“A unique trail to an amazing jungle temple.”
— John Maurizi
River/Creek · Views
This hike is along a trail that for many years has been used by Monk's to ascend Doi Suthep (Mount Suthep) en route to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple. This trail is one mile long when you arrive at the jungle monastery known as Wat Pha Lat. The trail is steep in sections, but shaded most of the way. Emerging from the trail for a first glimpse of the monastery is impressive.
Need to Know
BEWARE of the temple dogs! They are vicious. I had four, as a group, run up to me growling and barking. Made me very uncomfortable. Fortunately there was a Monk nearby and all he did was a loud grunt and the dogs immediately stopped. So if you go, and there is no Monks around, try the grunt. If that doesn't work, well, good luck. Try and stay calm and don't make any sudden movements.
When trying to find the trailhead, looking on Google maps first, it appears to be difficult to find. However, it is pretty easy and if you are travel by motor scooter, you can park right at a dirt pull-off in front of the trail. Google map even shows the named trailhead. Google map will work in airplane mode to show your location.
The trail starts between two green signs. Follow the trail as it starts uphill. It is easy to follow. Avoid any faint side trails you come across. The main trail is very defined. Some of these faint side trails will also have some Monk robes tied to trees. You'll know you are on the correct trail because the park service installed some interpretive signs along the way. The further up the trail you go, the more robes you'll see.
After about .8 miles, you emerge to see Wat Pha Lat and the white Naga staircase. The path here is lined with Buddha statues and between the temple and trail is a swift but shallow stream. The sound of the rushing water and temple is a great experience. Take time to explore the temple and grounds. There many different Buddha Statues. You may see some Monks who take care of the temple.
After exploring the grounds, return the way you came for a two mile round-trip hike (excluding exploring the temple grounds).
History & Background
The temple and monastery were used as a resting point for Monks ascending the mountain during their pilgrimage.