Breathtakingly beautiful and serene, Wat Maha Chedi was built in Lanka style with 9 golden spires on 3 levels of the square-shaped pagoda enshrining a relic of Buddha.
The pagoda was constructed jointly by the town people and surrounded town’s for the Golden Jubilee (50 years of reign) of His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
It is a must-visit. Your long trudge up would be rewarded with stunning murals and panorama view of the sea, coconut plantations and bright white curved beaches stretching for kilometers.
This site is near to Baan Krut, south of Hua Hin and set on a hill-top with panoramic views over the ocean, bays and beaches. The number 50 features strongly in this temple’s architecture as well as the number 9; in recognition of dedication of the site to the late King.
The design was provided by M.R. Mitraroon Kasamsri, who was an architect of the Royal Household. The main building is a square with sides that are 50 metres long and features 9 Chedi (spires). After driving up the steep entry road. The first encounter is with the huge golden Buddha statue named Kiti Sirichai.
The Buddha is in a meditation position, sitting cross-legged position facing the ocean. The statue is also known as ‘Big Buddha’ (Long Poa Yai). At the base you will also see the Personal Standard of Queen Sirikit. The next ‘encounter’ is with the two rather imposing and menacing guards before a climb up the staircase towards the main temple building.
It’s well worth this climb to gain access to the temple with even more expansive views from the many portals facing each direction and walls displaying murals showing scenes from Thai history and pictures showing royal visitors to the temples over the years.
There are also 37 picturesque statues with image of Buddha, beautifully decorated ceilings, stained glass windows and further steps to the higher building levels. Please note that photography inside the buildings is not allowed. It seems likely that as the year of mourning continues the significance of this temple will increase and become a place of long-term remembrance of King Rama IX and well worth the 2 hour drive from Hua Hin.
Location: Thongchai Hill is in the Bang Sapan district of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. Travel south from Hua Hin past Pranburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan City, about 60 Kilometres further south turn towards Baan Krut (look for the 382 km post) then head towards the clearly visible hill 5 Kilometres away. Travel Tip: After visiting the temple, it’s easy to find your way to the sandy beach of Baan Krut where there is a selection of seafood restaurants available to satisfy your hunger and refresh before the return journey.