The Legend of the Golden Horse Temple

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by SilverhawkUSA, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    March 17, 2008
    Riders: Silverhawk (Dave Early) Davidfl ( David Unkovich)
    Bikes: Suzuki DR650se, Honda Africa Twin 750

    Destination: Wat Tham Pa Are Cha Tong (north of Chiang Rai)

    The Golden Horse Temple


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    There is a legend of a fighting monk (called “The Tiger Monk”) who lives in the Monastery of the Golden Horse. This monk allegedly gave up a successful boxing career, some 16 years ago, and took up the calling of the monkhood to start this remote temple. He fought and held off Khun Sa and his men until they relented and supported his teachings. He trains young orphans, Nens, in boxing and horseback riding. After hearing this tale I had to find the temple……

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    Just two of us set out to traverse this valley in the heart of Thailand’s Golden Triangle. We planned to search out and somehow persevere long enough to reach this remote pinnacle in the jungle. Armed with little information, and our thoughts filled with the legends, we bravely turn off the beaten path and headed into this notorious area. 200 meters past the Nam Mae Kham River we made our turn into the unknown.

    :twisted: OK, you take Highway 1 to Mae Kham, go past the river and turn left .at the sign.
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    In the distance we could see the ghostlike silhouettes of the craggy limestone cliffs. We ventured onward winding our way through the valleys and skimming through the shadows of the towering peaks, always wondering if we are being watched and by who. What dangers await us? Then, there it is! An ominous path crossing the river and shooting skyward bids us to continue. I dare not stop for a photo.

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    :twisted: 7.5km from Hwy 1 turn left at the sign and cross the bridge. Follow the dirt and concrete road.

    We approach cautiously as the legend says the gateway is guarded by a huge Golden Stallion who will kick and stomp to death anyone attempting to enter.

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    :twisted: Go past the signs and under the overhead gate to the tour bus parking area.

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    An echoing beating of the bell and a piercing call of their master beckons the young and fierce Nens. How will they greet us? The excitement in their faces is evident and the chilling stares penetrate to your spine.
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    Guarded by figures of all types this must be a truly magical place.
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    A short distance below we can see where these notorious fighters dedicate themselves to their boxing and defensive skills.

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    We manage to locate the herd of stallions. As I approach the leader it instantly strikes out with its flaming hooves and I only avoid a horrendous injury by inches

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    :twisted: Well, It did try to kick me.

    I bid farewell to the temple, but on my own I venture farther up the mountain ….

    There towering above me is the Stupa and the hidden caves. A path is evident and begs to be climbed. Aching to explore further I must wait until I am accompanied by a soul braver than my current partner.
    :twisted: What, it was 38 degrees celsius (101 f).

    As I ride still higher, my journey comes to an end as I dare not venture any further.

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    :twisted: Because I just rode into the middle of a Thai motorcycle enduro event being held in the area and I was in the middle of the course.

    And so the legend will be passed from generation to generation………

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    *The road and waypoint (N20 13 34.4 E99 48 25.9) also is shown on the Esri GPS map of Thailand. It will be on Davidfl’s new map of the Golden Triangle.

    My Source
    Fighting Monks of the Golden Horse Temple

    Little Buddha Documentary

    :oops: OK, so it wasn’t the adventure we had hoped for. But if you want a short ride from Chiang Mai and want to go to one of those places you can say “been there, done that” this isn’t bad. It is really not too impressive but more on the *strange* side of the pendulum. I will go back to climb up and see what the caves and stupa are about (some nice middle aged Thai lady told me about how nice the walk was and she wasn’t even perspiring!). Perhaps in the cold season…….
     
