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10 Unconventional Beautiful Thai Temples You Must Visit

Post Date : Dec 7, 2017 | Author: Admin

10 Beautiful Unconventional Thai Temples You Must Visit10 Beautiful Unconventional Thai Temples You Must Visit



In the kingdom where prayers are sung, bells are rung, and people get up to give monks morning alms before dawn, Buddhist temples find their finest and most elaborate designs and architecture. Constructing a temple (wat in Thai) is believed to be one of the best merit which Buddhist devotees can make. While several artists find traditional temple art designs safe and appropriate, few get a bit creative. They seek exoticism and unconventionality both in temple art and locations for the temples. If you’d like to find out exotic but beautiful Thai temples to impress your social media followers during your Thailand visit, read on!


Most of the temples we listed here are super off-the-beaten-tourist-path. Essentially because they’re way out there and difficult to access with public transportation. To make your trip more worthwhile, spend at least one night staying in the local communities close to the temples. This way, you can enjoy charming local experience you’ll never forget. Check out what fun things you can do in Thai rural villages, arranged by Smiling Tuk Tuk here!


Beautiful Thai Temple #1

Wat Rong Khun (วัดร่องขุ่น) – ‘The White Temple’

10 Beautiful Unconventional Thai Temples You Must Visit #1 - Wat Rong Khun
Wat Rong Khun is a self-funded project of Chaloemchai Kositpipat, a talented artist and local of Chiang Rai. To make the most of this temple visit, you should understand the religious and philosophical meanings in its design and architecture. White symbolizes the purity of Buddha. Glistening mirrored fragments reflect wisdom. To reach the chapel symbolizing heaven and nirvana, visitors must cross hell and the cycle of death & rebirth personified by the bridge over the pond of reaching-out ghostly hands. Inside the chapel, mural paintings depict the expected and a big surprise. Next to beautifully painted tales of Buddha, there are Marvel and Japanese cartoon hero characters rushing to save the World Trade Center! Several Buddhist devotees find these cartoon paintings amusing, others, offensive. The temple is planned to be competed in 2070 as a few more buildings are to be constructed. We can only say one word – impressive!



  • Opens 6.30am – 6pm, daily
  • Located 13 km north of Chiang Rai town; hire a taxi or rent a motorbike



Beautiful Thai Temple #2

Wat Lan Kuad (วัดล้านขวด) – ‘The Beer Bottle Temple’

10 Beautiful Unconventional Thai Temples You Must Visit #2 - Wat Lan Kuad

10 Beautiful Unconventional Thai Temples You Must Visit #2 - Wat Lan Kuad
Translated a-million-bottle temple, the temple uses just a little over 1.5 million bottles of beer and energy drinks in its construction. The brainchild of the temple’s abbot is nothing less than a win-win. He wants to, apart from recycling, remind visitors of excessive alcohol consumption (enough to build a whole temple complex!). Moreover, the materials are eye-catching, easy to be cleaned and taken care of, unlike painted cement or brick walls. The abbot started collecting bottles and caps in 1984. With proud donations from villagers and visitors, the complex has over 20 buildings comprising the main temple over a pond, crematorium, prayer rooms, a water tower, bathrooms and the monks’ quarters – all covered with glass bottles and caps! We can only say 2 words – super creative!



  • Open 8am – 5pm, daily
  • Located 61 km from Sisaket town; hire a taxi and take Highway No. 211 from Sisaket town



Beautiful Thai Temple #3

Wat Pha Son Kaew (วัดผาซ่อนแก้ว) – ‘The Mosaic Temple’

Beautiful Unconventional Thai Temple #3 - Wat Pha Son Kaew

Beautiful Unconventional Thai Temple #3 - Wat Pha Son Kaew
The temple sits on a hilltop of a forested valley in the hilly Khao Khao. The location alone can take your breath away. Then, strolling in the temple complex feels like being in heaven with a quirky twist. First established to be a meditation center, it grew into a temple later. But really, first time visitors must find it hard to meditate here amidst all these edifices with exotic designs. (We did. All we wanted to do was to take pictures!)
The pagoda, inspired by a lotus shape, has 5 levels connected by a spiral staircase. A grandeur glass chandelier is hung from the ceiling throughout all levels, like that in a resort. The outside surface of the pagoda is decorated with millions of colorful mosaic tiles, glass and stone beads, pottery and China shards. Another highlight – the white identical Buddha statues of different sizes, reflecting the belief that Buddha has reborn and visited Earth for 5 times. The whole complex was a shared labor of local villagers and donors. Visiting the temple, you’ll be dawned to an amazing thing faith can inspire.



