One of the oldest and unique temples
Build in the late 13th century probably by King Mengrai, Wat Umong or otherwise known as the “tunnel temple” is one of the most unusual, oldest and unique temples in the region and when you are in Chiang Mai, a visit to this temple should be in the top five of your bucket list.
Situated in the foothills of Doi Suthep, the serene and tranquil forested temple grounds are an excellent place to practice meditation, there is a small fishing pond and nature park on the premises where you can relax, feed the fish and other wildlife and there are plenty of private places suitable for meditation without being disturbed by passing by visitors to the temple. The story goes that Wat Umong temple was built for forest monks coming from Sri Lanka and the tunnels to keep a famous and rather eccentric monk from wandering off in the forest.
Many of the statues and Buddha relics are left behind by visitors and monks
Climbing the stairs on the left side of the tunnels entrance to the top of the mound stands a bell-shaped, circular Chedi which is a conical shaped Buddhist Stupa build on a raised square base, following the trail to the other side you will see an intriguing and ghastly black statue of a fasting Buddha proving that the path to nirvana is not an easy task to accomplish.
The tunnels used to have one of the oldest murals in Thailand depicting the life of the Buddha, but these, unfortunately, seem to have disappeared over time or are today hardly visible. Many of the statues and Buddha relics you see, scattered in front of the temple are left behind by visitors and monks who either found them or want to replace there old relics with new ones (it is of course forbidden to throw images of Buddha away) and this tradition of leaving old statues behind still carry’s on today.
Wat Umong temple accommodates both Thais and foreigners who like to participate in Vipassana meditation courses. These courses are well known and highly recommended for those who seek tranquility and peace and want to become one with nature and themselves.
Because of the beauty and history of Wat Umong temple
It is however not the case that one can practice meditation at their own paste, the schedule from the temple must be followed and is relatively speaking quite strict, you will have to wake up at 4.30am to after your first morning meditation do chores like cleaning, sweeping and maintaining the overall temple grounds and at the end of the day and your daily routine of cleaning and meditating, it’s lights out at 9.30pm.
Because of the beauty and history of Wat Umong temple, for those of you who want to practice or learn about meditation, this can be a unique and maybe once in a lifetime experience.
Soi Ban Ma Lang Mo 1
Suthep, Chiang Mai 50200
Schedule of practice:
04.30 am. Wake up
05.00-07.00 am. Practice meditation (self-training)
07.00-07.20 am. Cleaning, sweeping the temple grounds.
07.30-08.00 am. Breakfast
09.00-11.00 am. Meditation instruction (self-training)
11.00-12.00 am. Lunchtime
12.00-02.00 pm. Break time
02.00-03.30 pm. Self-training
04.00-05.00 pm. Cleaning
07.00-08.00 pm. Meditation instruction (self-training)
09.30 pm. Bedtime
Transport to Wat Umong temple:
To get to Wat Umong temple with your own means of transport go up to Suthep road and take Suthep rd. soi 4, follow this soi for about 2 kilometers till you see the Wat U-mong sign.
For more information contact:
Tel office: 053 810 965
Mobile: 0910 718 209 or 0850 333 809
Open daily from 06.00 am till 05.00 pm