Wat Umong ‘Have you ever been to a forest monastery before?’

wat umong, umong temple, important temples in chiang mai, attraction temples in chiang mai

You may have seen many temples before, but you may have never seen a real forest monastery. What is a forest monastery anyway? Of course, the meaning is its name. It is a monestary (or a temple) located within a forest area. Therefore the atmosphere is extremely quiet and peaceful. This is perfect for Dhamma practicing of Buddhist monks. 

If youre the one who have seen many styles of temples, except for forest monasteries. Then why dont you give yourself a chance? Why dont you go to some? Why dont you proof the beauty of them? If youre gonna say Yes! I will go, but I dont know where to go., thats OK! Because here is a forest monastery that you will like. Try this one.

wat umong, umong temple, important temples in chiang mai, attraction temples in chiang mai
wat umong, umong temple, important temples in chiang mai, attraction temples in chiang mai

Wat Umong is located in Chiang Mai Province, Thailand. It is, of course, one of the eldest temples in Chiang Mai. Do you believe that it is 700 years old already?!

It is widely know among Dhamma practicers. The whole area is surrounded with greenery environment. You will not believe your eyes, but this is real! Most temples you’ve seen are usually built in concrete or on cement floor, but not this one! This one, Wat Umong, as soon as you arrive, you will feel completely different. You will never expect a temple with a bunch of green trees, a cool stream, a fish pond or a natural wooden bridge.

In fact, if you’ve seen the Thai movie ‘Phobia 2 : Part ‘Novice’, you should have seen how a forest monastary is. The novice in the film, Pae, was sent by his mother to be ordained at a forest monastery in some far away suburban area. And the whole monastery is surround with wood area. There are even trees and mountains more than the architectures of the monastery, just like Wat Umong.

wat umong, umong temple, important temples in chiang mai, attraction temples in chiang mai
wat umong, umong temple, important temples in chiang mai, attraction temples in chiang mai

The word ‘umong’, in english means ‘a tunnel’. That’s right. This temple consists of many tunnels. In the past, Phaya Kue Na built these tunnels, in order to be used as Dhamma practicing places for Phra Mahathera Chan. The tunnels are long wall holes, all of them are connected to each other. You can walk from one to another one. Inside the tunnels, there are stunning ancient murals, mostly lotuses or some kind of animals. Ubove the tunnels, there is a historic Chedi, which is believed by archeologists to be built around the beginning of 20th Buddhist era. This Chedi is in a bell-like shape. It has 3 layers like a flower.

Absolutely, you will find the head of a Lord Buddha’s statue in front of the tunnels.

The tunnels are made of natural rocks. They are quite dark inside, but not too much. There are a few lights on. Don’t worry about tripping over. But you still have to walk carefully anyway. Don’t run. Don’t teas your friends. Don’t shout too.

Normally, there are quite enough tourists visit the temple daily. But on holidays, more people go up to the temple to make merit.

wat umong, umong temple, important temples in chiang mai, attraction temples in chiang mai
wat umong, umong temple, important temples in chiang mai, attraction temples in chiang mai

Feel free to go any time you want. If you’re interested in Dhamma practicing, you may contact the temple via its website www.watumong.org to ask for further details.

Or you can just walk in to change your atmosphere, inhaling sweet smell of the air and relaxing stress with trees and water.

How to get there

Wat Umong is located in Suthep District, Muang County of Chiang Mai.

You may want to try your own car first. Start from Ton Payom Market, drive along Suthep Road. Then go through the Irrigation Canal Intersection, just 500 metres away from right behind Chiang Mai University. Then turn left for another 2 kilometres.

Or you can grab a red truck directly from Chiang Mai downtown too. The travel fees are between 30-50 Baht. If you plan to stay not so long at the temple, you should rent a whole red truck for yourself, in order to give you a ride on the way back, because the temple is in a quite-deep block.

Catmosphere Cat Cafe

Catmosphere Cat Cafe

Places Nearby

This ancient monument under Fine Art Department is the common Royal Temple of Third Class under Maha Nikaya subschool. Wat Suan Dok was earlier a flower garden of Mangrai royal family before an order to establish the royal temple on the land by King Kue Na, the sixth king of Mangrai Dynasty in 1371 (1914 B.E.). The building was determined to be the monastery for Sumana Thera who introduced Lanka doctrinal school in Lanna Kingdom. A forty-eight-metre-high bell-shape Lanka pagoda, now a national ancient monument, was also included in the construction, to retain Buddha’s relics from Sukhothai.

Chiang Mai Zoo is the first and only zoo in Northern Thailand where visitors can encounter animals in their natural habitat. Visit Chiang Mai Zoo’s Panda Hall for a memorable encounter with the rare giant panda. These marvelous creatures roam, interact, and play with each other in a comfortable environment.

Nimmanhaemin Road, or “Nimman” for short, is a rapidly growing area in Chiang Mai known for being the most modern and trendy area of the city. Located on the west side of Chiang Mai, it is a lively neighbourhood at all hours of the day. An easy area to explore on foot, here visitors will be welcomed with an abundance of quirky cafes, boutique clothing shops, and the city’s top restaurants and bars.

  • Catmosphere Cat Cafe

(***Those who are cat slaves, DON’T miss it!!!!*** There are many cute cats around.)