  • Open 8am – 5pm
  • Located 75 km from Petchabun town; accessible by a private car



Beautiful Thai Temple #4

Wat Rong Sue Ten (วัดร่องเสือเต้น) – ‘The Blue Temple’

Beautiful Unconventional Thai Temple #4 - Wat Rong Sue Ten
Chiang Rai has its White Temple, and also a Blue one! The fairly new temple is a work of Phuttha Kabkaew, a student of Chaloemchai Kositpipat of the White Temple himself. Inspired by his teacher perhaps, Phuttha renovated an ancient temple aged over 100 years into this city’s new landmark. The 13 x 48 meter assembly hall has 2 Nagas guarding the front and a huge standing Buddha guarding the back. Inside, walls and ceiling are painted deep blue, representing Buddha’s teachings as true as a sky. Beautiful mural paintings depict Buddha’s tales, surrounding a white seated Buddha statue. The work of art and stuccos are as intricate as those of the White Temple but the complex is smaller. This Blue Temple, the White Temple, and the Black House (an artist’s house) make Chiang Rai a truly colorful city!



  • Opens 7am – 8pm
  • Located at the outskirt of Chaing Rai town; hire a motorbike



Beautiful Thai Temple #5

Wat Tha Soong (วัดท่าซุง) – ‘The Glass Temple’

Beautiful Unconventional Thai Temple #5 -Wat Tha Soong
Nicknamed the Diamond Temple, it’s easy to see why. Wat Tha Sung features the assembly hall whose interior is covered with glass mosaics and pieces. Being inside, you feel as if being in a Shah palace where everything is shining and glistening. Laces of clear plastic crystal beads hang from the ceiling, flickering in yellow light. Apart from the golden Buddha statue, the preserved body of the first temple’s abbot lies in peace. 750 meters from the assembly hall, sits the 4-tier Gold Castle. It was build to commemorate King Rama 9’s 50th throne anniversary. As it is not a temple, there is no Buddha statue inside. However, it has beautiful and intricate carvings both on the outside and the inside, all covered with gold foil.



  • The assembly hall is open 9am – 11.45am and 2pm – 4pm, daily; the Gold Castle is open 8am – 4pm.
  • Located 10 km from Uthai Thani town; hire a taxi or a motorbike from Uthai Thani’s main bus terminal.



Beautiful Thai Temple #6

Wat Tham Khao Wong (วัดถ้ำเขาวง)

Beautiful Unconventional Thai Temple #6 - Wat Tham Khao Wong
Don’t let this stunning wooden temple foul you to believe it’s a beautiful traditional Thai house or a resort. The temple is set against a limestone mountain, fronted by a fish pond and a serene garden. Essentially built with used teakwood, it was established in 1987. Unlike other temples where chapels, assembly hall, monk’s quarters are separate edifices, the temple has 4 storeys, and every temple affair takes place in the very same building. The ground floor serves as a multi-purpose area, the first floor: assembly hall, the second floor: monk’s quarter, and third: the chapel. Behind the temple, there are 7-8 caves. Bat sanctuary and territory, the caves host pretty stalagmites and stalactites and serve as monks meditation places. So, keep your voice down and be respectful.



  • Opens 8.30am – 4.30pm, daily
  • Located 12 km from Uthai Thani town; hire a car or a taxi from the town



Wat Chaloem Phrakiat Phrachomklao Rachanuson

(วัดเฉลิมพระเกียรติพระจอมเกล้าราชานุสรณ์) – ‘The Temple on a Cliff’

Beautiful Unconventional Thai Temple #7 Wat Chaloem Phrakiat Phrachomklao Rachanuson

Beautiful Unconventional Thai Temple #7 Wat Chaloem Phrakiat Phrachomklao Rachanuson
The temple sits on a rocky hill nearly 1,000 meters above sea level, and offers a stunning panorama of the Thung Thong valley below. The location is an obvious reason for its fame. The temple is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site because of a Buddha footprint believed to have been made over 2,000 years ago. With the edifices located both on the ground and on the towering rocky hill top, the wat offers an absolutely unique temple visit experience. The chapel at the hill foot can be accessed by your own ride. But your uphill journey requires you to leave your ride at the parking lot and hire a local song-taew service. Steel staircase brings you to the Buddha footprint and continues to the hilltop. Here, a golden pagoda, bell hall, prayer’s hall, and stupas sit on unleveled rocky peaks connected by a maze-like network of bamboo and metal staircases. Some take tiny spaces on a cliff as if they have been misplaced by an invisible gigantic hand. As you take photos of them, you only wonder how the construction materials were brought up here?



