Wat Kham Chanot is one of Thailand’s most popular temples and also one of its weirdest. Located some distance from Udon Thani city it’s only accessible by private car but well worth the journey.
About Wat Kham Chanot
Wat Kham Chanot is a temple of two parts. Near the temple’s large car park, and wide selection of market stalls near the entrance to the temple, is the part of Wat Kham Chanot where the monks live and worship. There are some interesting statues and shrines in this part of the temple but this not what attracts the large number of visitors the temple receives daily.
The other part of Wat Kham Chanot is a forest by a lake. To reach Wat Kham Chanot Forest visitors need to cross over via a large bridge with long balustrades on each side shaped like mythical Naga serpents. The reason they are shaped like Naga is that two Naga are believed to emerge every night from the underworld through the lake beside the forest to roam around amongst the trees. The two Naga are known as Grandpa Naga Pu Si Suttho and Grandma Naga Si Pathumma.
The forest at Wat Kham Chanot largely consists of chanot trees, which are a type of palm with a fruit that is used in traditional medicine. The slender profile of the trees and the shade given by the wide palm leaves creates an eerie light and compliment the legends of visitors encountering ghosts in this supernatural forest.
The other type of tree in Wat Kham Chanot Forest is the bodhi fig tree which has an impressive root system partially exposed above ground level. One of the popular superstitions surrounding Wat Kham Chanot is that the winning numbers for the Thai national lottery can be seen in the rough bark of the roots of the bodhi tree, and there are shrines where people can make offerings for luck in picking the right numbers.
The central point of Wat Kham Chanot Forest is the row of three shrines where visitors queue up to wait for their turn to participate in a 5 minute group prayer and make an offering at each shrine. The most popular of the three shrines is the shrine to resident Nagas Grandpa Naga Pu Si Suttho and Grandma Naga Si Pathumma. The prayer at this shrine is taken by a Lersi, which is a Thai wandering mystic, dressed all in white with a long beard.
Location of Wat Kham Chanot
- Wat Kham Chanot is 96.2 km by road from Udon Thani Airport.