Wat Tham Pha Daen is a beautiful hill top temple in the Phu Phan mountain range to the south east of Sakon Nakon City. Wat Tham Pha Daen’s recent remodelling has made into one of the area’s top tourists attractions.
- Opening hours: 08:00 to 18:00
- Admission fee: Free (20 THB per person transport from the car park to the temple)
About Wat Tham Pha Daen
The name Wat Tham Pha Daen comes from the narrow passage way between two large sections of rock on the top of the hill where the temple is built. This isolated location, with its tunnel like structure, has been used by Buddha monks for meditation retreats for long time. How long is not recorded, although there are temple buildings on the site that date back to the 1940s.
The passage way leads to a large rock on top of the hill with a shrine and a fantastic view of the Phu Phan mountain range, Sakon Nakhon City and Nong Han Lake. The view is one of the reasons that Wat Tham Pha Daen attracts lots of visitors, most of whom are Thai. It’s awkward to get to this temple without your own car so not many foreign visitors have been there to take photographs and spread information about it through social media and blogs.
The part of the temple which most visitors focus on, however, has been under construction since 2012, and this ambitious development programme has been ongoing ever since and will probably continue for another 10 years until its reaches completion.
Two of the things which Wat Tham Pha Daen is notable for are its stone statues and its rock carvings. The area is covered in large seams of rock which have been incorporated into the design of the temple. The figures portrayed include animals, both real and mythical, and images of famous monks.
Wat Tham Pha Daen also features a large carved imprint of the Lord Buddha’s foot. Inside the foot are pots into which visitors attempt to throw coins. Getting a coin into the pot is said to bring good luck.
Wat Tham Pha Daen is also notable for its many gardens. Near the entrance to the temple is an excellent fantasy forest with made man stream and an impressive array of South East Asian plants. The temple also has two cafes, one of which is beautifully designed with multiple platforms surrounded by trees and large potted plants.
The main shrine hall at Wat Tham Pha Daen is still being worked on. Its a wooden structure with a very large concrete statue of the Lord Buddha. All the main components are made from interlocking pieces of wood, except for the supporting columns which are roughly hewn tree trunks. When complete this shrine hall will be a striking building quite unlike anything else in Thailand.
Location of Wat Tham Pha Daen
- Wat Tham Pha Daen is 190 km by road from Udon Thani Airport.