  • To catch a sunrise on the top, start your journey from the hill foot at 5am. Unless you can miss the sunrise, Song Taew service starts at 7am. Don’t leave the top after 5pm as it may get dark when climbing down.
  • The temple is 65 km from Lampang town. We recommend spending one night in Chae Hom town which is a few kilometers from the temple.


Beautiful Thai Temple #8

Wat Pa Phu Kon (วัดป่าภูก้อน) – ‘The Aqua Roof Temple’

Beautiful Unconventional Thai Temple #8 Wat Pa Phu Kon

Beautiful Unconventional Thai Temple #8 Wat Pa Phu Kon
Nestled in a hilly woodland of Udon Thani province, Wat Pa Phu Kon strikes you with aqua blue tiered roof. The secluded location suits perfectly for meditation for residents and visiting monks. The temple’s highlight is the massive white marble reclining Buddha which took about 1.5 USD to cast. The temple construction was funded by an elderly woman who did it in an honor of our late king. As the temple is perched on top of a hill, views of serene lush forest can be seen from its terraces. Though publications usually feature photos of the temple from a high angle, the spot where the photos are taken is a monk’s quarter and thus entry is prohibited.



  • Opens 6.00am – 7pm, daily
  • Hire a taxi or rent a car from Udon Thani province



Beautiful Thai Temple #9

Wat Sirindhorn Wararam Phu Prao (วัดสิรินธรวรารามภูพร้าว) – ‘The Fluorescence Temple’

Beautiful Unconventional Thai Temple #9 - Wat Sirindhorn Wararam Phu Prao
You can probably guess from the title that you need to visit this temple at night! Against the dark sky, the yellow-lit temple glow in grandeur. On one side of the wall facing East, there is a fluorescencecoated mosaic of the Tree of Life. The tree absorbs daylight and glows in a beautiful green shade at night, just like in the Avatar movie where the artist got the inspiration from. The temple structure itself takes after an ancient temple in Laos – a fine example of modern and tradtional art that co-exist in harmony. On the ground surrounding the temple, glowing mosaics of lotuses and fauna in Buddhist myths supplement the scene. From the temple’s terrace, you can see a stunning sunset over to Mekong river. Make sure you get here at the right time to catch 2 dramatic phenomenon: a stunning sunset and the glowing tree.



  • Opens 5pm to 8pm is the best time to visit the temple
  • Located 70km from Ubon Ratchathani town; hire a car


Beautiful Thai Temple #10

The Sanctuary of Truth – ‘Wooden Temple without a Single Nail’

Beautiful Unconventional Thai Temple #10 - The Sanctuary of Truth

Beautiful Unconventional Thai Temple #10 - The Sanctuary of Truth
Sanctuary of Truth is not really a temple. But the purpose of constructing it is devoted to the religion and Buddhist philosophy, so we’re giving it a past to be listed here. The sanctuary is a wooden structure sitting on a beach in North Pattaya. Everything about it is wood, even thousands of intricately carved motifs and sculptures. The sanctuary reflects Buddhist and Hindu teachings which should be taken into account to lead a moral life, and reminds visitors not to live a life so removed from nature and philosophy. It’s by far the biggest wood carving structure in the world and is constructed without modern materials like cement, plastic, and not even a single nail!



  • Opens 8am – 6pm
  • The temple is located in Pattaya, one hour from Bangkok. It sits towards the end of Naklua Soi 12; from central Pattaya take a song taew heading towards the Dolphin Roundabout (near the Dusit Thani Hotel). The same song taew might to go Naklua 12, or you might have to find another one that does.

10 Beautiful Unconventional Thai Temples You Must Visit_info graphic

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