Phra That Phanom


Phra That Phanom, its related historic buildings and associated landscape is part of the Tentative list of Thailand in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

Phra That Phanom is regarded as the most ancient stupa containing Buddha's relics in the northeast of Thailand. It is believed to have been built to enshrine the Buddha's breastbone relics, a mere 8 years after Buddha's Nirvana, although archaeological findings date the earliest structure on the site to around the 7th or 8th century CE. The stupa is a centre of spiritual inspiration for the promotion of harmony and peace among the people in the region, and the site of annual festivals.

Map of Phra That Phanom

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

Community Reviews

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Stanislaw Warwas

Poland - 28-Mar-23 -

Phra That Phanom (T) by Stanislaw Warwas

Visited February 2023.

Well, well, well… I must admit that the presence of the temple Phra That Phanom in That Phanom town, very close to Mekong River and the border with Laos is one of the strangest proposal to word heritage list I’ve ever seen (I can compare it with Palau’s Tet El Bad). I spent two hours and a half (yes, two hours and a half! because of the bus timetable; I could make it in 30 minutes or even less) walking around it, looking into the spaces and shrines open to the public, approaching the stupa from different angles, talking with few pilgrims, trying to figure out what are the “historic buildings and associated landscape”, looking back at the new paintings and sculptures on the temple’s walls… And no – I was not able to find the very well hidden outstanding universal value or even local value. It all looked to me so artificial, so unauthentic… The wat is popular among local Thai and Lao people. But when I asked about it my Thai colleagues from Bangkok and Korat, they both said it was a temple with a piece of Buddha’s collarbone, just a local temple, they’ve never visited. Neither their parents who are religious people. And the temple looks new, because it is new: it was rebuilt after the storm in 1975; and it was rebuilt not exactly as it looks before these heavy rains… Some say it is the oldest stupa in South-East Asia; some say the chronicle Tamnan Urankathat mentions it; some say it is a spiritual inspiration for local people (the temple Wat Phra Bua Bok in Phu Phra Bat was inspired by this one); some say it is a symbol of religious and architectural perfection; some say… But is it equal to having an outstanding value for all the people in the world and enough to find its place on WH list? (I was wondering which photo I should attach to this short review…)

Zoë Sheng

Chinese-Canadian - 01-Mar-19 -

Phra That Phanom (T) by Zoë Sheng

Oh my, I dislike religious-based sites so much. So when my friend from Udon Thani wanted to drive here a couple of years ago I only agreed if we stopped at the mushroom-shaped rocks at Phu Phan NP on the way. The drive to Nakhon Phanom takes 3 hours for me, 2 1/2 for her on the way back.

At first sight the stupa looks like any other in Thailand. On second sight, it still does. On third, after checking the document now, it's actually rebuilt and looks less interesting. So according to their description this was the first to have this kind of architecture and it inspired the rest of the region - fair enough. That might be something to impact not only Thailand but also Laos across the Mekong.

As for the other criteria is is trying to inscribe, literature and all that, I am not familiar with it. It sounds important for Buddhists so I don't want to talk bad about it.

I'm going to cut this short now and just say you can save yourself some time not to visit here if you have already seen many stupas around SE Asia. If you are religious then you maybe have a better reason to visit. If you leave early you can pack both this place and the NP into one day and it's kind of entertaining.

Full Name
Phra That Phanom, its related historic buildings and associated landscape
Religious structure - Buddhist
2017 Added to Tentative List

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Phra That Phanom (T)
WHS 1997-2024