Wat Phutthamok Phalaram (วัดพุทธโมกพลาราม) is Buddhist oasis hidden deep in the countryside of Sakon Nakhon province. The ongoing development of this Thai temple and meditation retreat is directed by Luang Pho Noon Suwichayo (หลวงพ่อหนุน สุวิชโย), who is both the temple's abbot and the head monk of the Na Kaeo sub-district of Amphur Phon Na Kaeo.
In the main worship area of the vast temple grounds (which appear to be well over 100 acres), you will find a large worship hall (Viharn) with a canopy of sacred threads (sai sin) above where the monks and worshipers sit. These threads are believed to enhance the blessings of the monks and the sacred statues of the Buddha that are placed behind them.
Before you get to the Viharn, you will see a beautiful white pagoda. Inside the pagoda is a gold statue of "the first Buddha of Thailand" Somdej Ong Pathom (สมเด็จองค์ปฐม). In front of the gold Buddha is an unusual small statue of Phra Chai (พระชัย), who is considered one of the most powerful of all Buddha images in Thailand. Next to Phra Chai is a gold statue of Luang Pho Noon Suwichayo, who also goes by the name Phra Khru Wichaisarakhun (พระครูวิชัยสารคุณ) .
There is a simpatico relationship between Phra Chai and Phra Khru Wichaisarakhun which explains Phra Chai's unusual appearance in the pagoda (usually he appears only in smaller amulet form). Phra Chai means "the Buddha of Victory," and Phra Khru Wichaisarakhun's nickname "Suwichayo" means "one who has a good and beautiful victory".
About a kilometer or so from the main worship area of Wat Phutthamok Phalaram, there is a small reservoir with a giant white Buddha statue sheltered by an open-air pagoda. On the edge of the pond is a large 7-headed Naga statue, the likes of which we have never seen before in Thailand.
A large Reclining Buddha statue and seated Buddha statue are under construction on a hill that overlooks the reservoir and provides a lovely view of the Sakon Nakhon countryside. It can be a little confusing to get to the reservoir area. What you need to do is drive north from where the Viharn and White Pagoda are located, look for the Thai signage that says "อ่างเก็บ" (which means reservoir), and follow the direction in which the sign points.
Wat Phutthamok Phalaram (วัดพุทธโมกพลาราม) is located about 35 minutes from the Sakon Nakhon airport, heading northeast. Other nearby temples worth visiting are Wat Ban Na Due and Wat Yod Lamthan, both of which you pass on your way to Wat Phutthamok Phalaram.
Check out our full photo gallery at: วัดพุทธโมกพลาราม