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  3. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Great Report there Dave, Even if it wasn't that interesting to you it had my Attention for a While!!! :eek: Great story telling and always fun to actually see for yourself some of these places of Legends. Thanks for taking us along. When i eventually get a Big Dirt Bike i would be up to exploring any of these places with you :D Have confirmed Buyers for my Raid so am just trying to Find the Replacement. Fingers and Toes Crossed the Motorshow will bring me something :wink:
     
  4. Pikey

    Pikey Ol'Timer

    Wow - I thought I was in a Wilbur Smith novel for a bit there Dave! Good stuff and thanks for also posting the original article. Very interesting. Do you reckon a roadbike could make it to the Temple? If so, and if you want company, I'd be up for a trip in the cool season.

    Cheers,

    Pikey.
     
  5. Dougal

    Dougal Ol'Timer

    What's that?!!

    Demonic drug lord? Super hero Monk? Flaming horses hooves?

    By Gad Sir!! That's a cracking yarn!!
     
  6. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    :oops: Thanks for the comments guys. I was laughing the whole trip, thinking of how some of these "adventure writers" and TV specials make such a big deal out of some of these excursions. Had to write it up that way.

    No problem on bikes. I was riding together with Davidfl who was on his Africa Twin. The road is paved until you turn up the road into the temple itself. It is dirt but not far and not difficult. It's a good side trip if you are in the area.

    I'm always up for a ride (if it's not falling down on muddy single tracks!).
     
  7. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    I've been reading and enjoying Silverhawks posts for a few years now. I thought ole Khun Sa had found a new customer in Dave for his opium product resulting in this new writing style from Dave :lol: .

    A great bit of insight including the background on the temple, thanks for efforts.

    One has to now wonder where next the revered two headed (Early and Unko) David beast will set its sights on exploring? I'm staying glued to the message board awaiting the next adventure :D .
     
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah I have to laugh at some of the around the world adventure writers - don’t let the facts get in the way of a good totally embellished BS story...

    Now we set off from Chiang Mai heading for the depth of the Golden Triangle, using a new highway being cut through the jungle....

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    R118 road works

    En route we stumbled across a lost Aussie farmer....

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    My old mate Murray Kassebaum, now 80 yrs of age & retired on his 80 rai farm in the wilds of Wiang Pao (3 kms off the asphalt highway). Murray’s been out in the WPP boonies for 20 yrs farming & knows the land better than anyone else out there now. (For you guys who knew Murray from his early days in Cnx, PM me & I’ll give you his mobile number. He does not mind the odd white guy visiting him.)

    Eventually we came to a river that we unfortunately had to cross. The river was very low, the banks were steep, dry & crumbling

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    so we took the main Kok river bridge & carried on North along the ancient 4-lane highway, searching for the hidden turn off to the Golden Horse temple.

    Finally we succumbed to thirst & forced ourselves to stop for a drink (but no 7-11 out here). And lo & behold this was the secret entrance to the Golden Horse trail.
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    Further on another secluded secret sign indicated we could be on the right track

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    Soon a horse appeared soaring up into the sky & I knew this was it

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    As if to herald our arrival the young monks arrived from out of nowhere

    (It was lunch time!)

    Mythical characters guarded the temple

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    including “golliwogs”

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    Satisfied with our success, Silverhawk & I set off in search of the hidden long neck tribe

    En route Silverhawk had a narrow escape with a gigantic smoking pig

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    At a remote isolated corner deep in urban Golden Triangle we saw a small tell tale sign of the long neck village

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    after several more tortuous kilometers we arrived at the entrance to the exotic long neck enclave

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    we attempted to enter, but alas our funds were exhausted & we did not have the 500 baht admission fee to the secret site.

    Reluctantly we beat a hasty retreat & discovered what I thought was a kindergarten, but it was the Ban Vanna Resort, complete with numerous animal statues outside each room.

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    We clawed our way back to CEI to recover from the expedition.
    3 nights later I was back on the new road being cut through the jungle, heading home to Chiang Mai.
    And what a beauty R118 is going to be when it's finished....

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    Pic above: R118 just north of Doi Saket.

    Silverhawk thank's for leading me astray with this trip & report.
    It was fun - what about lunch at the hot springs in 40 degree heat?
    Ha. Ha.
    Ah, but it was just another GT Rider day at the office.
     
