Among the hundreds of Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai, Wat Umong or “Tunnel Temple” is unique because of its location in the forest and its system of tunnels. The serene and peaceful atmosphere at the 13th century forest temple near Doi Suthep mountain provides a welcome change from the much visited sites in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The temple’s full name is Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham, which translates to “Temple of the tunnels and Buddha Dhamma garden”. A number of tunnels dug out of a mound contains shrines with Buddha images, where devotees can pay their respect to the Buddha.
The large, shady temple grounds are often filled with the sounds of monks’ chanting. The temple’s setting in a forested area with a natural lake makes the Wat Umong an excellent place for meditation. The meditation center hosts meditation classes and Dhamma talks.
This old temple established in 1296 during the reign of King Mengrai is now widely known as a meditation center devout Buddhists from around the world visit to practice amid its peaceful atmosphere and minimalism structures. Around the area you also find numerous historical artifacts and architectures, such as Asok Pillar, which is devoted to an Indian King Asok Maharaja who was a devout Buddhist, and U-Mong, an ancient tunnel-like architecture built to create a near-silent ambience for better meditation practice.
Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham (Tunnel Temple)
Location: 135 Moo 10 Ratchaphakhinai Road; Suthep, Mueang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand