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TEMPLE ON THE HILL
The Temple on the Hill in Pai has many names. For the Thai themselves this temple is called the Wat Phra That Mae Yen. But tourists often call this temple the Big White Buddha in Pai or simply The Temple on the Hill. You can see the Big White Buddha from miles away, the Temple on the Hill with the huge white Buddha stands on a mountain east of the village of Pai. An impressive sight from far, but certainly also from up close! The Temple on the Hill is definitely in our top 5 to visit in Pai!
On our way to the Temple on the Hill
To get to the Temple on the Hill you drive from Pai center towards Tambon Mae Hi. After a few minutes you cross the Pai river over a bridge. As you approach the Temple on the Hill the White Buddha gets bigger and bigger. After about 7 minutes driving you see the vegan restaurant Earth Tone on your right. Opposite the restaurant is a gate where you turn left. You now have 2 possibilities: Put your scooter down the stairs at the very bottom of the mountain and you start a climb of hundreds of extra steps up. Or you drive another minute to the square where you can park your scooter and take the stairs to the White Buddha.
At the foot of the Temple on the Hill
On the square there are a few eateries and in front of the stairs to the White Buddha there is a stand where you can rent a sarong for 20 baht. A sarong is a garment that is used as a wrapped skirt around you. You’ll need one if you wear tight pants, your knees or shoulders are not covered or if you wear translucent clothing. In addition to a voluntary donation, there is very little cost to enter the temple or Buddha.
The Wat Phra That Mae Yen
On the main square is also the Wat Phra That Mae Yen. We only found out when we were back in the center of Pai. The Wat Phra That Mae Yen is a temple with some golden chedi. Nice to look at while you’re around.
The Temple on the Hill (Wat Phra That Mae Yen) and the Big White Buddha are holy places. Keep this in mind and be quiet and calm. Serenity now…
Temple on the Hill
After climbing the 353 steps of the Temple on the Hill you’ll end up on a large tiled platform where the White Buddha looks down on you. Don’t forget to take off your flip-flops or shoes. The view from the platform is truly phenomenal! You can see the rice fields and the village of Pai and maybe you recognize several places you visited the days before. Besides the immense White Buddha there are also two safes where you can donate some baht. On the base of the White Buddha there are also various gifts such as incense and garlands of flowers.
DO YOU KNOW?
The wooden scaffolding behind the White Buddha is for giving the Buddha a little support.
Sunset on the Temple on the Hill
Have you seen the sunset at the Pai Canyon or are was it too busy over there? Then the Temple on the Hill is a nice alternative. Go at least half a day before sunset. That way you still have time to look around and find a nice spot. By the way, the White Buddha looks to the west where the sun sets. So take a look and enjoy together with the White Buddha the setting sun over the mountains and the village of Pai.