UMong Temple “Jungle Temple in The City”

Umong temple the unique historical temple. Well worth a visit. If you think all Wats are the same this will prove you wrong.

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Umong Temple is one of the highlights of Chiang Mai. If you are tired of the temples in the old city, this peaceful area is a must see. The temple offer meditation class for those who need to refresh the mind. Surrounding with big tall trees and cool air from the Suthep – Pui national park.

Located in a grove UMong Temple (Tunnel Temple) is a practicing meditation temple. The origins of the temple, which are traced to the 14th century, are obscure. The temple may have been founded by King Mangrai himself to accommodate some forest monks from Sri Lanka.

One legend relates that King Ku Na may have developed the temple in the 1380’s to accommodate a celebrated monk called Therachan. The king used to consult the monk on various problems when the monk was in residence at a temple in the old city (Wat UMong Maha Therachan).

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On occasions, however, the monk was thought to be a little “eccentric” because he preferred the solitude offered by the forest retreat to Chiang Mai temples.

Records suggest the temple may have become deserted as early as the end of the reign of King Tilokarat (1487). The site only became a monastery again in 1948.

A strong influence on the temple has been the Buddhist philosophy of the late Buddhadhasa Bhikkhu, one of Thailand’s most celebrated 20th century monks. His statue stands on an islet in the lake to the south of the chedi. The Venerable favored the natural environment of the forest over human construction. As a result the modest temple buildings are surrounded by trees.

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A path from the main entrance leads up past a Buddhist museum. It continues between a kuti and a “spiritual theater” which contains murals depicting Buddhist wisdom. The path then reaches a raised area with walls of brick. Tunnels lead to meditation cells and a venerated Buddha image. Some of the oldest murals in Thailand used to be visible in these tunnels, but they have now disappeared.

On top of the mound is a large, circular bell shaped chedi. The Lanna style chedi has recently been restored. From the chedi walk north above the Tunnels to see a fine Buddha image cast in the ascetic style. The kuti, the monks living quarters, are scattered in the forest.

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The temple grounds also extend to cover an open zoo on the side of the mountain. The front entrance lies up a short lane on the south side of the temple.

The zoo has an inner fenced area connected to the main temple compound by a small back gate in the west fence. This inner area contains kuti for monks in the classic forest tradition.

Tame deer wander the park and the park sanctuary is a good site for bird watching.

There is a pool nearby. The lake is peaceful and you can sit and relax and feed the birds and fish. You can buy food for a small amount and its really worth it to see these fish move to the surface. The spot of this place is surounded by big trees, butterflies and the sound of birds and roosters.

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How to get to the Umong Temple

The Wat Umong is located just West of Chiang Mai city near Doi Suthep mountain. The temple is found about 1,500 meters South of Suthep road, just West of the Chiang Mai outer ring road. You can get there by private tour, taxi, tuk tuk, songthaew or samlor. Since the temple is a bit out of the way, it can be difficult to find a ride for the return trip, so it would be advisable to book a round trip and have the driver wait.

The most comfortable way to get there is by private tour. Most hotels can book one for you or contact travel agency in Chiang Mai to book car rental with driver for your group.

Opening hours and Entrance fee : The temple opens daily from 6 am until 5 pm. Admission is free.

Note : Not accessible for wheelchair user

Our services :

UMong Temple Map

Meditation Program

Message from us : For these meditation programs are not a commercial business ( No any commission ). About meditation expenses at temple be like a donation. We would like only to give information for our customers about the place for making Buddhist meditation in Chiangmai. So, you could contact by yourself. But it’s not comfortable, we could help you for free service to contact with any places where you prefer and we have transfer service to that place which is not too expensive.

TELEPHONE 0-5327-7248 call only from 8.30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
DIRECTIONS Located 3.5 km west of Chiang Mai.
MEDITATION SYSTEM Anapanasati, similar to teaching at Suan Mokkh. One is free to use one’s own meditation techniques.
TEACHING METHOD Teachers are available for questions. Talks in English are given every Sunday 3-6 p.m. at the Chinese Pavillion near the pond. A library/museum has many books in English and other foreign languages.
TEACHERS Phra Khru Sukhandasila, abbot (Thai; age 56) Phra Santitthito (Santi) (German; age 50) is no longer at Wat Umong; he now takes care of a large forest center in Australia as abbot and residen teacher Wat Buddhadhamma, Ten Mile Hollow, Wisemans Ferry, New South Wales.
LANGUAGE One should be able to speak some Thai. Other senior monks, including the abbot, speak a little English.
DESCRIPTION Peaceful, wooded grounds of 37.5 rai (15 acres). You can feed the fish, turtles, and ducks in a large pond. “Talking trees” have words of wisdom in Thai and English. The wat is famous for its ancient tunnels and large stupa. Other attractions include a Buddha field of broken sculpture, a fasting Bodhisatva, a Spiritual Theatre of paintings similar to those at Suan Mokkh, reproductions of ancient Buddhist sculpture of India, and a library-museum. This last building offers many books on Buddhism and other philosophies as well as a collection of historic objects and Buddhist art.
SIZE monks 45-75, novices about 10, nuns about 8, laypeople about 10
DAILY ROUTINE A bell is rung at 4 a.m. Monks and novices are encouraged (and laypeople welcome) to attend chanting at 430 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monks and novices go on pindabat after morning chanting, then eat together in a wooden sala. Because discipline, practice, and schedule are left up to each person for the most part, self-motivation is especially important. Laypeople on a short visit can follow 5 precepts; longer-term visitors should observe 8 precepts.
FOOD Monks eat once or twice a day from food collected on pindabat. Nuns normally cook their own food. Laypeople can also arrange meals at nearby shops or take from monk’s leftovers.
ACCOMMODATIONS Individual kutis in separate areas for monks/novices,nuns, and laypeople. Kutis, somewhat closely spaced, have screens and electricity; some also have attached Thai-style bathrooms (Asian- and some western-style toilets) and running water.
WRITE IN ADVANCE Yes, write or enquire well in advance. Only a small number of kutis are available for laypeople.
OTHER INFORMATION The monastery, one of the oldest in the Chiang Mai area, may date as far back as 1300 A.D. Legend tells that a king built the brick-lined tunnels for a clairvoyant but sometimes eccentric monk named Thera Jan; paintings dated to about 1380 once decorated the walls. You can enter the tunnels to see the small shrines inside (a flashlight is useful). The adjacent stupa was constructed about 1520 over an earlier stupa (1400-1550). The monastery eventually fell into disuse, though Japanese troops were said to garrison here during WW II. Since 1948, the Thai prince Jao Chun Sirorot, now in his 90s, has been active in rebuilding and reestablishing the monastery. In 1949 he invited Buddhadasa Bhikkhu (founder of Suan Mokkh in southern Thailand) to come and live here. Duties kept Buddhadasa Bhikkhu from coming. Instead he sent Ajahn Pannananda and other monks to help set up and run Wat Umong.