Lots of quirky distractions
While Mae Sot isn’t particularly known for its temples, Wat Mani Praison is well worth a stop to check out a beautiful Burmese-style ordination hall along with lots of bizarre bits of curio.
Closest to the street in an unusual wihaan crowned by multiple tiers of chedis with Buddha images placed in the niches, vivid murals depict a baby Buddha strolling on lotuses and an aged Buddha lying on a lotus at the moment of his death and parinibbana. Also check out the fake skeleton sporting sunglasses next to a coffin; slide 20 or 100 baht into the donation box to help provide funeral services for the less fortunate.
Wander further back and you’ll find a striking depiction of Luangpho Sangkatchai, a famous monk known for his supernatural abilities, sitting in meditation on the back of a tiger. Beyond that sits a huge meditating Buddha image and an equally impressive silver laughing Buddha lounging on a lotus with plus-size prayer beads in hand.
The highlight is a 200-year-old ordination hall with a multi-tiered roof and glittering mirror-like shards on the outer walls. Step inside to gaze at detailed woodcarvings and golden paintings of famous chedis set against a crimson backdrop. Also notice the frightening depiction of Buddhist hell at the bottom of a back-wall mural depicting plains of existence in the Buddhist view.
Wat Mani Praison has several other interesting features so do wander into the back corners. Near the rickety old kutis (monks’ cottages) you might find giant paper mache cobras and peacocks along with a giant drum placed on an old ox cart.
Wat Mani Praison is located off the north side of Intarakiree Rd towards the east side of downtown, a few hundred metres west of where Intarakiree merges with Prasatwithi. Open 08:00-17:00.
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.