Lampang: Wat Phra That Mon Cham Sin

Table of Contents

Introduction to Wat Pha That Mon Cham Sin

The Wat Phra That Mon Cham Sin (วัดพระธาตุม่อนจำศีล) is an extensive and impressive temple complex on the outskirts of Lampang. It is not far from the Dhanabadee Ceramic Museum and Factory and the Wat Mon Pu Yak, another Burmese-style temple. This temple has become one of my favorite temples in Lampang. The first time I visited Wat Phra That Mon Cham Sin was in 2017. Since then I have been back every year at least one time. What is so interesting about this temple? There is a certain mystery around this temple: on all my visits I have been virtually the only visitor. The temple is not on the tourist trail, as far as there is one in Lampang. It is too far for horse carts. I usually ride my bicycle to Wat Pha That Mon Cham Sin in the early morning. Be careful when you cross highway no.1!

Temple with various chedis Wat Phra That Mon Cham Sin
Overview of Wat Phra That Mon Chamsin

A fascinating complex with Lanna and Burmese influences

Wat Mon Cham Sin is a very interesting complex with well-maintained chedis and structures under construction and under restoration. The complex includes a school and a clinic but both don’t seem to be in use. Most intriguing is a beautiful wooden Burmese or Shan style viharn with three Buddha statues. The building must have been close to collapse before they started the restoration. Close to this structure there is a golden sitting Buddha statue with some smaller statues in front of it. The foundation is unfinished as yet. These two projects under construction are not on the temple grounds it seems.

Chedis of a temple Mon Cham Sin
Golden chedi at Wat Phra That Mon Cham Sin
Four Buddha statues
Buddha statues at Wat Phra That Mon Chamsin

The Three Chedis

There are three chedis on the temple grounds. The first one you will encounter has some vegetation peeping through but looks well maintained. The base is white, the spire is covered with a gold-like veneer. Behind this chedi there is a gallery with Burmese-style looking Buddha statues. A much smaller chedi with Buddha statues in niches is the next one. It is all white and in good shape. The furthest chedi is the most impressive one. It also looks like it is the oldest one, covered with plaster and showing lots of cracks in it. It used to be overgrown with vegetation, like a ruin in the jungle, but on my last visit I saw that they have removed much of the greenery. They placed little candles all around the base of the chedi, giving the impression some kind of ceremony had taken place recently.

Old chedi with dark skies Mon Cham Sin
Old Chedi at Wat Phra That Mon Chamsin

History of Wat Phra That Mon Cham Sin

Relatively little is known about the history of this complex. People believe that there was a temple or structure at this location since the Hariphunchai era but there is no evidence of that. Burmese merchants, who came to Lampang with the British teak companies in the late 19th century, funded the restoration of temple structures. The three chedis (or pagodas) were probably already there and are supposed to contain a relic of the Buddha. One of the Burmese was named U Pho Thit, who is the ancestor of the Photiphan Family. This family funded the construction of the Bangkok-style viharn in 1991.

Temple building under construction Mon Cham Sin
Old monastery under construction

The restored Shan monastery

This is the most intriguing and mysterious building of this temple complex. It is a small wooden monastery on stilts that has been restored over the past few years. The building has been hidden from sight by a construction wall for at least four years. A couple of times I could have a peep inside, which was very interesting. There are three beautiful Burmese- or Shan-style Buddha statues inside.

This is probably the oldest wooden religious structure in Lampang and one of the oldest in North Thailand. It is not clear when they constructed this monastery but I guess it dates back to the 1880s or a bit later. This was the period when many Shan and Burmese workers started working for the British Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation in Lampang.

I have followed the reconstruction of the past years and often wondered if it would be finished. It gathered momentum in the past six months though. During my most recent visits in December 2021 and February 2022 I saw that the reconstruction has almost been completed. We will include a visit to this monastery in some of our Lampang tours.

old wooden temple Wat Mon Cham Sin
Undated picture of the Shan temple, courtesy of K.Manaspee Dacha
Old temple under construction
Old wooden temple customized private tours
The Shan temple of Wat Mon Chan Sin in February, 2022
Buddha statues in a temple
Undated picture of Buddha images inside the Shan temple, courtesy of K.Manaspee Dacha
Old Buddha statues Wat Phra That Mon Cham Sin
Three Buddhas at the old monastery

Sources for this article

I have visited this temple more than ten times in the past couple of years. I find it a very interesting and fascinating place. There is not much information online on Wat Mon Cham Sin. Most information I found in the book of K.Kiriya Chayakul.

Kiriya Chayakul, Burmese influenced architecture in Lampang Municipal District area from mid 19th-mid 20th century: A pilot study of relationship between architecture, community and landscape. Silpakorn University, Bangkok, 2009


Man with monk in the backgroundd
Frans Betgem at Wat Mon Cham Sin

How to get to Wat Phra That Mon Cham Sin

The temple is on Pa Kham Road, Baan Mon Cham Sin, Phrabat district. As said, horse carts don’t go here so you will have to ride a bicycle or charter one of the green and yellow songtaews, the converted pickup trucks.  This complex doesn’t close as far as I know and there is no entrance fee. On below map you can find the location of Wat Phra That Mon Cham Sin.

Wat Phra That Mon Cham Sin features in these tours: