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Wat Pa Anut Taroh

Another forest wat in Nong Bua Lamphu province

Another surprise wat today. I was in a shop and noticed a poster on the wall with three abbots, two of whom I knew. When I (via Gaun) asked about the third we were given the directions to his wat, which luckily is close to Si Bun Ruang. I have driven down this road many times but the only reference to a temple is a small sign in Thai. A terrific discovery.

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Building in Thailand eBook

When my wife and I bought some land in Isaan, which is a region in the north east of Thailand, and then started to build our house I wanted to record the daily events of construction life. For twenty six weeks I wrote a weekly blog update about all the aspects of the build and included as much detail as possible for others who might be thinking of going down the same path. I was surprised by the number of readers I attracted as a result of writing on this subject, many of whom followed the entire build from beginning to end. 

Based on this continued interest I thought I would revisit my original words and bring them all together under the one heading in the form of an eBook. Included in this process has been some extensive updating and expansion of many of the original posts and the addition of the many COMMENTS, which are designed to expand your knowledge and save you time or money or both!

Read more HERE and find out how to obtain the eBook.

I am loving your book – just on my second read at the moment, to make sure that I didn’t miss anything first time around (which actually it turns out I did!).  

Just a note of thanks at this point ……. I am a fairly methodical sort of bloke, but there are many issues which your book highlights which I just wouldn’t have thought about – or if I had, I may well have assumed they were “standard” building practice [U-bends, drain positioning, barge-board alignment] – if it hadn’t been for your excellent descriptions!!  I will probably still “miss” something – that’s the nature of building/design – but thanks to you, it shouldn’t be anything too mission-critical.

The income from my eBook pays for the upkeep of this blog, which is otherwise commercially free unlike so many others.

Very unusual to find specialised parking for visitors and it gives you a clue as to the quality and money that’s been spent on this place behind the walls.

My guess at the spelling of the Thai name is Wat Pa (forest) Anu Taroh.

The inauguration stone showing that this temple is only five years old. Google Maps shows the temple from the satellite view but the street-view has an empty field.

This is the Google street-view. Things have moved on a bit since this photo was taken!

The ‘Pa’ in the name identifies this as a forest wat, which if you read my post yesterday, you’ll know are usually very well organised and maintained. This service area on the left as you walk in illustrates this disciplined approach.

Rabbits are lucky in Thailand so you will see both real and concrete versions pop up in temples. They have made a real effort on the landscaping here as you’ll see.

Ah. Gaun now wants one for the garden – well more than one I suspect as she always wants things to ‘have friend’. Concrete rabbits like Isaan people can’t be alone.

A tao (turtle) also lucky.

More work to happen on the ceiling maybe. The usual very simple Buddha hall, which you will find in most forest wats. Not a lot of timber used here but they have incorporated some.

When you watch the process of a new wat being built you’ll see nine concrete globes called ‘luk namit’ appear at some stage, which are left on display so that people can cover them in gold leaf.

They will eventually end up buried – eight of them outside at the points of the building and one inside in front of the main Buddha alter. Their location outside is marked by eight structures that look like this and are called a ‘sima’. I have never seen a sima surrounded by fake grass. This is a wat with an abbot who cares about presentation.

These are some luk namit’s at a local temple when it was being constructed.

Forest wats normally use a lot of timber in their structures but this one was pure concrete. This is the main Buddha hall.

But inside was something special. Spotless floors and an immaculate Buddha display up front behind glass. I have never seen that arrangement before. Also all these photos of monks. That is a first for me too. The floor was so clean that it shone giving some lovely reflections. 

The glass in front of the statues was the same but not so good for photographers. I have been to temples that use glass for displays and you are usually peering around the dirt to see what’s inside. Not here.

The forest wat Buddha halls are almost always open to the surrounding trees. There is a much stronger connection to nature and their Buddhist practices than you find normally find in the red, white and gold village wats.

The abbot and his eight monks were sweeping but he stopped to sit down for a chat. He looked to be about twenty – super young for an abbot of a place this standard – but must be older. Very friendly. Notice how the reflections look like water pooling on the floor.

Another illustration of everything in its place.

