Phra That Lampang Luang, Ko Kha, Lampang Province
Year of the Ox: One of my favourite temples in Northern Thailand is Phra That Lampang Luang. If you are driving to Chiang Mai from Bangkok then this is an easy temple to visit. The temple is about 20 kms southwest of Lampang and off Highway 1. The main feature is, of course, the chedi which contains relics of the Lord Buddha. This is a major pilgrimage site for people born in the Year of the Ox. However, the exquisite three-tiered wooden temple buildings are just as stunning. Many of these date back to the 16th Century. The pillars supporting the roof are teak wood. If you look closely on the walls you will see some of the original mural paintings though they have faded with time. Look out for bullet holes in one of the railings around the chedi. Also of passing interest is the camera obscura – the first one I have seen in Thailand. This is housed in a small white building at the back. Close the door after you go in and in the darkness you will see an image of the chedi on a white sheet. Women are barred from this building which is also a shrine. However, one of the other temple buildings has another camera obscura which anyone can see. If you are coming here by public transport then more effort is needed. However, I think the Lanna-style architecture certainly makes this temple worth visiting.