This post is another of what will be a series of stories about the various places we have visited in Isaan in an attempt to more widely promote the often hidden attractions that do exist here, although not in the numbers that you find in the more popular destinations like the North of Thailand around Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. When you compare the 21 attractions listed on Trip Advisor for Udon Thani, our closest city, with say Chiang Mai with 559 you can understand the challenge I face!

Previous entries can be found as follows – Phu Foilom Park HERE, Ubol Ratana Lake HERE and Phu Phrabat Historical Park HERE.

Our visit to Wat Tham Klong Pane was an obvious one to make as it is just off Route 210, which is the main road between us and Udon Thani. With a trip to Udon planned for yet more supplies to keep our house building project happening, which you can read about it HERE, a detour to see the temple was on the agenda to add some culture to our day!

If you are in the area and looking for a temple with a difference then put this one on your to do list.

The wat in relation to the 210.

The Wat in relation to the 210.

The Wat is signposted with an entry road on the left coming from Udon just before a large roadside market with a solid line of red traffic cones down the middle. Shortly after this the 210 heads into the hills, which drops down into Nong Bua Lamphu. If you get this far you’ve missed the turning! On a Garmin GPS the coordinates are N 17 13.797 E 102 31.793. The turn looks like this:

The turn. A large field of sunflowers on the left in January.

The turn. A large field of sunflowers on the left in January, which is a pretty time-limited hint.

This road takes you through a couple of Moo Baans before ending up at the entrance of the Wat, which isn’t signposted in English. The road takes a sharp turn to the left and you will see the Wat entry straight ahead.

The entrance. Drive in.

The entrance. Drive in.

Some background.

Some background. Once again thoughtfully translated into English.

This Wat is a collection of buildings and shrines spread over a large area, many of them built around or incorporating the some of the huge rocks that litter this area. It is best to have your own transport to see all the parts of this temple as it is quite a distance between some of them. The main centre is the first developed area you will come to. Make sure you follow the path around the back of the large Buddha temple area to see the smaller places set in trees and rocks. They are more interesting than the main building.

Inside the main temple area.

Inside the main temple area.

Beautiful trees attached to the stone walls.

Beautiful trees you’ll find on one of the back paths.

A small intimate temple.

A small intimate temple.

A great explore through the rocks.

A pleasant walk.

Add your own stones for good luck.

Add your own stones for good luck.

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Obviously no earthquakes here recently unlike Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai.

Gaun thought these might be dinosaur bones! Maybe not.

Gaun thought these might be dinosaur bones! Maybe just a very large monk. The water bottle isn’t trash it is an offering.

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Finding the light. Maybe a spiritual metaphor.

I much preferred this smaller temple area to the main one.

I much preferred this smaller temple area to the main one. It was less cluttered.

Lovely play of light and shade. Very Buddhist.

Lovely play of light and shade. Very Buddhist.

Gaun paying her respects. One forgets sometimes that these are not just photo opportunities but places of reverence for Buddhists.

Gaun paying her respects. One forgets sometimes that these are not just photo opportunities but places of reverence for Buddhists.

Back in the car take the next turn on the right, which leads you to a small parking area at the back of the paths you have just been wandering. Here you will find a Buddha set into the rock and a Chinese burial area perched on the top of rocks.

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Looking from ground level up to the burial site.

Looking from ground level up to the burial site.

From the same level.

This must have been quite an undertaking at some stage.

This must have been quite an undertaking to build.

A single tomb monument. Obviously an important person.

A single tomb monument. Obviously an important person. I would suspect that there would have been a decent donation made to get such a large piece of this clifftop location.

You will see several small monk dwellings on top of large rocks in the complex. Certainly getting away from it all.

You will see several small monk dwellings on top of or under large rocks in the temple complex like this one. Certainly getting away from it all.

The main road leading to the back of the temple site.

Remember this is the dry cool season here and nothing like the lushness you'll see if you come here later in the year.

Remember this is the dry cool season here and nothing like the lushness you’ll see if you come here later in the year. You can see dead leaves on the road.

Here you will find two buildings or what are termed museums, established in memory to Luang Poo Khao, as described below:

Some background.

The first one you come to is the “wax museum” and then right at the back of the property where the road loops round, the second building.

The museum replicating the local rocks.

The entry to the museum.

The three domes as described above.

The three domes as described above.

Inside.

Inside.

If you walk across the road from this building there are a several other areas to look at and a small lake.

The will to survive no matter what location.

The will to survive no matter what location. Rock and tree almost become one.

A female monk in white making an offering at this statue.

A female monk in white making an offering at this statue.

Another of those small living quarters built into the rock face.

Another of those small living quarters built into the rock face. Personally I wouldn’t sleep well with that overhang above my head but it’s probably been there a while!

A weir forming a small lake. Heaps of fish.

A weir forming a small lake. Heaps of fish.

The second museum is the most impressive.

The burial place of

Me in front of the burial place of Luang Poo Khao.

Some background for Luang Poo Khao.

Some background for Luang Poo Khao. He was at this Wat for 25 years.

A closer view of the museum.

A closer view of the museum.

And a closer view of the guardian elephants..

And a closer view of the guardian elephants..

Inside.

Inside. Those alcoves you can see to either side of the statue hold various items relating to the monk and have English translations.

Luang Poo Khao

Luang Poo Khao.

Back in the carpark you will see a useful map of the area showing some of the other sites in the Udon Thani/Nong Bua Lamphu area. It’s a little sparse on attractions but we’ll cover a couple of them in future posts.

A useful map of the area showing some of the other sites in the Udon Thani area.

A rather impressive display considering the unfortunate lack of major attractions in the area. Full marks for effort though.

If visiting this Wat give yourself a couple of hours to explore it all. I particularly enjoyed the fact that you couldn’t see it all in the one view, as you do with many temples, but had to go and discover the hidden treasures buried away in rocks and trees.

Thanks for reading.