Outside his monks were at work. They sweep twice a day, once at 4:00 am (the abbot said if they weren’t up to do their chores they didn’t get breakfast) and again at 2:00 pm, which was when we caught them. The paths were completely free of leaves.

You can tell if a wat has money by the quality of their water tanks! I can’t afford these ones  The same number on the other side of this building.

Each monk have their own small accommodation scattered throughout the large grounds. This is the entrance to one of them.


A vast amount of newly laid concrete means that there is easy access to the entire area within the walls. It is rare to see this level of detail. Very expensive at this scale.

Another monk house. The path is for walking mediation. You will often see them in forest wats.

The most extensive sprinkler system I have seen in private use in Thailand. It is a huge area and the watering covered it all. I have painted all the watering system in our garden green and I should make a donation of paint here so they can do the same! We are in ‘winter’ here so the trees were pretty bare. Much better in a few months once the wet season starts.

Walking back past the Buddha hall and the monks had moved inside to mop the floor, which was already spotless. It’s not only the activity but the attitude of mind when doing the activity that makes this part of the discipline for them.

And here is the abbot doing his bit. I wish my stainless steel front gate was as well maintained. I presume they do this twice a day. The tattoos are Buddhist images and scripts. You will see them around quite often.

This must rate one the list for the best maintained and cleanest wat in Thailand. I so enjoyed not only the serene and peaceful environment but the orderliness and presentation. It was that which contributed as much to my visit as the buildings themselves. A real credit to the abbot and his monks.

You will find this wat HERE on Google Maps: 

Thank you for reading and please leave a comment. It’s the only payment I ask for.



  1. Mark

    G’day Tony, Thanks for the story and pics. This Wat does look good and well tended. I have mainly been to old and unkept wat’s with my partner, for myself I have to remember that they aren’t a tourist attraction. Most things outside of my own culture are usually viewed as an attraction.
    I would of preferred to see more wood and less timber in this wat, it is something I would expect of a forrest Wat. But then again is a forest Wat supposed to be more environmentally friendly and so therefore use less wood? I’m glad I’m going to work soon and not bed as I’m sure this question will keep me thinking and awake. lol

    all the best


    • Tony in Thailand

      You will tend to get a better presented wat if you pick one with the Pa/Pha in the name being a forest temple. The monks include a maintenance and cleaning discipline in their practices. The village temples are often pretty ordinary in the way they’re looked after. The wat in my post was unusual in that the Wihan or Buddha hall was concrete. The vast majority of them use timber mostly for construction. Environmentally friendly as in do not chop down trees, is not part of the forest sangha practice, although living simply is:

      Although Ajahn Chah passed away in 1992, the training which he established is still carried on at Wat Nong Pah Pong and its branch monasteries, of which there are currently more than two hundred in Thailand. Discipline is strict, enabling one to lead a simple and pure life in a harmoniously regulated community where virtue, meditation and understanding may be skillfully and continuously cultivated. There is usually group meditation twice a day and sometimes a talk by the senior teacher, but the heart of the meditation is the way of life. The monastics do manual work, dye and sew their own robes, make most of their own requisites and keep the monastery buildings and grounds in immaculate shape. They live extremely simply following the ascetic precepts of eating once a day from the almsbowl and limiting their possessions and robes. Scattered throughout the forest are individual huts where monks and nuns live and meditate in solitude, and where they practice walking meditation on cleared paths under the trees.

      I hope you got some sleep.


  2. Jim Busby

    I posted on you FB site, but like I said before I think the photos on your blog site are much more appealing (and larger). I hope the money keeps flowing to this wat to keep it up. Unlike many other wats, only supported when it’s, the new wat on the block, only to fall into disrepair over time. That, and they don’t add more garish adornments to what is already a lovely display. Keep us updated from time to time.

    • Tony in Thailand

      I think FB greatly compresses photos published, because I actually upload in double the size to FB than the blog. I suspect that people will respect this head monk’s commitment to his wat and so hopefully the money will continue to roll in. Being very close to the town of Si Bun Ruang he has a larger population base to tap into maybe. Monks create their own ‘fan’ base and this aspect often seems to outweigh the Buddha connection. You can walk into a temple full of posters and statues of monks rather than Buddha. I will revisit in the wet season when it is greener. I itch to make merit and paint those sprinklers green 🙂


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