I’ve always enjoyed seeking out ‘Crystals’ in my travels around the world.
From the beautiful Crystal shops in Hungary and the Cristal beer in Cuba to swimming with manatees in Crystal River, Florida to these shining Crystals at the Galaxy in Macau.
A Crystal with the Crystals!
‘Crystal Lobby’ at the Galaxy Macau
So when I heard there was a Crystal Pagoda in the small village of Ban Thaton, where we were staying, near Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, I just had to go see it for myself.
Wat Thaton is a large temple complex located at the top of a hill overlooking the Mae Kok River. It turned out to be quite a hike up into the hills surrounding Ban Thaton, near the border of Myanmar. The view on the hike up was incredible.
View from the top
Looking down over Ban Thaton and the Mae Kok River
The temple complex is built on several levels, hosting statues, temple buildings and a Buddhist school on the way up to the top.
Phra Sang-Krachai Buddha statue amongst the lush vegetation and animal statues.
White Buddha in Wat Thaton.
Buddha with seven-headed serpent
While the hike itself was beautiful and all the statues and buildings on the way up were great, none were as striking as the Chedi Kaew or Crystal Pagoda.
Sitting at the top of the hill, this colourful building can be seen from miles way. The structure is covered with intricate designs depicting the Buddha’s teachings.Wandering inside, we found a large number of Buddha statues coming from many different countries. In the centre of the Chedi Kaew is a spiral platform that leads to the top level of the building, with more artifacts found along the way.
The Wat Thaton organizes several programs to benefit the local community. A project for local children and hill tribe children aims to bring several communities living in the area closer together.
The Golden Dragon surrounded by Buddha statues.
Shimmering Silver Dragon
One of the monuments on the complex grounds
The colourful roof of the Crystal Pagoda
The Chedi Kaew all lit up at night
Within the complex , there is a Buddhist school for monks and novices and a Vipassana meditation center. You can also find a herbal medicine center, a restaurant, a large meeting hall and several other buildings.
So, if you’re headed to Northern Thailand, pack your hiking shoes and visit the beautiful Crystal Pagoda. The Wat Thaton is open from 8 am until 5 pm. Admission is free and the view is incredible!