The Wats of Mae Chaem

This is a continuation of our road trip around the north-western part of Thailand. To read from the start, click HERE.

Day four

I was feeling a little bit sick with a cold, so we decided to pay for another night at Pimnapa Guest House, and made some short, local excursions on the bike. Our travels took us on a loop around the villages surrounding the Mae Chaem area, where we explored several interesting wats, and drove on some perilous terrain.

The first Wat we visited was Wat Ban Thap.

A green, shimmering, mosiac Buddha. Odd, but strangely appealing

A green, shimmering, mosaic Buddha. Odd, but strangely appealing

A stairway descends to a panorama. The 'Naga' guarding the stairs are mythical beasts, believed by some to inhabit the Mekong river.

A stairway descends to a panorama. The ‘Naga’ guarding the stairs are mythical beasts, believed by some to inhabit the Mekong river.

Entrance to the Viharn

Entrance to the Viharn

Various depictions on the Viharn

Various depictions on the Viharn

A water wheel around the rear of the Wat. I tried working the old, wooden mechanics, but there was too much rubbish in the river clogging the wheel.

A water wheel around the rear of the Wat. I tried working the old, wooden mechanics, but there was too much rubbish in the river clogging the wheel.

A blue crested lizard (also known as an Indo-Chinese Bloodsucker. He seemed okay to me.

A blue crested lizard (also known as an Indo-Chinese Bloodsucker. He seemed okay to me.

After that we found a rough road leading up to a hilltop wat, which unfortunately we never learned the name of. The main building (Viharn) was brand new, and the rest of the area was still under construction. It was completely desolate apart from us, and had a stunning view.

The Viharn

The Viharn

Inside the Viharn. The pillars are decorated in woven cloth, a specialty of the area.

Inside the Viharn. The pillars are decorated in woven cloth, a specialty of the area.

And here is the loom that weaves the cloth, a half-finished weaving inside

And here is the loom that weaves the cloth, a half-finished fabric inside

A woven chandalier

A woven chandelier

The view from the staircase

The view from the staircase

Another wat that we didn’t manage to get the name of looked completely deserted as well. It was a ramshackle assortment of buildings that were showing serious signs of neglect. When we were strolling through a courtyard a very skinny monk slipped out of a door, looked at us, and scurried off. There were no other signs of life.

The main entrance

The main entrance

Buddhas painted on the side of the Ubosot

Buddha and worshippers (followers? Disciples?) painted on the side of the Ubosot

The last wat we visited Wat Kong Kan, where we found monks watching TV, and fabulously decorated doorways.

Vegetation > meditation

Vegetation > meditation

IMG_8640

An impressive Chedi

Ornate doors

Ornate doors

And ornate doorway arches

And ornate doorway arches

As we drove around Mae Chaem, the roads were mostly deserted apart from onion farmers shifting the recent harvests. We passed lovely little houses and stalls, as well as several farms for shallots and rice. Chickens ran about, clucking, crowing, and tending to their chicks, and stray dogs lazed in shady spots, occasionally barking at a passing cyclist. Cats, as with most of the other parts of Thailand we’d been to, were hardly seen at all. And who could blame them? Dogs ruled the roads here.

Shallots drying

Shallots drying

At the Pimnapa Guest House I decided to have a cold shower, but in a rare case of double-reverse irony, there was no cold water. The shower was hooked into a terrifying LPG gas heater that actually displayed the blue flames through a little plastic window. At its lowest possible setting it was almost 45 celsius. In despair I poured cups of water over my head, then finally resorted to using the bidet.

To continue, click HERE

~~~

Just an ordinary train

One thought on “The Wats of Mae Chaem

Leave a Reply