Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu

Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu
The two large chedis in the temple of Kong Mu

The temple atop Kong Mu hill, Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu, affords a spectacular view of the entire valley in which Mae Hong Son is nestled. The temple itself is notable for its two large white chedis and its typical Shan architecture.

The temple dates from around the time of the village's upgrade to a city in 1874. One of the huge chedis contains the ashes of a revered monk that were bought from Burma by two devotees. The other houses the ashes of Mae Hong Son's first governor, Phaya Singhanat Racha.

Behind the two stupas, nestled into the base of the crown of the hill, is the large rambling open-fronted wiharn containing the altar.

A steep road leads further up to the crown of the hill where the ubosot is located. In front of the ordination hall is a large slender standing Buddha image. A small chedi and several cenotaphs stand next to the ubosot. In front of the standing Buddha, a boat rowed by two monks and two lay people carries the Buddhist wheel.

The view from the top of the hill is quite spectacular. Off to one side of the road to the top is a parking area lined with souvenir stalls.

Reaching the temple on foot means taking one of two paths. From Wat Phra Non, a stairway leads halfway up the hill and then joins the other path which starts at Wat Muo Taw. This second path is a little easier, as it consists mostly of a zig-zag of ramps with only short stairways at the switch-backs. There are also covered rest stops at each corner.

If you don't feel like a climb, you can rent motorcycles or a car to drive you to the top.