The Statue of Phraya Singhanat Racha
Location: Khun Lumpraphas Road, Muang District
A Shanese named “Chan Ka Le”, who was later the first governor of Mae Hong Son, had gathered people to settle a village called “Ban Khun Yuam”, which gradually grew and was established as a city. It was not until 1874 that the city was renamed Muang Mae Hong Son, and Prince Indhawichaya znont of Chiang Mai promote Chan Ka Le to be Phraya Singhanat Racha and appointed him the first governor of Mae Hong son.
Looking up above from where the Statue of Phaya Singhanat Racha is, Phra That Doi Kong Mu will be seen standing on the hilltop.
Phra Thai Doi Kong Mu
On top of Doi Kong Mu, west of the city of Mae Hong Son. From the Statue of Phraya Singhanat Racha on the Highway no. 108, there is an asphalt road branching off to the left up the hill for about 1.5 kilometers where the temple is.
For Mae Hong Son city tour program, we would suggest you to start at Wat Doi Kong Mu, as this temple is located on the hill. Though not so high, up there the whole city’s landscape can be seen as a small plain enclosed by lines of mountains at all directions overlooking houses, temples and the airport where planes have to go round to right themselves before landing.
Once getting up to view the scenery at Wat Doi Kong Mu, it is easier to get to any other places, as a panoramic view of the city is revealed, wide enough to see where is where. We take you up the temple not for viewing the scenery only, but also for the outstanding feature of this place the cleanly white Phra That Doi Kong Mu that stands there on the viewpoint ground.
Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu is regarded as Mae Hong Son’s place of worship. There are two pagodas in the temple big one was built by Chong Tong Su 114 years ago as a place to enshrine the relic of Phra Mokalana Thera from Myanmar, while the small one in white also, was built 127 years ago by Phraya Singhanat Racha, the first governor of Mae Hong Son.
Visiting this temple during the New Year, Songkran or Auk Phansa (the end of annual rain retreats) holidays, ones can have an atmosphere of the annual temple fair.
In the parking lot, there are gift shops to spend some time at before driving down the hill.
Wat Phra Non
Location : Doi Kong Mu foothills
Getting down to the foothills, do not continue right away to anywhere else but drop to visit Wat Phra Non where a large reclining Buddha image of 12 feet long is enshrined. Cast in Shan’s art under the support of Phranang Miah, Phraya Singhanat Racha’s wife, the image possesses finest Buddha characteristics.
Outstanding structures include the two lion statues on the way uphill to worship Phratat Doi Kong Mu. Made by Phraya Singhanat Racha and Phranang Miah, the animal statues are Mae Hong Son antique as old as a hundred years.
Wat Kam Ko
Location : On the opposite side of Wat Phra Non, Doi Kong Mu foothills
Not proceed to anywhere else yet; just let me take you to tour round another temple, Wat Kam Ko. This is Mae Hong Son’s old temple regarded as the city institution. Built 111 years ago, Wat Kam Ko possesses finest architecture, especially the unique roofed passage that stretches from the arch to the pavilion.
As old as it is, there are original textbooks kept in the temple, especially those in Shan language telling history of the Shans and King Anoratha Mangcho with Thai translation made by the abbot.
Wat Kam Ko is small but easy to notice no matter which way, up or down the hill, with its prominent location at the foothills.
Wat Chong Kham – Wat Chong Klang
Location: Around Nong Chong Kham Public Park
This is another very old temple in Mae Hong Son, built 174 years ago in Tai’s arts. . The temple is uniquely beautiful with its Prasat or tower roof, which is believed to be the heavenly place to be resided by kings or religious representatives only.
Inside the image hall, Luang Poh To, sitting 4.85 meters in width cast in1926 by a Burmese artist, is enshrined as the Principle Buddha image. Also housed there is a huge replica of Phra Sri Sakaya Muni • from Wat Suthat in Bangkok.
An outstanding feature of Wat Chong Kham is its pillar decorated with gold leaf, the reason why the temple is so called.
Having visited Wat Chong Kham, let’s proceed to a temple next to it, Wat Chong Kleng. There are a lot of interesting things Inside such as the altar where a gold-gilded replica of Phra Buddha Si-hing is placed; wooden-carved figures of human and creature characters in the Wessandara Jataka (Buddha’s previous lives), pictures depicting Prince Sidharatha’s personal history, and those telling people ways of life in the olc days.produced by a Shan artist from Mandalay with Burmese descriptions.
Wat Hua Wiang
Location: Sihanatbamrung Road, Chong Kham Sub-district (next to the dawn market near the junction)
The outstanding feature of this temple is its long standing since it was built in 863 to enshrine Phra Chao Pha Ra La Khaeng, the finest decorated Buddha image of the city cast in reproduction of the original one “Phra Maha Muni” in Mandalay, Myanmar, brought here by Uncle Chong Pho Ya.
The replica of Phra Chao Pha Ra La Khaeng was cast in Myanmar in nine pieces and delivered by the River Pai to assemble at Wat Phra Non and placed at Wat Hua Wiang. The image is regarded as a city institution. Being as old as a thousand years, the temple was so ruined that the vihara or image hall had to be rebuilt in copying the original structure.
And because of its location in the heart of city, the locals of Mae Hong Son call the temple by another name Wat Klang Muang.
The Arts and Crafts Occupation of Mae Hong Son
Location : Khun Lumprapas Road
For shopping-lovers who wish to buy gifts after the journey and to support the locals at the same time, let’s go shopping for the products here.
This Arts and Crafts Occupation Center is the royal patronage project established in 1984 by the initiative of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit. Both flatland and highland Thais so get a job after receiving training being able to do basketry, carving, weaving and silverware work. The Center also serves as an outlet for the products made by the locals in the project. Tourists can not only buy gifts after the journey, but also help increase incomes for the locals in the area.
Open Monday – Saturday between 08.30 -16.30 nr., Tel: 0-5361-1244