During my trip to Uthai Thani, I was really glad to be able to visit Wat Chantharam (Wat Tha Sung) which is alongside the Sakaekrang River. Despite its importance to Thai people and the beauty of several of its buildings, you won’t find this temple in any guidebook. In fact, many English language guidebooks don’t mention Uthai Thani at all. The temple dates back to the Ayutthaya period. Over the years it fell into disrepair until one day when Phra Ratchaphrom-mayan (Luang Pho Ruesi Lingdam) came to this temple.
Luang Pho Ruesi Lingdam is responsible for making Wat Chantharam the most famous and beautiful temple in Uthai Thani Province. He built Phra Ubosot Mai (an elaborately decorated ordination hall), Thong Kam (a beautiful golden castle) and this building called Phra Wihan Kaew or the Glass Temple. This is also the last resting place of Luang Pho Ruesi Lingdam as his undecayed body is kept in a perspex coffin. This picture shows his shrine at one end of the building.
The building gets its nickname of the “Glass Temple” due to all the shiny glass walls and columns that reflect all the light. The ceiling also has a mirror that makes the room much bigger than it really is. The idea sounds a bit tacky but somehow they get away with it. It certainly adds to its beauty. At the far end of this building you can just make out the golden Buddha image which is a replica of the famous Phra Phuttha Chinnarat.
As you can see in the picture above, for good reason it is widely regarded as the most beautiful Buddha image in Thailand. The original can be found at Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat in Phitsanulok. These pictures are from only one building but it is worth spending your time exploring the whole complex which covers both sides of the road. The Glass Temple is open 9:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Alongside the river you can feed the fish and even join boat tours along the river. This costs only 40 baht. There aren’t any set times but it will depart when there are at least ten people. So, best to go at the weekend when it is more crowded. The temple complex is in Tha Sung sub-district of Amphoe Muang. You can reach there by taking a blue songtaew from the city heading towards Tha Sung. Click here to see the location on Google Maps.