Wat Bang Riang (formally Wat Rat Upatam) is a beautiful hilltop temple on Khao Lan Mountain in Thap Put, Phang Nga Province. The temple features a seated golden Buddha image, a large statue of Kwam Im (Guan Yin), the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, and fine Thai architecture.
A drive through the rustic countryside in which the temple resides can be very interesting, despite it not being on the usual travellers’ beaten path. Even so, it’s well worth a visit if you have time to spare while in Phang Nga.
Highlights of Wat Bang Riang
Wat Bang Riang is a temple where Buddhist monks reside. The overall atmosphere is very peaceful but once in a while, buses with local visitors stop by to make merit and pay respect to a bell-shaped pagoda. Called Chedi Phutthathambanlue, this 109-metre-tall holy structure is said to house relics of the Buddha.
The 2 enormous, mystical 5-headed nagas (serpents) standing on each side of the staircase make quite an impressive entrance. Within the temple complex are the gigantic golden Buddha and the tallest statue of Kwam Im in South of Thailand (as well as many of her mini versions in the basement).
You'll also get to see Buddha images of all sizes, in different postures and styles, throughout the premise. There are also Thai guardian figures such as lions, elephants and holy birds, as well as Chinese-style dragons.
Good to know about Wat Bang Riang
Enjoy a panoramic view of the district from the top of the hill, with vistas out over the hilly countryside of rubber plantations. On a clear day, you often have small villages and the Andaman Sea, as well as the famous Phang Nga Bay.
From the carpark, follow a long walkway that leads up to the ordination hall and pagoda. If you're visiting with an elderly, disabled or small kids, you can drive your car to the top to drop your passengers off.
Wat Bang Riang is located in Thap Put, a small town about a 20-minute drive south of Phang Nga Town. If you're coming from Phuket, it might take about 1.5 to 2 hours to reach the temple.