Wat Ahong Silawat

Northeastern Thailand

Wat Ahong Silawat, 20km west of the capital along Rte 212, is built amid ruddy boulders at a river bend known as Sàdeu Námkong (the Mekong River’s Navel) because of the whirlpools that spins here from June to September. A 7m-tall copy of Phitsanulok’s Chinnarat Buddha, located next to the simple little bòht (ordination hall), gazes over the Mekong.

This is considered a highly auspicious spot to spend the evening of wan òrk pan·săh, the end of the Buddhist Rains Retreat, because bâng fai pá·yah·nâhk (naga fireballs) were first reported here. Legend claims it's the deepest spot along the river and there are many stories about underwater caves where the naga live.