COME SEE The Big White Buddha, Pai.
THE BIG WHITE BUDDHA: THE GUIDE
LOCAL NAME: What Phra That Mae Yen
REGION: Mae Hong Son Province
ACCESSIBILITY: Open 24 hrs, arrive by hired bike or scooter | Songthaew (local taxi ute)
BEST TIME TO VISIT: During the cool season (end Nov -Feb) for less clouds | Sunset OR early morning to beat the crowds
LOCATION: 3 hours from Chiang Mai | 2km from Pai Center | Open in Google Maps
WALKING DISTANCE: 10 -15 minute walk up the stairs from parking area
TIME REQUIRED: 45 mins – 1hr or longer, up to you!
TOURIST RATING: Popular site for tourist
COST: Free parking and admission
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THE BIG WHITE BUDDHA: THE EXPERIENCE
Ever seen a big white Buddha the size of a two-story building sitting majestically in a mountain? Nope? Neither had we until we visited Pai. The big white Buddha is exactly what it seems. In fact its one of the first things you’ll see when you arrive. You can practically see it from everywhere around the town. Even at the Yun Lai viewpoint we could see it! Was it worth the visit? Definitely. Thailand is very well known for its stunning temples almost everywhere you go. This one in particular is quite special as it stands out beautifully against the deep green mountains.
There are exactly 353 steps to reach the top but it definitely isn’t a difficult walk. The Buddha is facing west which makes it a great spot to view the sunset. If you’re not much of a sunset lover it might be best to head there in the morning to beat the crowds! Us on the other hand, most definitely fall into the sunset lovers category; so after a full day of adventure starting at Sai Ngam hot springs then over to Mor Paeng waterfall, we started heading back towards our accommodation in Pai to change into some modest clothing. As a sign of respect for any temple, knees and shoulders should be completely covered up.
Luckily it’s only a short 10-minute ride to The Buddha from our hotel. On arrival we realized we had left the camera back at our room. We looked at each other and then looked at the sun that had already began setting and thought iPhone camera it is! Sometimes you just have to let the eyes do the capturing and let it be! It’s definitely a must see when visiting Pai.
For details on getting to Pai from Chiang Mai including links to the minivan timetables and associated travel costs, see our post 8 Places to Explore In Pai, Thailand.
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