The hidden temple of Wat Umong

Having been to many destinations surrounding Chiang Mai at the weekends, you often miss what’s right in the centre to explore. One Sunday, wanting quite a relaxing day, we sought out the unique temple of Wat Umong. Located to the west of Chiang Mai’s old town, 1km south of Chaing Mai University.

Entering the grounds, you find you drive into a small Buddhist village surrounded by Monks’ residence and a meditation centre. The grounds of the temple itself span around 15 acres of land and it really is as impressive as it sounds! Parking up and venturing up the 100 or so steps to reach Wat Umong’s famous pagoda, you’re surrounded by loads of chickens, you literally have to dodge them to continue your route! When you reach the top, you step out with a view of the biggest pagoda I have seen in the whole of Thailand!

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Exploring the surroundings of the pagoda, we noticed we were touring the temple backwards, although we weren’t the only ones, thankfully! Continuing backwards along the route you reach a set of underground tunnels leading to Buddhist shines in every corner you turn! Incredible to see and lovely to witness the respect people show to these underground shrines.IMG_8226IMG_8229 IMG_8232

The view of the land was just as incredible on the outside. There’s a whole area dedicated to Buddhist statues, most of them broken but you can tell they have been there for many many years, adding to the uniqueness of the temple. IMG_8239

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Outside you might spot a chicken climbing a tree or distinctive spiritual paintings and signs all around with inspirational words to add a bit of positivity to your life, although a few were lost in translation!

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wat umong sign

Continuing along the route, out of nowhere you find yourself at a huge lake surrounded by Chiang Mai’s amazing jungle views. There’s the option to feed fish in the lake or the hundreds of pigeons hovering around for food instead. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a tiny turtle hidden in the waters too! Lovely place to unwind and relax for a while in the heat, but only if you can avoid the inevitable bird muck landing on you that is!

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Location of Wat Umong

wat umong map

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