Thailand is a country of temples ranging from classic Thai buddhist to Khmer hindu with a welter of Chinese and Muslim thrown into the mix. Their beauty is admired by all and both locals and visitors alike tour the country to view them. The country is famed for its more well known monuments such as Sukhothai, Ayudthaya, Phanom Rung, but the countryside is awash with smaller, sometimes more interesting finds.
One such temple is Wat Khao Tham Talu. Just one hour and thirty minutes drive from Bangkok.
The temple and its grounds are located on Khao Tham Talu, one of the many small mountain outcrops dotted throughout the rich and fertile plains of Ratchaburi province.
Khao Tham Talu is encircled by numerous Chinese temples but its most striking statement is the mountain top Christ statue that looks over the surrounding countryside with outstretched arms of welcome. It is this statue that makes you realize that Wat Khao Tam Talu is no ordinary temple.
Indeed its hill top summits are mounted with not only the statue of Christ but also of Buddha, Ganesh and ornate temple buildings. In addition the hilltop passes are covered in shrines, grottos and dieties to many religous followings.
These passes and tranquil walkways are home to various natural fauna and flora and walking them reveals macaques, mountain swifts, owls and a selection of native trees. Its hidden eastern route reveals a shrine cave, home to bats and a resident owl.
This little visited Wat is indeed a special place, even in its failing state it has something special about it - something to make you want to go back and explore more.
It is surprisingly easy to reach from Bangkok. Take the Thonburi-Paktho Road, pass Samut Songkhram, when the turn off for Phetchaburi appears do not take it but drive straight over the Petchkasem Highway and follow Petchkasem north for about 5 kilometers and you will see Khao Tham Talu on your left.