Temples Near Udon Thani - Wat That Renu, Renu Nakhon
Wat That Renu is located near the Mekong river in the small town of Renu Nakhon, a little to the north of the border crossing bridge at Savannakhet. From Udon Thani it is a drive of 233km by taking the most direct route which is one of the reasons that few tourists go to visit this delightful wat. It is certainly very popular with the locals Thai population though, especially at weekends so if you are hoping for a quite visit, make sure you arrive early in the morning.
Wat Phra That Renu Nakhon temple complex is without question the main attraction, and one with an elegant 36 meter high chedi that measures an impressive 8 meters wide as its focal point. The chedi is based on the much older and very highly revered chedi of the nearby Wat Phra That Phanom. Although not the same size or shape, the two chedis share the same design characteristics. The chedi was built in 1918 and is a good example of Laotian style and design. The other structures in the compound are traditional Thai. This is also only the second temple I have visited where I have seen what I call "Electronic Monks"; a series of glass cased mini-shrines where you feed 10 baht of so in to a slot and receive an automated electronic blessing. See my blog entitled "The end of Buddhist Monks?" for more information.
If you want to get a basic understanding of the statues you will see in the temples, visit our Buddha Statue Meanings page.
As with many of the temples in the region, there is ongoing construction to enhance existing structures and adding some new ones, so I guess those electronic blessings are paying handsome dividends. As you approach the Chedi from the car park, instead of being drawn directly to the main feature it is worth a quick diversion to see the building to the right of it. While it is not an especially large building it is really beautiful and is kept in immaculate condition.
Surrounding the Chedi is a low wall and shoes are not to be worn inside the walled section, indeed there is actually a slightly stricter dress code in operation where shorts above knee length are not permitted, nor are torn or shredded jeans, short skirts etc. On the outside of the wall surround are a series of bells of slightly different shapes, sizes and tones.
By taking a little time to look at everything properly, you can easily spend an hour here as there is a fair amount to take in, although is all in quite a small area.
How to get to Wat That Renu, Renu Nakhon