They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Yet, looking at Chalermprakiat Mountain Temple, a thousand questions come to mind. Where is it? How was it build? What is the meaning behind this temple? How can we walk to the top? What? Where? When?
Completed in 2015, Lampang Province’s Wat Chalermprakiat is one of Thailand’s most spectacular mountain temples. Very few people know about it, but those who come across the pictures of these misty peaks capped with white pagodas, immediately want to go.
Chalermprakiat Prajomklao Rachanusorn Temple is situated about a two and a half hours’ drive from Chiang Mai - some 80 kilometres from Lampang city. Its construction started in 2004 to celebrate 200 years since the birth of King Rama IV of Thailand. This temple offers a 360 degrees perspective over Chae Hom valley with unforgettable views of Mae Soi, Mae Mon and Mae Wang rivers. From its top, the view over Doi Pu Yak mountain is like watching a sleeping goddess.
There is no public transport to this temple so it is best to have your own -preferably a car. Before reaching the foot of the mountain, you will pass through quiet villages, following a scenic route surrounded by nature. Upon arrival at the temple’s parking area, there are a few local restaurants where you can have a coffee and some food. You will have to continue up the road with the temple’s shuttle car, as the ascent is so steep and narrow, private cars are forbidden. The shuttle costs only 100 THB for a return ticket.
Next is a 20-30 minute walk up to the pagodas. The stairways and trails, snaking their way up the forest-covered limestone mountains, give this place a magical feel. And this 800 meter climb up steep iron steps leads you to one of the most impressive places you will ever see. If you feel like it, you can grab some bricks on the way and bring them along to the top to help for future construction. Atop Chalermprakiat temple, you will be above the clouds and can enjoy an unforgettable view over the mountain and Lampang’s green landscape.
From there, there are plenty of places to explore and different views and vantage points you can get to. Take your time and move through slowly. Silence is the key word to this beautiful place where only the wind causes dozens of small bells to jingle.
After this visit, you might want to drive a few more kilometres to Chae Son National Park and check if they allow visitors. If so, it is a great place for relaxing in natural hot springs. The national Park has bungalows for an overnight stay (about 900 THB), or you can choose to camp in the national park camping space area (about 150 THB).
For a great, relaxing and close to nature weekend, Chalermprakiat Temple and Chae Sorn National Park are really top destinations to discover.