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May 2017: The Montessori School, Australia

Wat Ban Den: a temple with a difference…

Until 1988, Wat Ban Den was in a poor condition. Give it another few years, however, and it could be set to become one of northern Chiang Mai’s most iconic attractions. For now, at least, it is very much off the beaten track.

Wat Ban Den’s beauty has been compared to that of the Grand Palace in Bangkok, just without the crowds. As you walk around the interesting architecture and statues based on a variety of animals, the only sound you can hear is the quiet chiming of Bodhi leaf bells blowing in the wind; the slow trickle of visitors is naturally dispersed around the grounds as the complex is one of the biggest in Chiang Mai. The temple’s remodeling was instigated by Kru Ba Tuang, who managed to raise a large sum of money from Buddhists around the country to take advantage of the temple’s beautiful setting overlooking the Cholae valley and the mountains beyond and turn it into a peaceful place of reverence.

The Montessori School students were the first of our visitors to enjoy Wat Ban Den. The temple offers a new and different insight into Buddhist worship. There are replicas of golden Buddha statues from around the country and pagodas in many different styles. In one of the halls, there are wax figures of famous monks of Thailand who have passed away. Students can learn about their good deeds and why they are highly respected by the population.

Twelve of the pagodas stand to represent the different animals of the Chinese zodiac and students and teachers enjoyed finding out their animal before staring up at the impressive building before them. There are also many different halls and structures that students can explore on their own.

“The temple was very different. It is not what we have back in Perth. It was very unique!” - Montessori student, aged 16

“This temple is Amazing!” - Montessori student, aged 14

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