Wat Pha Lat: The Hidden Jungle Temple

Temples in Thailand

Words & Photos:
Chamlong Boonsong
Published: September 3, 2018

Wat Pha Lat is an anicent Lanna temple nestled in lush forest at the KM.5 mark on Sri Wichai Road, in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, Chiang Mai, not too far from Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.

Wat Pha Lat, Chiang Mai
Wat Pha Lat, Chiang Mai

Rather than be just another ‘tourist’ temple, the abbot of Wat Pha Lat is eager to see this temple retain its authentic atmosphere and this is something appreciated by the Thai and foreign visitors who make their way there.

The main attraction at Wat Pha Lat is the Burmese-style pagoda, which is covered in foliage year round thanks to the humid climate of the area and nearby Huai Kaew Waterfall. The temple is particularly lush and green during the rainy season.

Wat Pha Lat, Chiang Mai
Wat Pha Lat, Chiang Mai

The chapel was built in Thai Lue style, originally roofed with wild banana leaves. A hundred years later the roof was changed to clay during the time of the highly-revered Khruba Sri Wichai, a Thai Buddhist monk regarded for his significant role in northern Thai Buddhism.

At Wat Pha Lat along with the monks’ quarters, a holy well, chapel and Phrat That Chedi, is an ancient cave with many interesting items still to be officially studied.