Temples Near Udon Thani - Wat Phrathat Phanom, That Phanom, Nakhon Phanom
Located in Phrathat Phanom, some 236km east of Udon Thani, on the banks of the Mekong River, Wat Phrathat Phanom boasts one of the tallest structures in Issan in the form of a 53.6m high 'Taht'.
Local legend suggests that the Lord Buddha travelled to Thailand and directed that one of his breast-bone relics was to be enshrined in a chedi to be built on this very site, which was duly fulfilled eight years later, following his death in 535 BC. Historians have dated the first Taht construction to around the 9th century and modifications have been quite common-place since. It was raised to 47m in 1690 and you will find replicas of this Taht all over Issan. The current structure was erected in 1941 though in 1975 it toppled over during heavy rains and was subsequently rebuilt in 1978.
In a few parts of the compound there is a bit more emphasis on nature than you see in many other temples which have been tastefully created. Adjacent to the temple grounds there is also an Art and Cultural Museum. Sadly we did not have time to venture in to see what was displayed or if any displays were in English. I would imagine it houses fairly typical traditional Thai crafts such as pottery, Buddha images and related paraphernalia.
Beyond the temple compound is a reasonably extensive market which you may find worth exploring and you will find food and drinks available at a number of stalls. While you are here you might want to bare in mind that what we might consider tokens of our visit i.e. traditional Thai skirts (Phatung) can be bought here much cheaper than most other places in the region.
If you want to get a basic understanding of the statues you will see in the temples, visit our Buddha Statue Meanings page.
How to get to Wat Phrathat Phanom, That Phanom, Nakhon Phanom