Wat Phra That Cho Hae

Northern Thailand

Named for the cloth that worshippers wrap around it, this hilltop wát is famous for its 33m-high gilded chedi (stupa). Like Chiang Mai’s Wat Doi Suthep, it is an important pilgrimage site for Thais living in the north.

Tiered naga stairs lead to the temple compound. The interior of the bòht (chapel) is rather tackily decorated with a gilded wooden ceiling, rococo pillars and walls with lotus-bud mosaics. The Phra Jao Than Jai Buddha image here, which resembles the Phra Phuttha Chinnarat in Phitsanulok, is reputed to impart fertility to women who make offerings to it.

The temple is 9km southeast of Phrae off Rte 1022. Sŏrng·tăa·ou between Phrae and Phra That Cho Hae (20B) depart from a stop near Talat Phrae Preeda, on Th Chaw Hae, from 6am to 4.30pm; outside these hours sŏrng·tăa·ou can be chartered for 400B.

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