Wat Phra Phutthabat
One of the most important places for devout Buddhists to visit in Central Thailand is Wat Phra Phutthabat, which means "Buddha Footprint". You will not be disappointed if you make the trip to this beautiful square-shaped pavilion ('mondop') set on a hillside with the mountains as the backdrop. It has a seven-tiered Khmer-style roof, with each tier covered with green glazed tiles and decorated with miniature gables. Entrance to the pavilion is by way of an ornate staircase, bordered by nagas (sea serpents), which leads up to a marble platform where the enormous pavilion doors are inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Inside, The stunning pavilion houses the two-metre stone footprint, which is sheltered under a canopy, and is mostly obscured by layers of gold leaf and money which has been thrown there over the years by Thais making merit. The red-coloured pillars supporting the structure are inlaid with thousands of slivers of multi-coloured glass. It is quite an incredible sight. Once you have had your fill of the ornate interior, try climbing the hill behind the pavilion which is covered with individual shrines. From here you can get a delightful view of the gilded roofs of the building as well as the mountain beyond, a perfect place for taking photos. According to legend, the footprint was first discovered in 1623 by a hunter, after Lord Buddha had passed through Thailand and left his footprint here. It's believed that there are five footprints of Buddha in different places and that worshiping them will bring you good things. Originally built in 1624 during the reign of King Songtam, it was subsequently destroyed by the Burmese in 1765, but has been restored many times through the ages and the present building dates back to the Bangkok period. Wander around the temple compound and you will come across the Phra Phutthabat National Museum, which displays artefacts and artwork from the King Songtham era. However it is only open during the temple fair which is held twice a year, and the dates vary as they follow the lunar calendar. On your way out stop by the souvenir village near the temple, which also has plenty of food stalls. Entry: Foreigners 30B Open: Everyday Getting Here: To get there from Lopburi, you can take any Saraburi-bound bus, and get off at 14 km road marker, where you will see a Bangkok Bank on your left and a huge white archway on your right. It is a short walk from the archway to the front of the pavilion staircase.