Wat Pha Nam Thip Thep Prasit Wanaram appears in the northeastern Thailand (Isaan) countryside seemingly out of nowhere. The journey here is scarce by tourists. The wat is located in the eastern part of the Roi Et province. The temple sits atop a hill. Surrounding below are rural villages and forests. The site contains one of Thailand’s largest chedis, Phra Mahachedi Chai Mongkhon. This chedi stands in the center with eight smaller chedis placed in each direction. The site is vast with lots to explore. Wat Pha Nam Thip is a must see if you plan to travel in Roi Et. You may also want to visit nearby Waterfall Cave Soda.
Several vendors sell food and drinks at the bottom of the hill that you may buy before or after your travel to the temple. While the walk up the hill is steep, it is at least rather short. Admission, like most Thailand temples, is free. Restrooms are also present although they are in the Isaan style. This means no lever exists for flushing. Water sits beside the toilet. You pour the water into the toilet and it will be flushed by gravity.
Once your journey up the hill is complete, the first sight will be a wall lined with many golden colored Buddhas. The temple gardens are very well landscaped and maintained. Shrubs, trees, and flowers all add to the beauty of the garden. Coins fill the bottom of a water fountain where you may also throw one in to make a wish. A Buddha statue overlooks a small canal filled with water lilies as well.
The entirety of Wat Pha Nam Thip is colored white and decorated with gold colored designs. A meeting hall lays on the ground floor as you first enter the large chedi in the center of the site. The space inside is wide and very open. Phra Mahachedi Chai Mongkhon chedi is built of 6 floors, each adorned with golden designs. The entire chedi looks fit for royalty. It is easy to see why this is the pride of Roi Et province and the Isaan people here. Continuing up to the higher floors you will see beautiful artwork filled with an array of different bold colors. A giant and regal chandelier also hovers overhead in the center of the chedi. By this time you have already begun to feel the journey was well worth the time.
Construction is ongoing at the top floor. I was still able to take a peep though. The second highest floor is where you can step outside the chedi at this point. A wide, marbled platform stands here for complete 360 degree viewing of the entire area. Look out and down for a spectacular view of the gardens from a different angle. The views of the surrounding rural area are amazing. A camera is a must. Relax and enjoy the breathtaking views before the journey back down all of the stairs. An alternate route also exists to leave the temple that leads you along a bricked wall. My party decided to leave Wat Pha Nam Thip along this path. The wall also offers wonderful views of the Isaan countryside.
The Department of Fine Art designed Wat Pha Nam Thip in Roi Et province. Those who travel Thailand and are familiar with other Buddhist temples will recognize this fact as the style of this temple is more contemporary. The artwork inside is some of the best in Thailand. While it is a newer temple only first constructed in the 90’s, the large chedi does house relics of the Buddha. The relics were received form the country of Sri Lanka. Therefore, this temple is very sacred to the people.
This wat is one of my favorite in all of Thailand. The first reason is due to it location in Roi Et province where my wife and her family call home. Secondly, because it is the temple where we came to make merit on our wedding day. Finally, the vast size of the site and the beautiful gardens lets one explore the area for a great amount of time. You can travel here and make half of a day of it.
This Roi Et temple does not get the many tourists that places in Bangkok or Ayutthaya do since it is so deep in Isaan territory. However, that’s almost a blessing. It will be worth the visit if you enjoy a more peaceful atmosphere. Along with this temple, there is much to do if you are an outdoors person and enjoy nature. Sites like the aforementioned Water Soda Cave as well as Huay Poong Yai Reservoir are within driving distance. The border to southern Laos is also very close if you wish to visit another country. Due to the more famous places in Thailand like Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya, travelers often overlook rural Isaan. However, one will also want to consider a journey to Roi Et.