If you are taking a trip to Wat Phra Phutthabat Namthip, with its huge courtyard of Buddhist statues, you should definitely travel down Route 213 for another 10 minutes and visit Wat Tham Chang (วัดถ้ำช้าง), which translates to the Temple of the Elephant Cave. While we didn't locate any current or past elephant caves on the temple grounds, what we did discover was likely the largest, most diverse collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures in Sakon Nakhon province.
The entrance area to Wat Tham Chang is designated by small, but lovely signage, with the temple name written in beautiful gold script. Guarding the entrance are two Yaksha (giant) statues, which are quite unique in their design. A long driveway lined (on both sides) with gold statues of the Buddha in different poses leads to the main temple area.
Adjacent to the parking area is a large courtyard filled with statues of mythological figures, such as Guanyin (the Goddess of Compassion), Ganesha (the Elephant headed God of Good Fortune), and Phra Phrom (the multi-headed representation of the Brahma), as well as statues of the Buddha, including a "Fat Buddha" statue of Phra Sangkachai, with moneybags in each hand.
More gold statues of the Buddha line the side of the beautiful Viharn (Assembly Hall), as well as the stepped pathway that leads to a strikingly gorgeous Ubosot. Additional statues are found throughout the temple grounds, including a very unique representation the Buddha riding a Garuda with an elephant head, and a smiling hermit monk with 3rd eye gemstone in the forehead.
Wat Tham Chang is surrounded by beautiful woods, and is a Sakon Nakhon temple not to be missed. While here, we would also suggest traveling a few kilometers more to visit the charming temple of Wat Ban Nong San.