Attraction Su Thep, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand Published on: 08-06-2016
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Why Wat Umong is special ?
Wat Umong (complete name: Wat Umong Suan Puthatham) is a 700-year-old Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The temple was built in 1297 by King Manglai of the Lan Na dynasty. Of particular interest is a replica of the Ashok Pillar similar to the one at Vaishali with four lions and a wheel at the base and an additional larger wheel on top that acts as an umbrella for the lions. A similar pillar is also available at Sarnath Museum. The four lion head is adopted as the National Emblem of India.
Wat Umong is unique in that the resident monks live in a very natural setting, and occasionally feed the deer that live in the area. It also is possible to practice meditation at Wat Umong and to learn from the Monks.
What to explore at Wat Umong?
Among the hundreds of Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai, the Wat Umong or “Tunnel temple” is unique because of its location in the forest and its system of tunnels. The serene and peaceful atmosphere at the 13th century forest temple near Doi Suthep mountain provides a welcome change from the much visited sites in Chiang Mai.
A number of tunnels dug out of a mound contains shrines with Buddha images, where devotees can pay their respect to the Buddha.
The large, shady temple grounds are often filled with the sounds of monks’ chanting. The temple’s setting in a forested area with a natural lake makes the Wat Umong an excellent place for meditation. The meditation center hosts meditation classes and Dhamma talks.
How to get to Wat Umong?
The Wat Umong is located just West of Chiang Mai city near Doi Suthep mountain. The temple is found about 1,500 meters South of Suthep road, just West of the Chiang Mai outer ring road.
The most comfortable way to get there is by private taxi. Most hotels can book one for you, the fare is about 250 Thai Baht one way.
Another way is by songthaew, a converted pick up truck with benches in the back. Flag down a songthaew that does not follow a fixed route (usually they are red), and negotiate a price with the driver. Fare is about 70 Baht per person, one way. A tuk tuk or samlor bicycle taxi (very slow) taking two people should cost between 100 and 150 Baht, one way.
- Less crowded, peaceful, different temple
- A place for relax. Peaceful temple
- Very nice temple and very beautiful
- Unique place with unique experience
- Peaceful experience in an old forest Wat
Su Thep, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Tips for you
Walking in the tunnels is a unique experience. Otherwise, the temple is pretty common. You'll appreciate the huge trees on a hot day.
Many temples in Chiang Mai have hundred of years unique history. Wat Umong (Temple of Tunnel) is definitely worth exploring. The temple and the main stupa is on the small hill. Under the stupa is where the tunnel is. There are plenty of literature to read about why the tunnel was built in what era of the country. The tunnel is very unique. It is used to house all Buddha images including the main one like in the ceremonial hall of any temples. Need a car for this temple because it is a little out of the city.