A lovely spot
Wat Analayo is one of the more interesting hilltop wats in Thailand’s north. The temple is set on the first range of low hills, more or less opposite Phayao town on the far side of the lake. The wooded hillside houses an eclectic collection of Buddha images, shrines, pagodas and halls and is set in lush tropical gardens with a real jungle feel to them.
A popular spot with strolling and worshipping locals on weekends, it’s very quiet during the week when it’s a pleasant place to wander around. Paths are said to continue into the surrounding forest if you want to enjoy a longer hike.
Check out the Buddhist cherubs surrounding a fountain and to whom numerous offerings have been made in the form of toys such as model cars or sodas. Called kuman thong in Thai, they are more sinister than regular cherubs since they represent spirits of unborn babies and were originally created using mummified, unborn or stillborn foetuses. Moving quickly on …
Following a sealed road up the hill, you’ll arrive in a car park surrounded by a few souvenir stalls and a good little cafe from where a flight of naga-lined steps leads up to the main temple buildings. You can skip this first flight of stairs and there’s a second car park on this level but it’s neither long nor steep anyway. When we visited a rather aggressive pack of dogs inhabited the second parking area (as is far from rare in temple grounds), but just bending down to pick up a pretend stone is usually enough to get them running.
Here you’ll see a Chinese-style shrine to the goddess of mercy and a rather impressive, traditional Lanna-style hall. A path leads upwards past various other statues and shrines dotted amid plants and trees. Though the path climbs gently along a ridge both sides are heavily forested and we found it difficult to get views in any direction, let alone of the lake.
The main images are near the hill’s summit. Here a pair of Buddhas sit; one on a green bodied naga with seven crimson heads and another a simple plain white statue set against a picturesque backdrop of trees and bamboo.
Wat Analayo Thipphayaram lies approximately 18 or 21 kilometres from town clockwise and anti-clockwise respectively. A visit here would be best combined with a tour around Phayao Lake and Champatong Waterfall.
Wat Analayo is well signposted in English and lies a short distance off Route 1193 near the village of Ban Tom.
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.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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