of Wat Tha Ton
Many people consider a visit to Wat Tha Ton to be the highlight of their stay in Tha Ton. It’s a stunning hilltop Buddhist Temple complex, with its temple grounds covering an area of over 160 acres of mountainous, wooded terrain. The temple is spread over nine levels, with a 'station' at each level. As you ascend past each station, you encounter ever-changing views, along with an astonishing and diverse collection of Buddha Images, shrines and other statues. The culmination of your labours will be the spectacular views at level nine at the top of the hill. The climb from the foot of the hill to the top is quite taxing. If you don’t fancy the whole climb, you can take a car or a motorbike as far as the car park at level five, and walk from there. On your way up to Level 1, you will pass through some rock gardens and Chinese-style pavilions overlooking the Krok River. This station also contains the Abbott's offices, a school for Buddha novices, and a pretty good coffee shop. At each level, you will find a big Buddha image or a stupa, and of the four largest Buddhas you will see on the way up, two are in the Thai style and two Chinese. Level 4 has a meditation centre, where they teach meditation but only in the Thai language. Level five is dominated by the Chedi Kaew Pagoda, which contains an amazing and colourful collection of statues and Buddha images in every kind of architectural style, including Chinese. At level 8 you will find a large chedi and several statues and then you must take a 2km walk along a forest footpath to Level 9. Here you will seea huge standing Buddha Image, over 10m tall. Although there are great views at each level as you ascend, naturally the best views are from the top, where there is a gorgeous panoramic view of the Kwok river valley in addition to the Shan State of Burma- less than 1km to the north. You can easily spend a whole day exploring this unique temple and its grounds, which also contains a drug rehabilitation centre and a hill tribe support centre. Open: 8:00am - 5:00pm Tel: +66 3459468, +66 53459309 Address: Tambon Thaton, Amphoe Mae Ai, Chiang Mai, 50280 Getting Here: Access by foot is just to the west of the bridge while the road is another 100 metres further on.