station.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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