Wat Pha Sorn Kaew วัดพระธาตุผาแก้ว (meaning ‘temple on a high glass cliff’ in Thai), also know as Wat Phra Thart Pha Kaew, is a Buddhist monastery and temple (Wat วัด in Thai) in Khao Kor, Phetchabun, in north central Thailand, about 5 hours drive north of Bangkok. Khao Kor is called the Switzerland of Thailand because of the beautiful mountain scenery and cool, fresh air. The Wat is set on a 830m peak, a few hundred meters from the town of Kheam Son on the main highway 12 between Phitsanulok and Lom Sak, GPS location 16°47’23.07″N 101° 2’57.27″E.
The Wat is a unique and spectacular building, rivaling Notre Dame in Paris, The Sistine Chapel in Rome and the The Taj Mahal in India yet is almost unknown, and therefore infrequently visited, even by Thai people. The main pagoda and surrounding buildings are adorned with over 5 million colorful mosaic tiles and pottery items and is set in a breathtaking mountain location. Currently under construction are 5 sitting Buddha statues set against rolling green mountains. The entire site is a visual feast of color and light that has to be seen to be believed. What the temple lacks in history it more than makes up for in beauty and atmosphere.
The main Wat exterior, gardens and adjoining buildings are complete and open to visitor although not all of the interior of the main temple is complete yet. Completion of the 5 Buddha statues is expected by the end of 2013.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), there is not currently a well developed tourist infrastructure surrounding the site. It is only accessible by private vehicle or tour at the moment as there is no public transport from the nearest towns of Lom Sak, Phetchabun and Phitsanulok. There are no quality restaurants in the area although there are many places to stay in Khao Kor. However, for the independent traveler, a visit to Wat Pha Sorn Kaew and the surrounding area will be an experience you will never forget.
It is free to enter the Wat and surrounding area but a contribution to this magnificent place is highly recommended. Please remember this is a sacred religious site, not a tourist attraction, so please wear respectful clothing, keep noise to a minimum and no public shows of affection. It is open every day.
Click here for details for transportation, food and accommodation in the Khao Kor area. If you are local to the area or know of other sights, locations of interest or businesses in the area, or have photographs you would like to add to this site, please contact me at steveh2112 at gmail.com.
In addition to the Wat, there are many other areas of interest and great natural beauty in the Khao Kor area making it the perfect short trip to the real, non touristic Thailand.