Wat Tham Pha Chom Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand
Wat Tham Pha Chom boasts the highest temple of Thailand. Its calm and tranquility makes a great reputation as the Dhamma retreat center and meditation practice workshops. The temple is located on the Thai-Burmese borderline near Wat Phra That Doi Wao and Mae Sai market, where jaded jewelries and other gems from Burma are sold. The temple stands on Doi Nang Non in the embrace of staggered mountain ranges. A bird’s-eye view shows the circular line of mountain ranges that resembles a dragon framing the temple and nearby houses. According to the Chinese belief of Feng Shui, such alignment is considered an excellent one.
Originally, there were no structures or buildings around this area. It was thus extremely quiet and placid, until Buddhist fellows offered a piece of land to build a temple. Currently, Luangpho Wichai Khemiyo, monks and nuns are responsible for the temple. “Tham Pha Chom” has been given the name like this because parts of the cave is flooded by Mae Sai river. Inside the cave, there are 2 holy Buddha images: one is a reclining Buddha and the other is Luangpho Sai Rung. Both images are so beautiful and sacred that candles and incenses have never been put out because crowds of people keep coming there to pay homage.
In addition, there is a museum exhibiting a large collection of the holy relics of the Lord Buddha, ashes and hair of highly influential Thai Buddhist monks, as well as, some ancient pottery wares. Due to its shady, verdant, peaceful and clean environment, the temple became a perfect place for meditation. Subsequently, the Ministry of Education founded a Dhamma teaching and mediation practice center for public to commemorate His Majesty the King. The center is open daily from 9.00 – 18.00.
How to get there:
An access to the temple is very easy. When approaching the crossing bridge to Burma, look left and you will find an inclining street with a sign post guiding to Wat Tham Pha Chom. Drive down that street for only 2 minutes and you should read the destination. Alternatively, there are motor-tricycle (10 baht) or motorbike taxi services.