Wat U Mong
West of the Old City, Wat U Mong is a proper forest wat, with its stupas and monks’ quarters scattered through a sprawling tangle of tropical trees. This venerable complex wears its 700-year age on its sleeve, and its buildings are nibbled by the centuries and fringed by foliage, adding to the air of antiquity. Beneath the towering main chedi (stupa) is a squat structure worm-holed by a warren of passageways decorated with murals of forest scenes, built in the 13th-century on the orders of King Mengrai, founder of the Lanna kingdom. This ancient maze was reputedly constructed to distract a revered but deranged monk named Thera Jan, who had a habit of wandering off into the jungle in the grip of religious trances. A more recent curiosity is the pack of English bull terriers, raised by the resident monks, who loll lazily around the monks’ cells at the edge of the forest.