Wat Khao Khitchakut Pilgrimage
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ThailandTravelUnseen

Thailand Travelouge: Wat Khao Khitchakut Pilgrimage

Making a Pilgrimage to Wat Khao Khitchakut in the Chantaburi province of Thailand is something I have wanted to do for many years, yet I never quite got around to it, until now. Having visited Thailand many times, I have certainly seen some sites, been seduced by the beautiful beaches and unseen temples, enjoyed the mists and crisp air in the North, eaten my way through Issan province, but a visit to the much revered site of the Buddha’s footprint in this far Eastern part of Thailand eluded me – until now!

Had a good stay at a newly open Blue rabbit hotel in Chantaburi. It is a  good modern hotel with Big room and comfy bed a fair way out of town but fine because it it on the way to Wat Khao Khitchakut. Highly recommended, I love the design and cleanliness and breakfast was good and delicious as well.

The sacred site, which is located in the Khao Kitchakut national park near the Thai/Cambodian border, is only open for two months out of the year (starting from Chinese New Year to Magha Puja day which is roughly late January/early February to early April), however during that time it is open day and night. Lucky too, because swarms of devoted Buddhists, curious tourists, and wilderness enthusiasts (like myself) come to pay their respects and walk away feeling a little more virtuous.

Visiting the sacred site of the Buddha’s footprint, located on an epic mountain top overlooking a valley of lush green jungle, is purportedly akin to standing in front of the Buddha himself. This act of devotion is said to gain the pilgrim good karma to carry with them back down the mountain and into their future life.

So how do you do it? I wanted to finish my pilgrimage with nice photography and pray homage to Buddha’s footprint so I arrived at the jumping off point – Phluang temple. From there I bumped and wound my way up the hill with a few other passengers in the back of a pick-up truck. It was about 8kms of steeply uphill climbing, so happy I wasn’t walking that part. Next I walked up stairs for a further 1.25km. If that sounds hard gong it was, but it’s offset by the beautiful sounds of the bells that line the route tolling as other climbers clang them on their way up.

At the breezy top it is not possible to purchase any food and drink there you need to prepare your own water and food highly recommended. I needed to grab something to drink and cool down before paying my respects at the Buddha’s footprint along with the many other (mostly Thai) visitors.

The site itself is steeped in reverence and there is a feeling of awe, which is hard to describe. The climb left me feeling virtuous and content, and as I finally reach the Buddha’s footprint and holy rock. There still quite bumpy distance more to reach the red cloth area where you can make wish. Lesson learn you need to start your day very early to reach here and go back down.

Overall it was a long overdue trip that lived up to (even surpassed) my expectations. Heard some of them saying you need to go for this Pilgrimage for 3 years for your wish to come true

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