In 2016 I was motorbike riding in North-East Thailand and did visit the Wat Phu Tok near Bueang Kan. Photo above is Level 6 of the Wat Phu Tok, located about 40 km east of Bueng Kan. Phu Tok means lonely mountain and indeed it is a solitary mountain at the high-plateau of North-East Thailand. The top of this mountain is said to be 359m (above sea-level) and I think the high-plateau of North-East Thailand is at about 250m (above sea-level). That makes the mountain about 110m high. BTW there are of course more mountains in Thailand with the same name Phu Tok, like near Chiang Khan in Loei province.
The actual Wat Phu Tok, also called Wat Jetiyakhiri, is located at a cave on the base of the mountain from where walking paths lead up to meditation places that are all along the way of the mountain until level 6 according to the 7 levels of Lord Buddha to enlightenment. Level 6 consists consists of wooden pathways to the mountain rocks at a height of at least 60 meter. I did walk a part of it but then thought of the Thai way of safety and walked back to the more solid footpaths. The last level is reached by a steep stair and then a short kind of jungle trekking around the plateau to the other side. It requires some climbing along trees. As meditation is all in your mind there is nothing at level 7. The view is magnificent, even with this foggy weather.
At the Wat Phu Tok is a parking, toilets and a place to rest, eat & drink. Next to the cave is the entrance to the stairs to heaven, don't worry you can get back to life again. The temple was build by Phra Arjan Juen in 1968 and in the following year under his supervision the wooden staircases and meditation places were build. The Wat Phu Tok can be visited daily from 6:30 to 17:00 and entrance is free.
|The actually Wat Phu Tok in Bueang Kan, Thailand|
- Go early, very early. Be there at 7:00am
- Wear good shoes and trouser
- Take at least 1 bottle of water with you
- Be prepared for about 60-90min walk up and 30min walk down
- Have a clean shirt for when you are back down again
- Walk carefully, very carefully
- Be aware of Thai safety & maintenance
- At the entrance of the temple are some shops that sell drinks and there is 1 simple restaurant
How to get there?
The mountain & temple are located in the newest province (77th) of Thailand "Bueng Kan". From Bueng Kan take route 212 along the Mekong River (east wards) and then take a turn right (route 3009). You will be passing a beautiful area of lakes. Then just follow the signs to route 3012. Just when you can see the mountain there are of course no signs anymore. You have to go almost all around the mountain to find the entrance of the temple.
The first 4 levels are wooden stairs that are going steep up. Be aware that if there are signs at all, they are in Thai. Not in English. So should I go left or right? I did choose left.
I did choose right this time .... actually some of the different paths come back to each other again. But there must be at least 10 different ways of go to heaven.
|Stairs to Level 5 at Wat Phu Tok in Bueang Kan, Thailand|
|Meditation at Level 5 at Wat Phu Tok|
|View from level 5|
|View from level 7 (enlightenment)|