Tag Archives: Nan

Wat Nong Bua

Wat Nong Bua

Wat Nong Bua in Tha Wang Pha district of Nan Province was built in 1862 during the reign of King Rama V. It was built by Tai Lue craftsmen who had migrated here from Southern China. Inside the temple there are wall murals that were believed to have been painted more than one hundred years ago. Their artistic value and degree of perfection equal those at the more famous Wat Phumin.

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Wat Phumin

Wat Phumin

One of my favourite temples when I was in Northern Thailand last year was this one called Wat Phumin in Nan Province. It is not only beautiful in style but also quite unique in design. The temple, which dates back to 1596, is built in an unusual cruciform design with beautifully carved doors facing each direction. As we approached the temple we were greeted with the large head of a pair of Naga snakes. The back of the snakes are the railings. Inside we found a large seated Buddha image facing the doorway. On closer inspection, we discovered that in fact there were four Buddhas sitting back to back, each of which were facing one of the doorways. So, whichever door you entered the temple, you always faced a Buddha image. The murals on the wall, which date back to the mid 19th Century, are worth a closer look. They depict some of the stories from the Jataka, which is the story of the ten previous lives of the Lord Buddha. However, what is most fascinating about these murals is their historical value of showing the local way of life during the reign of King Rama V. Nan is one of those provinces that is tucked out of the way in the far northern corner with much of its eastern border up against Laos. You are not really passing through Nan to go anywhere else, but if you have the time, it is worth going to this area just because not many other people do. From Chiang Mai, a bus takes six to seven hours and from Bangkok they take ten to 13 hours.

Wat Phumin

Phra That Chae Haeng

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Phra That Chae Haeng, Phu Phiang, Nan Province

Year of the Rabbit: The province of Nan is just one of those places that don’t and won’t get many visitors. Mainly because it is tucked away along the border with Laos but also because it isn’t on the route to anywhere. We had driven down from Chiang Rai to Phayao on highway 1 which is a good road. We then had to cut across country to Nan which seemingly took forever as there were many hills and sharp corners. We were actually in two minds to go because a week earlier a hundred or so people had become very ill from food poisoning and some of them had to be flown to Bangkok. But, we were determined to visit Phra That Chae Haeng, which is an important pilgrimage site for people born in the Year of the Rabbit. So we just made a point of not stopping to eat anywhere.

Living in Central Thailand I had become so used to the temples there that it was easy to believe that they represented the whole of Thailand. But, as you can see from my photographs, this isn’t the case. Both the three-tiered bot and the square based golden chedi, are very different from what we have locally. And as I travelled from province to province in Northern Thailand I could see subtle differences in both architecture and materials used. Like other sacred temples, this chedi also contains relics of the Lord Buddha. But, it also has 40 gold and silver voltive tablets. The weather wasn’t really good the day we were there. There had been some rain. The golden chedi would have looked better with some direct sunlight and a dark blue sky as a backdrop. There are a few other temples in this city worth visiting as well and I will share the pictures another day.

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