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Visit Wat Ban Rai (Nakhon Ratchasima)

g_translate Thai name : วัดบ้านไร่
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Nakhon Ratchasima
Wat Ban Rai Temple Korat
Wat Ban Rai Sunset
Elephant Temple Wat Ban Rai Nakhon Ratchasima
Wat Ban Rai is one of the most famous temples in Nakhon Ratchasima province as it was the residence of revered monk Luang Pho Khun Parisuttho who died in 2015. Many worshipers came from all over the country to see him. Today, it is of course still the monk whose huge statue sits in the temple and which is full of pictures and images of Him, but also the Wihan Thep Wittayakhom, a building in the shape of a giant elephant built on a pond, which attracts visitors. This hall's architecture is unique in Thailand !

Originally, Wat Ban Rai was a small monastery, then Luang Pho Khun who was widely respected in the province developed it and became its abbot. The complex is now quite large even if visitors especially remember the Hor Thep Wittayakom placed on a pond with its large elephant head. It is the largest ceramic mosaic temple in Asia ! It has more than 20 million mosaics. It was built with the intention of being a cathedral of the Tripitaka, writings bringing together Lord Buddha's teachings . The exterior walls are decorated with mosaics in dozens of different styles. Inside, to the left of the large round room where a statue of Luang Pho Khun sits, there is a spiral corridor which goes up along large mural frescoes in which Thai stars and personalities are represented, up to at the top of the building where statues of walking Buddha and the monk stand. And in the basement, there is a room full of colorful light decorations. Even if you have visited many temples in Thailand, this one will not leave you indifferent!

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Practical information about Wat Ban Rai

No admission fee.
Wat Ban Rai is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. I was able to enter the complex from 5:30 a.m. but you can only go up via the spiral corridor from 7 a.m., and at 5 p.m., the doors of the elephant hall close. The rest of the complex remains accessible until at least 6 p.m. and even later so sunset pictures hunters can normally stay.
Note that if you want, like me, enjoy the sunset on the temple (even if for me the weather was very cloudy), take night pictures (the building is lit from 7 p.m. but not during all night) and come back in the morning for the atmosphere at sunrise, you can sleep at the nearby Chatpailyn Resort which is a 3-minute walk away. It's a small resort with simple bungalows but very good value for money (I paid 500 THB in May 2022), just plan to have food for dinner.

How to get to Wat Ban Rai ?

Wat Ban Rai is located 70 kilometers from Nakhon Ratchasima city. It takes a good 1 hour's drive to get there. There is no local transport that makes it easy to get to Wat Ban Rai and back. It is advisable to have your own transportation.
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Rules to respect when visiting a temple

Wat Ban Rai is a temple and when you visit a temple in Thailand there are some rules to know and follow :

  • Dress properly (knees and shoulders should be covered)
  • Take off your shoes when entering the buildings
  • Be quiet
  • Don't hug or kiss
  • Don't point your feet to Buddha's image
  • Don't smoke

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