Wat Pha Sorn Kaew is truly a diamond in the rough, hiding away on the path less traveled.
Known in English as the Temple on the Glass Cliff, and located in the mountains near Khao Kho (Phetchabun Province) about three hours away from Khon Kaen, this awe-inspiring cliff-side temple is not one that many tourists make it to.
Truth be told there is not a lot in Khao Kho, especially for foreigners. When we arrived in the small city, there was no transportation available to or from the giant temple, which is only 4 kilometers away.
Luckily, a Samaritan motorbiker let us hitch a ride on the back of his wheels, otherwise, we might not have made it to the site.
So even though Wat Pha Sorn Kaew is located nearer to Khao Kho, if you want to see the site, I highly recommend staying in Lom Sak or Phetchabun city as these places have far better transportation available for tourists, and it will make visiting the temple a lot easier.
Not to mention, Lom Sak and Phetchabun city will also have much more night life and restaurants available compared to Khao Kho.
There is no admission fee to the site, but you will have to pay for a taxi or a private van to bring you up the mountain and to the temple.
Wat Pha Sorn Kaew is massive, and feels more like a small cliff-side city than a temple. An enormous and immaculate white Buddha looms proudly over the site, and no matter where you are on the cliff, you have a breathtaking view of the giant sculpture.
On the floor all around the Buddha are mesmerizing mosaic tile circles. No two mosaic patterns are the same, and when you look at the designs you can’t help but think about the painstaking care it must have taken to lay each individual tile.
Rumor has it that if you sit in the center of the mosaics, good fortune, and luck will come your way.
Next to the Buddha there is a monastery where monks live, which is also completely covered in ornate mosaic tiles on all sides.
But that’s not all Wat Pha Sorn Kaew has to offer, this mountain retreat is also home to a golden temple which is covered from nearly top to bottom with ornate tiles, small tea saucers, tea pot tops and plates from beautiful china sets.
The walls, floors, staircases, and just about everywhere is covered in tile mosaics and again, no two are the same.
Suck in the fresh mountain air and continue exploring the site to find a beautiful flower garden, filled with winding paths, and adorned with more masterful mosaic work.
When I think back on Wat Pha Sorn Kaew, a sanctuary on top of the world, are the only words that I can think of to describe the site.
Wat Pha Sorn Kaew can truly be overwhelming, so be sure to allow yourself lots of time to walk around and take everything in, as every intricate detail of the temple demands attention.
There are Thai restaurants on site, plus a café, which makes sense because there’s nothing better than sipping coffee on a mountain top.
Not a lot of foreigners make it to Wat Pha Sorn Kaew, and when we were in the café we actually met some really amiable university students who were stoked to talk with us and practice their English.
All I can say is that if you have time to get off the beaten path, Wat Pha Sorn Kaew is a must see destination in Thailand!
A gorgeous temple with marvelous structures, masterful mosaics, and fresh gardens, this breathtaking destination is worth the challenging trip it takes to get there.
Special thanks to Pammy Sue for sharing her adventure, the helpful information, and the great pictures!
Have you been to Wat Pha Sorn Kaew? Do you have a something to say? If so comment below! I’d love to hear from you 🙂
And for more awesome temple action check out Sukhothai