Wat Pha Sorn Kaew: Thailand’s Best Temple

Wat Pha Sorn Kaew; statue up-close

Nestled in a remote corner of the Phetchabun mountain range, Wat Pha Sorn Kaew emerges as a captivating Buddhist sanctuary, seemingly inspired by the enchanting landscapes of Shangri-La. This temple presents a unique and serene ambiance, boasting a mesmerizing design that effortlessly blends the grace of Catalan modernism with the profound essence of Indochinese Buddhist architecture.

Among its many enchanting features, Wat Pha Sorn Kaew’s most arresting sight is the magnificent Five Buddha Shrine Hall, an awe-inspiring spiritual work of art. Cloaked in a veil of mist and fog, this shrine hall casts a mystical aura, enveloping visitors in a sense of divine wonder from the early hours until dusk.

The grandeur of the Five Buddha Shrine Hall unveils the visionary design of  Master Amnart Opaso, the revered founder of Wat Pha Sorn Kaew. This majestic hall stands as a profound tribute to the traditional five Buddhas who graced the Earth, while also serving as a meritorious gift in honor of King Bhumibol Adulyadej on his momentous 85th birthday. 

The amalgamation of spiritual significance and royal reverence is beautifully etched into the very foundation of this extraordinary shrine, making it a cherished landmark of cultural and religious significance.

The shrine hall which was completed in 2004, rises 7-stories tall, reaching an impressive height of approximately 45 meters (148 ft). Standing in its magnificent presence, one cannot help but feel a sense of awe and grandeur. However, what truly sets this shrine apart is the harmonious fusion of artistic stylization in the depictions of the Buddhas and the intricate artwork adorning its surroundings.

Within the sacred confines of the Five Buddha Shrine Hall, a reclining Buddha awaits visitors amongst an open space, where monastic practitioners regularly conduct religious ceremonies or immerse themselves in mindful meditation.

For all other Buddhists who seek to partake in the essence of devotion, resident monks graciously extend their presence, guiding and facilitating merit-making ceremonies.

Beyond the grandeur that Wat Pha Sorn Kaew exudes, what sets this temple apart and etches it into the hearts of its visitors is its extraordinary use of geometric story depictions, adorned with an almost obsessive focus on intricate details. Each element of the temple’s artistic narrative tells a tale of profound significance, inviting all who wander through its spiritual halls to unravel the secrets hidden within.

From the subtle contours of sacred symbols to the meticulously crafted motifs, every stroke of artistry seems to resonate with a deeper meaning. 

Every inch of the temple’s walls, archways, and floors is adorned with a breathtaking display of vivid artworks, showcasing a mesmerizing array of Dhamma-inspired puzzles and mosaics. In total, over 5 million pieces of stones, gems, pottery shards, and tiles have been meticulously assembled to breathe life into these celestial-inspired ornamental designs, creating an ethereal kaleidoscope of colors and patterns.

What makes this artistic wonder even more astounding is the fact that no two designs are alike. Each creation boasts its own unique symphony of colors and shapes, skillfully arranged to reflect the teachings of Dhamma and the interconnectedness of the universe.


Wat Pha Sorn Kaew holds a distinguished status as a renowned pilgrimage site. Each day, monks from all corners of Thailand embark on their spiritual journey to the temple grounds, seeking to deepen their understanding and practice of sacred Buddhist traditions. 

Within this sanctuary, they engage in meditative contemplation, partake in ancient rituals, and immerse themselves in the teachings of Buddha.

The pilgrimage monks tend to frequent the temple’s open-air stupas  to engage in spiritual practices. With a hallowed air surrounding them, these monks chant mantras in the ancient Pali language – a sacred and classical Indian tongue still studied by Theravada Buddhist practitioners in Thailand.

The soothing rhythm of their holy chants in Pali resonates with the essence of timelessness, connecting the present with the wisdom of the ages past.

In our humble opinion, after visiting 200+ temples across the country, we can respectfully claim that Wat Pha Sorn Kaew is Thailand’s most beautiful temple

We understand that this temple isn’t perfectly symmetrical like Wat Arun in Bangkok or traditionally pure like Wat Somdet in Phu Ruea. With its imperfections in mind, there’s just something about this temple that stays etched in your memory – it’s uniqueness is hard to forget and reminiscing about it always brings up feelings of nostalgia – it’s just truly special.

What are your thoughts? Do you find this temple as beautiful as we do? Let us know via our contact page.

Wat Pha Sorn Kaew Guide

Actionable Information

Where To Stay in Phetchabun: We recommend staying deeper into the Khao Kho district (about 45 minutes away by car) as there’s not many attractions nearby Wat Pha Sorn Kaew. Staying here will give you more options, in terms of activities and food. Check out Krin Resort for a nice and wallet-friendly hotel or Black Diamond Camping for more of a luxury stay. 

When To Visit Wat Pha Sorn Kaew: The temple is worth visiting year-round, but the best experience will be during the cold season (November – February). The temple is open 7 days a week, from 8:00am to 5:00pm. It’s also worth noting that you don’t need a guide and there’s no entrance fee – however, donations to the temple grounds are always welcomed.

How To Get To Wat Pha Sorn Kaew: given the temple’s remote location, you’ll need a car or motorbike to visit – it’s a ~5 hour drive from Bangkok and ~1.5 hour drive from Phitsanulok. Alternatively, private taxis from Phetchabun town can be easily arranged (prices are arbitrary), if you arrive by bus from any major Thai city.

Tip #1: There are several coffee shops and small restaurants adjacent to the temple’s parking lot. We highly recommend stopping at one for some food or a brew, as the shops have a panoramic view that overlook the rolling hills and deep valleys of the mountain range below.  

Tip #2: When visiting the temple grounds as well as the chedi, please behave and dress appropriately – refrain from making loud noises and wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants. 

Interactive Map

The Temple's Location

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