Wat Pha Sorn Kaew is possibly the coolest temple I’ve ever visited in Thailand. It was completed in 2004 so it is a modern Thai temple contrasting with many of the ancient temples throughout the country. I came here while on my Epic Northern Thailand Motorcycle Journey, and it was one of my favorite stops.
The main temple, known for its series of five Buddha statues, is located on a mountain surrounded by yet higher mountains in the northern part of Phetchabun Province. The surrounding temple complex is adorned with over 5 million colorful mosaic pieces.
Getting to Wat Pha Sorn Kaew
The temple itself is located in the sub-district (tambon) Khaem Son of the district (amphoe) Khao Kho in Phetchabun province. There is no specific public transportation to this area, but it is possible to get dropped off by a bus traveling along the main road and then return by waiting for another bus at the local bus stop.
To get there by public transportation first take a bus to Phitsanulok’s provincial capital. From there, take a smaller local bus or van to Lom Sak. This is a town about 30 kilometers past the temple. Tell the driver to drop you off at either Tambon Khaem Son or Wat Pha Sorn Kaew. The first is the town where the temple is, and the second, referring to the temple, means you would likely be dropped off at the road leading up to the temple. From Phitsanulok it is possible to visit this temple in one day.
While it is possible to do this by public transportation, the road out from Phitsanulok has many different waterfalls and interesting places to visit. It could be fun to do this trip on a scooter or with a car, but compared to this final temple, the waterfalls aren’t even close. When I came here I had my own motorcycle so I drove myself, but in hindsight it would be pretty easy to get here with public transportation.
Where to Stay in Khaem Son
When I visited Khaem Son, I arrived later in the evening so I needed to find a hotel to spend the night. Most of the hotels were higher end resorts, but I did manage to find a decent room at an unlisted hotel towards the west end of town on the north side of the road. I wish I could remember the name, but the hotel was about 500 bhat a night and very clean and comfortable. It was probably the cheapest option in town.
There are also tons of restaurants on Khaem Son and even more coffee shops and eating options over by the temple.
Wat Pha Sorn Kaew
The best time to visit this temple is at sunrise. The complex is huge and when you enter, you will need to take off your shoes so try to remember which way you came in so you don’t lose them. Besides the main Buddha statues, there numerous smaller temples with beautiful mosaic tiles throughout the complex. When I was there in the morning I saw a stunning peacock strutting in front of one of the temples. I think it meant good luck for me to see a magnificent bird like this.