Sitting prettily inside Uthai Thani in Central Thailand, the stunning Wat Chantaram is an utterly impressive feat of interior design. The inside of this Buddhist temple is made entirely of glass, creating a bewitching spectacle of light and colour. Venture off into Thailand’s recesses and discover a dazzling monument to faith.
Wat Chantaram dates back to Thailand’s Ayutthaya period (1351 to 1767), nicknamed the ‘Diamond Temple’. Once a busy place of worship, the temple was abandoned following the fall of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. However, in 1789 a monk called Luang Pho Yai took care of the temple and oversaw renovations and expansions. Subsequent years saw further improvements helping to create a dazzling sight in rural Thailand. According to ancient Thai beliefs, glass and other reflective surfaces help to repel evil spirits, and this is likely the reason for the heavy use of glass and mirrors at Wat Chantaram.
From the outside, the main hall may look fairly unassuming. Nothing can quite prepare visitors for what awaits them inside Wat Chantaram. Stunning glass pillars, mirrored walls and ornate chandeliers, shimmering to highlight the large gleaming gold Buddha statue at the temple’s front. The highly polished floor tiles dance with reflections, while the windows and doors are adorned with angelic images.
Wat Chantaram’s large temple complex is home to several other stunning features. Prasat Thong-Kam, or the Golden Castle, is a striking piece of architecture, with golden walls and numerous small prangs (spiky spire-like roof details). The inside is covered floor-to-ceiling in gold leaf, with glimmering walls and columns that bounce light off intricate carvings on the doors. The complex’s old monastery features beautiful artwork depicting the Lord Buddha’s life. Additionally, there are small pavilions dotted through the site where you can rest in peaceful meditation. Earn some good karma by feeding the large fish in the river.
Wat Chantaram is located in Central Thailand’s Uthai Thani Province. Having your own transportation such as a car would beneficial, though you can also reach the temple by public transport. Regular buses connect the provincial capital with Bangkok (239km/140miles away) and take around three hours and 15 minutes. You can then take a local bus directly to the temple’s entrance from the provincial bus station.
The various parts of the temple are free to admire, though donations are appreciated with gratitude. As a holy site, visitors should dress modestly. This means knees and shoulders covered and no torn or sheer garments.
The complex is open from 8am to 6pm, though the various buildings have different opening times. The beautiful glass hall is open from 9am to 11.30am and then again between 2pm and 4pm.
Go off the beaten track in Central Thailand and be rewarded with splendour.