Hang Dong Highlights | The Stunning Plum Tree Temple

Wat Ton Kwen(Gwen) was named after a tree(ma-kwaen plum). The more official name, Wat Intharawat, is related to the abbot that commissioned the temple. The temple was built between 1857 to 1858 by royal craftsmen according to historians. This temple is a small wonder of Hang Dong. Indeed, a true Lanna masterpiece according to the architects of Siam Association.

Snake/dragon guardians at Wat Intharawat in Hang Dong
Naga guardians

There is a tropical framing of this wooden temple. You enter between two elegant palm trees. Then it is a truly indulging historic atmosphere when you walk through the complex to study the wooden details and the colourful mirror glass of the praying hall. When you enter inside the viharn praying hall there is a Buddha statue subduing the devil on a squared pavilion. The Buddha statue is considered to be older than the temple and probably from the Sukhothai era.

Wat Ton Kwens Historic Context

The temple had historic importance in the sense that some of Buddha’s relics were brought along this route by the ruler of Chiang Mai from Wat Phra That Sri Chom Thong. The procession would rest here on its way to Chiang Mai and Wat Suan Dok temple. Furthermore, the locals would pay respect to the relics for roughly one week. The ceremony would include bathing the relics in perfumed holy water.

The pavilion stands out with its open-spaced wooden layout supported with round columns.

Wat Ton Kwen Pavilion in Hang Dong
The open pavilion.

In the Covid pandemic era, there is scarcely anyone else here. So you can get superb opportunities of admiring the temple from any angle and taking nice photos. However, I remember the wonderful days when the locals would frequent the temple. And I have fond memories of the annual temple festival in June every year with food stalls and market life.

Hang Dong is just a short ride from Chiang Mai. The area is also popular for the Grand Canyon water park.

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