Wat Phrathat Chom Kitti

Ordination Hall
The ubosot (ordination hall) of Wat Chom Chaeng

At the top of a hill a short distance from the northwest corner of Chiang Saen is the temple of Wat Phrathat Chom Kitti. The temple, and in particular its chedi, is thought to pre-date the founding of Chiang Saen.

You can reach the the temple via a stairway of 350 steps from the main road at the base of the mountain, or you can be lazy and drive up. Either way, look out for the many statues seemingly placed randomly in the forest of teak trees which cover the mountain. Many formal gateways mark the stairway up.

The temple was practically in ruins until recently. It has been re-consecrated with a new wiharn (prayer hall or chapel) and made a royal temple. There are actually two temples on two levels of the mountain-top. At the lower level is Wat Chom Chaeng, with a small ancient brick pagoda and a relatively modern ubosot (ordination hall).

The ancient pagoda of Wat Phrathat Chom Kitti

The ubosot is a beautiful example of the Chiang Saen style, with an intricately detailed gable. The platform of the chapel affords a great view of Chiang Saen and the Mekhong River. Inside is a large Buddha imagesitting under an artificial Bodhi tree.

You reach the big chedi of Wat Phrathat Chom Kitti on the upper level by climbing a naga stairway up to the platform of the pagoda, which also holds a rather make-shift chapel. The chedi sits on a square base with standing Buddha images in niches on each of the four sides. Although a lot of the decorative elements have broken off, the Buddhas retain some rather interesting features.

At the base of the hill on which Wat Phrathat Chom Kitti sits there is a sacred well said to have curative powers. The well is a short way off the main road. It's watched over by a large contemporary Buddha image. Note that women are not supposed to go near the well.