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Wat Pa Tate Mong Kung

A forest wat in Nong Bua Lamphu province

I have been spending too much time in the village so we headed out for a drive to visit a local wat that had been recommended to us by Gaun’s oldest sister Noi. It wasn’t a super spectacular place but better than many. I can always find photos to share so enjoy these ones.

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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.

This is something like Wat Pa (forest) Tate Mon Kung, being my interpretation of the Thai pronunciation. Show your Thai partner this script and she’ll laugh at my attempt วัดมงคลเทพนิมิต! You can find it HERE on Google Maps: 

It’ a pretty good effort seeing it sits in the middle of nowhere. The ‘Pa’ in the name means it is a wat in the Thai Buddhist forest tradition, which results in less red, white and gold and more trees. You can read more HERE.

This should be filled with water obviously but maybe they only do that for special occasions. Also with the number of leaves falling off trees this time of year pumping the water out is a good idea.

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.

My last post spoke about san phra phum, the spirit houses, and here’s one in a Buddhist temple. The spirit houses have nothing to do with Buddhism so don’t try to connect the two. Thais will pat respect to Buddhism related aspects in equal proportion to their obligations to spirits.

This one isn’t being looked after very well. It is a specially dedicated shrine, not to spirits in general but to a hermit holy man originating in India called Rishi/Ruesee (Thais pronounce him ‘Lucy’). You will see him around in many situations. He always has a long beard and usually dressed in an animal skin.

This is a shrine to Ruesee in Wat Kam Chanote, outside Udon Thani. It’s where tens of thousands of Thais go to get tips from the spirits on lottery numbers.

This temple is making an effort. More water needed as things have been planted but not looked after. Nature won’t do it this time of year. Many teak trees, which lose their leaves in ‘winter’ so it was all a bit bare.

Simple but like almost every forest wat I have been to beautifully maintained. Very different from many village (red, white and gold) wats.


See how the leaves have been swept up. This is a day chore for the monks and volunteers as it is in our garden!

Another illustration of everything in its place.

A washing-up station. The tyres are there because the begging bowls the monks use have rounded bottoms. The tyres hold them in place when they are being washed.  

Not a special photo. I took it to illustrate again how tidy these forest wats are kept. Everything swept.

A good looking house so I presume the one belongingto the abbot.

Concrete paths everywhere. Neat.

A buffalo getting a nice dried leaf from Gaun.

Caught short? If you ever need a toilet get to a temple. They always have large numbers to cater for the demand when they hold large celebration events.

Ong – Isaan waterpots. I love their shapes and colours.

These ones are real (I think). Cows in the shade as we headed home.

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



  1. Greg Carroll

    Such a contrast to Wat Pa Kittyanusorn with its opulence and delicate ornate reliefs almost overpowering one’s senses. The rustic simplicity of Wa Pa Tate Mong Kung and its well maintained grounds seems more attuned to Buddhist values.
    The ordered neatness and everything in its place adding to the overall effect of calmness and serenity – a much easier place to clear one’s mind. Much easier than Kittyanusorn, where the sheer scale of the Wat overpowers.
    Another great post Tony – keep ’em coming.

    • Tony in Thailand

      I loved Kittyanusorn as a photo wonderland, and this is why a lot of wats focus on ‘themeing’ their presentation. The social media selfie opportunity pulls in the numbers and that brings in the money, which finances more building and so it goes. For a peaceful experience to support contemplation I much prefer wats like Tate Mong Kung or even better read my post HERE if you haven’t already. I still enjoy the simplicity of a local forest wat called Pa Silawa HERE, and if I do any contemplation that’s where I tend to head.

      • Greg Carroll

        I can understand Tony. Yuri and I also enjoyed reading / viewing you post on Wat Pa Anut Taroh. As a place to quietly contemplate life in general the peaceful orderliness would make it much easier to calmly detach oneself.

        BTW, did I tell you our block of land is directly opposite Wat Sa Keaw:,103.68963286,161.11914572a,568.16876378d,35y,-0h,0t,0r
        I can foresee me getting well acquainted with the monks there. But perhaps not the crows, which thrive there in abundance under protection from the temple…

        • Tony in Thailand

          No, I didn’t know that. Many farang reject any interaction with temples but for me and you it is a part of the Thai scene and I love the environment of the forest wats on the whole. I don’t see how one can become involved in the full range of village activities unless you adopt a degree of acceptance of the Buddhist side of life here.

          Nice to see your (not too distant) future homesite.

  2. Hans U. Ruediger

    Hi Tony and belated Happy New Year 2020 to you and your family.

    I just returned from a short visit with my son Hans in Malacca, Malaysia. He is there teaching some courses to the local coast guard. Malacca turned out to be an unexpectedly great place to visit, very historical and very picturesque, especially along the river walks and among the colonial architecture.

    Great to come home and find more of your stories to peruse. Your pictures of beautifully maintained and kept Wat Patete Mong Kung reminded me of my first over-all impression of Malaysia as a largely Muslim, but extraordinarily tolerant of other religions, country, where cleanliness apparently goes hand in hand with godliness (Allah’s version).

    South Country Greetings,

    • Tony in Thailand

      And the same best wishes for 2020 back to you Hans. How nice to hear from you.

      Based on your comment about Malacca, I Googled for images and it does look very picturesque. It is an aspect I miss in Thailand where streetscapes are universally ugly in my opinion. I can’t think of many instances where I would bother to raise my camera to take a photo of a street in Thailand. I have got used to the ugliness after nearly seven years. My eyes glaze over and it doesn’t register. Oh well, you can’t have everything and I wouldn’t swap my lifestyle for a better view 🙂

      I wish all countries were as tolerant as Thailand is towards religions.

      A real pleasure to hear from you and know you are still interested in the everyday stories from our part of the world.


  3. Jim Busby

    I think this wat has potential. You sort of caught them in the down part of the season with little to no rain, it looks a little bleak, but may spring to life later in the year. A sort of wintertime look with no leaves on the trees, or greenery without water, but then again Thailand is in a drought, so maybe they are just doing their part for the country. That’s a lot of work to rake, or sweep all those leaves every day.

    • Tony in Thailand

      Yes Jim. Everywhere is very non-tropical this time of year! I hope they keep the plants going until the theoretical wet season arrives, although they are predicting a late start in June. Last year for us it never started. The raking is a mediation exercise so part of the learning process not just a job. I spent time in ashrams in my youth and we did the same thing with the same focus. With the number of leaves we get I feel like I am back there every day 🙂

  4. Jenny

    I think, if I were a monk, I’d far prefer living at a Wat like this one instead of a city one. How serene.

    • Tony in Thailand

      I agree Jenny. I have written another wat post today and this was even better. You can find it HERE

  5. Atlas

    Hey mate,

    Thought you had dissapeared… Have not had any email alerts for ages, then today I got about 3… Looking forward to reading your updates 🙂

    • Tony in Thailand

      Great to hear from another regular reader. Yes, I have had a break from updating the blog but am back into it again and doing a lot of reorganising to make it more accessible. Lots of new stories as well. I haven’t stopped writing them just in different forums.



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