As Thai/western spelling is based on phonetics, meaning how a Thai word sounds in English, you can end up with lots of different variations for the same thing, all of which are basically correct. It is why search for places in Thailand using a GPS can be frustrating because where you want to go MAY be there if only you could work out how it is spelt 🙂 This wat comes under the same category. On Google Maps it is only named with Thai script and my “translation” is based on my wife Gaun’s pronunciation and my interpretation of those sounds so I could be close or not! Anyway it is something like the title of this post or it could also be spelt Pha Si Vichi. As pha/pa is Thai for a group of trees, a forest or grove of trees in English, this makes this wat one of the many forest temples in our area. Whatever its name this temple is one of the most impressive timber I have seen in Thailand and even more extraordinary as it is situated in the backstreet of a small Isaan town, called Nong Bau Lamphu, capital of the province of the same name.
The best way to find it is to look out for the huge Thai Watsadu DIY store on the right as you head west out of Nong Bua Lamphu on the 210 and it is almost directly behind that. Google Maps HERE, including my review of the place.
The way I find a lot of the places covered in this blog is by recommendation and this temple was no different. The tip came from an English guy called Greg who with his wife Noi owns a small restaurant, a short drive from our hometown of Si Bun Ruang. For Facebook people you can find Greg and Noi HERE. Because there are few westerners writing blogs like mine in our part of Isaan it is hard to get to find such places by relying on the internet alone so I am always grateful to locals like Greg for their tips.
Your introduction to the wat is in the main parking area, where you have a sort of Mad Max moment.
This is a very small part of this extraordinary wat. Absolutely spotless as you’d expect from a forest temple, which in cleanliness often leave the normal village wats for dead.
This is on the first level of the building in the previous photo. These small tents are used by visitors who want to sleep over and not get bitten to death by mosquitoes. Just look at that roof structure.
These are monk rooms or storage and are scattered throughout the wat.
Typical of these timber temples in that the natural wood is cleverly stitched together to form the supporting structure such as this ceiling. It would be much easier if using milled wood.
A continuation of building One.
Gaun inspecting the ceiling. How do they work out what goes where?
The view from the temple to Thai Watsadu the DIY place on the main road.
Stairs and a shuttered room. I like the burst of colour to break up the plain timber.
The main hall area of this building looking back at the some of the accommodation section.
There was us, five monks (we only saw three) and a yai (grandmother – mum of the boss monk). Not a tourist bus in sight! Absolute bliss. Moving to the main Buddha hall and beyond is Yuan, my sister-in-law and Gaun.
Smaller “normal” features like this added interest and variety.
Wow. These are holding up the floor of the Buddha hall. Compare their size with Gaun. Massive. This whole underfloor area has been concreted and swept. Spotless.
More wow. If you had to buy this timber you’d be up for a huge cost. This is hardwood and super expensive here.
The main staircase to the Buddha hall. Gaz, a friend from Australia, Yuan, Lud and me.
And this is the staircase itself.
I just LOVE this hall. It is large, beautiful with the colours of the timber and then the simple golden Buddha shrine at the end. Hard to beat.
Our friend Gaz is taken in by the timber. As an ex-carpenter he found this place amazing.
The Buddha shrine.
The detailing is outstanding.
Gaz checking out the monk’s chair. I was told it took two years to carve by hand.
Even a storage area is organised and what a setting!
Yet more building in the distance – a utility area!
What a stunning structure.
A whole forest was chopped down to build this place.
More character stairs.
You will find eight of these stones surrounding a temple and one located centrally.
Although the main entrance to the temple is a concrete wasteland, once you get behind that it is definitely a pha/pa/forest temple as shown in the following photos.
Notice how all the paths have been swept of leaves. You will only see that sort of detail happening in a well run forest temple.
This is the machinery “shed” on the right flowing into the trees.
These pavers are huge and very thick.
Looking back to the main part of the temple through the trees.
The Buddha hall from another angle.
Another monk room, which is on a structure built over a small river at the back of the temple.
Gaun on that structure.
This is a two storey building built into the river. Its purpose….because they could I think!
Spot Gaun. The monk offered us some of this floating greenery, but next time.
And for something completely different. One of the practical ways this wat raises money is through a huge cactus farm run by the abbot’s mum. Like everything here it is beautifully organised and impressive in its scope.
The combination of a wat and cactus is a new one for me.
This gives you some idea of the size and layout.
I am not a cactus sort of person but some of these were very beautiful.
Some were selling for up to 1,000 baht so the whole area was caged and locked.
A huge range of flowers and shapes.
Nature is far more creative than we’ll ever be.
Sold to local plant places.
And so it goes and goes.
Gaun buys this cactus for 100 baht or $4.00. Our contribution to wat extensions of the future.
Now included as part of our garden at home.
Finding this place after we have lived in Isaan for well over three years gives me hope that there are still gem attractions to be found and that I should never give up looking for them and sharing them here of course.
I hope you enjoyed seeing this amazing wat. Thanks for reading and leave a comment. It’s the only payment I ask for what is for you a completely free Thailand resource.