Exploring Loei

Pilgrimage to the Sacred Temples

Eco-Tourism in Thai-Border Forests and Mountains

Since Loei is a border town adjacent to present-day Laos, or the Lan Xang Kingdom in the past, many temples and archeological sites in Loei reflect the influence of Lan Xang’s artistic style. Temples in Chiang Khan, Dan Sai and Na Haeo apparently reflect Lan Xang’s distinctive features in their Ubosot, an ordination hall, Wihan, an assembly hall, which houses the Buddha images and Ho Trai, al library sued to house holy scriptures. Notably, the sloping, superposed roof in some areas in the northern region, is typically Lan Xang.

1. Phra That Si Song Rak

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This temple was built in 1560 as the symbol of fraternal relationship between Somdet Phra Maha Chakkaphat of the Ayutthaya Kingdom and Phrachao Chaiya chetthathirat of the Lan Xang Kingdom. The two kings pledged at this Phra That not to encroach upon the other’s territory, and to unify their forces against the invading Myanmar army.

This Lan Xang-style Phra That is located on a hill by the Man River, at the supposed borderline between the two kingdoms. This brick-and-concrete, 30 meters high, chedi with a 12 cornered indented square base, has “cubical lotus” shape, similar to Phra That Phanom, in Nakhon Phanom Province, Phra That Luang in Vientiane, Phra That Si Khotta-bong in Lao’s Khwaeng Khammuan and many other chedi along the Mekong River.

        On the 15th day of the waxing moon in May, people in Dan Sai hold a grand celebration at Phra That Si Song Rak, and offer 3 candle-made objects to this sacred Phra That. The first is Ton Phueng (see details in box); the second one is Thain Wian Hua or candles specially made to be flexible and long enough to circle around one’s head; and the third one is Thian Sen Khon Sen Sat or a bundle of small candles of the same number as family members and pets.

Do’s and Don’ts at Phra That Si Song Rak

1. Do not offer red objects or flowers to the Phra That.

2. Do not dress in red. This sacred Phra That was built as a symbol of sincerity and friendship, while red color represents blood and violence.

3. Do not put up an umbrella, wear a hat or shoes within the Phra That compound.

4. Do not bring children of less than 3 years old into the Phra That.

Note: Before performing any you are recommended to ask for advice from the officials there.


2. Wat Pho Chai

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    Located in Tambon Na Phueng in Na Haeo, this important temple was supposedly built in late Ayutthaya period. The Buddha statue enshrined in the abbot’s abode has been revered as the town’s moral refuge for generations. Assumed to be of the Chiang Saen period, the statue depicts the meditating Buddha with an elongated face and a flamboyant topknot.

The mural pictures in the wihan depict the Jakata, 10 previous lives of the Lord Buddha and local literature. The inscription on the northern wall states that these mural paintings were completed in 1852, during the reign of King Rama IV. The outer side of this wihan also shows mural paintings completed in 1916.


3. Phra That Din Thaen

No temple in Thailand is like Phra That Din Thaen. No brick and concrete were applied, but it was solely made of soil and was assembled by the faithful more than 200 years ago.

This highly revered religious site means so much to people of Na Haeo as Phra That Si Song Rak to Dan Sai. A visit to Phra Thaen is worthwhile, as it bestows not only moral happiness, but also an insight into the meaning of Phra That to the people’s way of life, specially those in Saeng Pha.

Legend held that once a wandering monk from the central plain stopped over at Saeng Pha village and asked the villages to jointly construct Phra That din Thaen within 3 years. The construction presumably stared in 1770. Upon its completion, the monk asked the people to abide by the Buddha’s 5 moral precepts and to pledge to respect the Triple Gems (i.e. the Buddha, the Dhamma-his teaching, and the Sangha-the monks). Besides, they were also requested to pay respect to Phra That on the full moon day in November, and to stop working and killing animals on the Buddhist holy days. This pledge has been strictly adhered to until today in Saeng Pha and nearby villages in Na Haeo.


4. Na Haeo National Park

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The 73,225 rai in this National Park covers mountainous areas extending from north to south, with Phu San Sai being the highest summit. Most Forests are dry evergreen forests with some deciduous trees and hill evergreen at higher altitude which serves as a natural boundary between Thailand and Laos.

The park has a designated 7.2 kilometers long natural trail include Hin Si Thit – the 4 big square sand stones lying deep in the forest on the southern part of Phu San Sai. Hill 1408 on Phu San Sai is the highest spot and the central point of the Park, yet Hill 1205 only 1 kilometer away offers a viewpoint overlooking Laos as well as good campsite.

Sights of interest around the park

Visitors can drive the park on Highway 1268 and Highway 1328 to visit various interesting sites along the way.


5. Wang Tat Waterfall

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About 4 kilometers from the park headquarters on the Na Haeo-Rom Klao Road Highway 1268 Wang Klao Waterfall is the first tourist attraction on the way. A short walk of about 70 meters is necessary to reach this 2-leveled, 5 meters high waterfall.


6. Chang Tok Waterfall

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Located about 1 kilometer from Wang Tat Waterfall, Chang Tok Waterfall is about 8 meters high and 20 meters wide.


7. Khring Waterfall

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Located only about 200 meters from Chang Tok Waterfall, the 2-levelded, 4 meters high and 10 meters wide Khring Waterfall is a more worthwhile stop than the first two. Its attraction is revealed in the beautifully and naturally arranged steps of big and small stones, whereby water gently flows down to the basin blow. Tables and chairs are available under thick tree shades for picnickers. On the other side of the waterfall is the pavilion, which H.R.H. Primcess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn once visited in early 1991.


8. Tat Hueang Waterfall

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Very popular among the Thais and Laotians alike, this perennial waterfall originates from the Hueang River, which demarcates the Thai-Laotian border. Tat Hueag Waterfall thus is the only waterfall jointly owned by these two fraternal countries. It is also the biggest waterfall in Na Haeo, with a height of 30 meters and width of 40 meters.


9. Phu Hua Hom Park Guard Unit

This Guard Unit is located on the summit of Phu Hua Hom, on the same route as Tat Hueang waterfall. This location offers a good viewpoint onto Hill 1428, once the source of land dispute between Thailand and Laos and now a demilitarized zone.


10. Than Sawan Waterfall

This waterfall is located by the back of Na Haeo Witthaya School, about 2 kilometers from the district office. This medium-size, year-round waterfall is easily accessible by cars as it is out of Na Haeo Park and nearest to the waterfall is about 12 meters high and about 35 meters wide. The large basin at the lower part of the waterfall is suitable for swimming; some parts are even shallow enough for children. The waterfall is surrounded by dense forest.

Site Map: Loei

::: Loei

::: Loei Hotels:

::: Attractions:

::: To Sacred Temples
::: Along the Mekong
::: Glimpse of Loei
::: Conquer Summits

::: How to get to Loei

::: Loei Map

::: Loei Festival

::: Tour Programs Loei

::: Local Cuisine Loei

Loei Hotel Reservation


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