The Shan Temples of Mae Hong Son
Table of Contents
Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu
The Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu (วัดพระธาตุดอยกองมู) is located on Doi Kong Mu, a hill overlooking the town. A steep road takes you up to the temple but it’s much nicer to walk up. There are two white chedis (pagodas) in Burmese style. The largest one dates back to 1860. It contains the relics of Phra Maha Mok Kallana Thera, an important Buddhist monk. He was one of the disciples of the Buddha.
Migrants from Burma brought the relics of the Buddha to Mae Hong Son and constructed the chedi. The first governor, Phraya Singhanat Racha, constructed the smaller chedi in 1874. As with most temples: try to be there at sunrise for spectacular views. It is one of our favorite temples in town.
Wat Jong Klang
The Wat Jong Klang (วัดจองกลาง) is located on the lake in the center of Mae Hong Son. It is right next to Wat Jong Kham. These temples are also spelt Wat Chong Klang and Wat Chong Kham.
This temple dates back to the 1860s. People constructed the temple as an offering to monks from Burma who visited the town for the funeral of a well-known abbot. Interesting is the wicker Buddha statue that is located in the viharn of the temple.
The Wat Jong Klang also has glass paintings that depicts the story of the previous lives of Siddharta Gautama before he became the Buddha. The temple has an interesting museum with artefacts.
The Wat Jong Kham
The Wat Jong Kham/Wat Chong Kham aka Phra Aram Klang (วัดจองคำ (พระอารามหลวง)is located on the lake. It is right next to Wat Jong Klang (Wat Chong Klang). These are known as the twin temples of Mae Hong. Shan (Tai Yai) people constructed the temple in 1827. In 1970 fire damaged the original wooden temple. So the current temple is a reconstruction.
Unlike Wat Jong Klang, Wat Jong Kham doesn’t have a chedi. The temples are illuminated after dark and offer a spectacular sight.
Wat Hua Wiang
Sources of this article
I visited Mae Hong Son numerous times over the years, most recently in June 2021.
Information at the temples
Oliver Hargreave, Exploring Chiang Mai, City, Valley and Mountains
Sarassawadee Ongsakul, History of Lanna, Chiang Mai, 2005
Michael Freeman, Lanna, Thailand’s Northern Kingdom, Bangkok, 2001
Hans Penth, A brief history of Lanna, Chiang Mai, 2000
Chotima Chaturawong, The Architecture of Burmese Buddhist Monasteries in Upper Burma and Northern Thailand: The Biography of Trees, Dissertation for Doctor of Philosophy, Cornell University, 2003
Yu Yu Thwin, A comparative study on the architectural characteristics of 19th and 20th century Shan monasteries in Southern Shan State of Myanmar and Northern Thailand . Chiang Mai University/Chiang Mai, 2008
If you are interested in Shan or Burmese-style temples, please have a look at the temples of Lampang.