We recently spent a day in the Mae Rim area, my blog post HERE, with a couple of Aussies one of whom recommended this Wat to us – thanks Kim. I find that often following the recommendations of people we meet in person, especially those who have lived in Chiang Mai for a time, is far more reliable than the on-line travel sites.

Wat Phra Phutthabat Si Roi had the benefit of not only being a worth a visit in itself but the drive to get there through Mae Rim was supposed to be very pleasant too. The history of such an impressive Wat located in the middle of nowhere can be explained by the following words kindly supplied by www.roughguides.com:

The Wat.

The Wat.

Yesterday with a few hours to spare we headed off to see if we could follow the map given us and find this Wat, high in the hills outside the city of Chiang Mai.

The first part of the trip had us on the busy Highway 107 before we turned off to the left on Rural Road 3023, which had us heading through small villages and a farming landscape.

Post rice harvest.

Post rice harvest.

A great looking Lanna type building here. Love the roofs.

A great looking Lanna type building overlooking the fields. Love the roofs.

My Google Maps navigation skills leave something to be desired because it all looked easy on the computer but we missed the turn in real life. There were large white on blue signs for the Wat with an arrow pointing “dhong pai” or straight ahead on the main road until we came across the same sign pointing back the way we had just come. I called into a shop for a much needed ice cream to steady my nerves, $0.80 for a top of the line Cornetto 🙂 and Gaun got directions, which were turn left at the concrete monk! This was the monk:

Our signpost.

Our signpost.

We called into one of the many, many temples dotted along the way, which was fairly unmemorable but did allow us to take these two tourist photos:

What can I say? Big.

What can I say? Big.

My turn.

My turn.

Leaving behind the lowlands we headed into the hills with the road getting progressively steeper the further along we went. A decent concrete surface, as with so many Thai roads, narrow but no problems at all. I was reading the blog of a bloke who rode it on a bicycle. Good luck with that.

Views from the lower hills on our climb.

Views from the lower hills on our climb.

It was a decent trip once we headed off the “main” road. Certainly 30 minutes or more before we started to get signs that a Wat was about to appear. The road itself was well worth the trip just in itself passing through several small villages and past an organic farm and spa of all things. I let a large ute pass us at one stage because I wasn’t in a hurry. It ended up being full of monks and from time to time they stopped for us to catch-up I presume to make sure we were OK. Big smiles all round when we reached our destination, which is marked quite dramatically by this arch being constructed.

The entranceway one day to the Wat.

The entranceway one day to the Wat.

Behind it was a large concrete carpark, which could accommodate heaps of vehicles if needed. It was only when I read about the history of the place and its role as a pilgrimage destination to many Thai Buddhists that this made sense. Otherwise it was a bit strange as the Wat was a way from anywhere.

Signage to the Wat itself was non-existent once we hit the hills but ample signage to something called Coffee Nine was tastefully displayed along the way. This is Coffee Nine, an essential Buddhist place of worship.

Coffee heaven! Buddha was into a nice Latte.

Coffee heaven! Buddha was into a nice Latte.

When you visit don’t stop in the main carpark. Drive on with Coffee Nine on your right and across a small bridge that must go under in the wet season. Turning right you will see the main building ahead guarded by a pack of dogs.

Take the ramp on the left.

Take the ramp on the left.

Woof.

Woof. It’s like each has a coupe of meters to protect.

Leave the car in the carpark and the Wat is right there.

A taste of things to come.

A taste of things to come.

A very ornate style.

A very ornate style.

A bamboo Buddha - unusual.

A bamboo Buddha – unusual.

Inside. The people on the left are looking at the Buddha's footprint.

Inside. The people on the left are looking at the Buddha’s footprint.

That's me.

That’s me.

Gaun fits in better.

Gaun fits in better.

The ornateness is carried into the roof structure.

The ornateness is carried into the roof structure.

You will often see the green Buddha image in Thailand temples. Called Phra Kaew or Emerald Buddha, the original is on show at Wat Phra Si Rattanasasadaram in Bangkok.

You will often see the green Buddha image in Thailand temples. Called Phra Kaew or Emerald Buddha, the original is on show at Wat Phra Si Rattanasasadaram in Bangkok. More info HERE

Internal detail.

Internal detail.

I try to get a window photo in each temple.

I try to get a window photo for each temple I visit. I love the play of light and shade.

I am always pleased to be reminded that Thai temples are “used” spaces for the people here and not just dead pieces of architecture. A large family had turned up while we were there and had engaged a monk to perform a blessing for them.

The monk getting ready.

The monk getting ready.

He is reading through the donation envelopes making sure he gets the names of the people written on them. Gaun does this for her father who died when she was five.

He is reading through the donation envelopes making sure he gets the names of the people written on them right. Gaun does this envelope donation ritual sometimes for her father who died when she was five.

A more detailed look at the outside.

A more detailed look at the outside.

I prefer a plainer style but this is impressive.

I prefer a plainer style but this is impressive.

Intertwined snakes.

Intertwined Naga a snakes/dragon looking combination.

The Naga or snake sculpture.

The closest Gaun ever wants to get to a snake.

The Buddha.

The Buddha.

A mini-Buddhist.

A mini-Buddhist.

Ready to roll.

Ready to roll.

It was after 5.00 pm by the time we headed back home. These cows had obviously had a hard day eating.

Traffic hazard.

Traffic hazard.

A great way to spend a day and now on my visitor list of options.

GPS: N19 01.093  E098 45.808 in case you miss the concrete monk!

Thanks for reading.