This Buddhist temple near Doi Suthep mountain is also known as the “Tunnel Temple,” both for its unique network of underground tunnels and its location in the forest. There is a large stupa to visit, as well as “talking trees,” which feature words of wisdom in both Thai and English. Monks here live in a very natural setting, among deer and ponds full of fish and turtles.
Stroll the temple grounds under trees and across trails, or explore the underground tunnels, featuring many shrines to Buddha. It is said that the tunnels, dug underneath an artificial mound, were created to keep a highly regarded monk who was prone to wandering from getting too far from the temple. It was later abandoned, adding to its ancient, wooded feel—but today several monks live on the site. Its tranquil environment makes it a popular spot for meditation.
Wat Umong is situated in the forest outside of Chiang Mai, but its peaceful natural surroundings warrant a visit. It is located about a mile (2 km) from the city, and the best way to get there is via taxi or tuk tuk. The temple is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.