Wat Phu Tok is the most visited tourist attraction in Bueng Kan Province, which is one of the poorest and most remote parts of Thailand located on the border with Laos which is formed by the Mekong River.
- Opening Hours: 06:30 to 17:00 (Closed during the Songkran Festival)
- Entrance Fee: Free
About Wat Phu Tok
In order to enter into Wat Phu Tok you pass through an archway with large statues of elephants on either side. Its a fairy long distance from the main road to the temple so you need a motorbike or car to visit this temple.
The main attraction at Wat Phu Tok is Phu Tok Hill which is a sandstone hill rising 359 metres above sea level from an otherwise entirely flat landscape.
The major draw for visitors to Wat Phu Tok is to walk up Phu Tok Hill. One side of the hill is near vertical and an ascent of this side of the hill is only possible because of the wooden walkways and staircases that have been installed. The walkways and staircases are arranged to create 7 levels representing the 7 stages to enlightenment in Buddhist theology. Levels 1 to 4 are a straightforward ascent up steep stone and wooden stairs. From there you can take one of two routes to the top. The route on the right takes you to the sheer face of the hill and across metre wide walkways and up steer wooden staircases. The most frightening part of the walk up is a 100 metres stretch of walkway on level 6 which a balcony held up by wooden supports secured diagonally into the rock face.
Once you have conquered level 6 of Phu Tok Hill you can choose to go to level 7, which is the top of the hill and not particularly interesting, or descend via the other side.
The route down the less steep side of Wat Phu Tok is also interesting. On level 5 there is a natural open sided cave with around 100 life sized statues of famous Thai monks. Beyond that there is a staircase through another cave which takes you from level 5 to 4 from where you descend the same way you came up. The walk takes between 1 and 2 hours so we advise that you take water with you as there is none for sale in the temple.
Before you depart from Wat Phu Tok we recommend that you take a look inside the large chedi tower at the foot of the hill. Inside the chedi is a shrine to Ajahn Juan who founded the temple in 1968 and oversaw the construction of the walkways up the hill. Ajahn Juan was one of the founders of Thailand’s forest movement, which a sect within Thailand’s Buddhist church emphasising the importance of monks living a simple life without material possessions, and is widely revered in the same way as a saint in the Christian religion.
Location of Wat Phu Tok
- Wat Phu Tok is 186 km by road from Udon Thani Airport.