  9. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    Yeah well I didn't quite know how to fit that one in with the "Legend". It was pretty entertaining to see people waiting on the side of the road to wave at us and taking photos. I thought "How did they know we were coming?". It seems part of our "7 hour GPSing journey" followed the enduro route I had stumbled across earlier. They thought we were two falangs putting along in the enduro event.

    Then in fearless leaders great wisdom, as stated, while looking for a nice stream or river for a break from the heat, we stop at a hot spring with Karaoke machines blaring. It was funny watching the tour vans pulling in with unsuspecting foreigners in tow to look at "Amazing Thailand" !

    And these are only part of the "tales" that could be told......:shock:
     
  10. cdrw

    cdrw Ol'Timer

    Nice pix, guys...and SilverHawks embellishments made the report even more enjoyable.
     
  11. danwhite

    danwhite Ol'Timer

    Hi

    Very funny post.... The source story is over the top. This is what appeared in the much missed Jack magazine when the story first broke and before the circus got underway..... It is a genuine story.

    http://www.danwhite.org/Html_low_res/Mo ... others.htm

    Cheers

    Dan
     
  12. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    Wow, great addition Dan, thanks. I find the varied backgrounds and professions of people that read and contribute to this forum really interesting. It's very nice when true journalists come forward.

    Obviously I was being pretty irreverent and frivolous in my reporting of our trip, but the works that were done there in the past are most laudable. Yes, as many things in Thailand, it has now turned into somewhat of a "circus" (to use Dan's words) which is a shame.

    Equally fascinating is how much this area must have changed in the last ten years. Dan's article refers to the start of this *legend* around 1998 (although the actual dates vary between writers) . Now, a mere 10 years later, this area is within walking distance of one of the busiest main thoroughfares in the north, Hwy 1. The small villages show no visible signs of the past and the children are playing and picnicking in the streams and rivers as organized motorcycle events whiz past

    How much of this change can be attributed to Abbot Khru Ba Mua Chai would be difficult to determine but is a great tale none the less.
     
  13. danwhite

    danwhite Ol'Timer

    Indeed!..... These stories get passed around until they have no relation to the reality. The horse temple is a classic example. They probably have more journalists up there than horses these days.
     
  14. wimpy

    wimpy Ol'Timer

    :lol: :lol: :lol: Thanks!
     
  15. thailasse

    thailasse Ol'Timer

    Thailasse and friends visit here also in last june. Awesome place and glorious lacation. This is the most interesting places where I have been to North Thailand. SilverhawkUSA, Davidfl & co., many thanks for great trip reports and tips :!:

    The Golden Horse Monastery, Buddha's Lost Children
    Date: 16.06.2008
    The Way: Thaton - Kiu Sataa - Mae Chan - Mae Kham - The Golden Horse Monastery - Chiang Rai
    Route: 1089-1
    Distance: 143km.
    Total time: 5h 40min.
    Riders: thailasse and three thaillasses friends
    Bikes: 4 x Honda AX-1

    Here are a few picture of our little adventure day to The Golden Horse Monastery.

    The Pics:
    Lasse's Paradise
    http://www.saunalahti.fi/lassek1

    This trip began from Thaton. Thaton morning market.

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    Monks on the road

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    Ready to go

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    Drinking break, Kiu Sataa check point / police box

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    Guiding plate , a few kilometers from 1 -highway and Mae Kham

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    The Golden Horse Monastery

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    Thai boxing area

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    Horse place

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    We were told that this is a Khru Bah home in the golden horse monastery.

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    Mountain temple / The Golden Horse Temple. Up here of temple, we had also.

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    Stuba and "thai boxers" up to mountain, temple is near and the back side this stuba

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    Up to temple, The Golden Horse Monastery is front side

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    The Golden Horse Temple

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    Cave

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    Here are some more links if anyone is interested in this place even more

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddha's_Lost_Children (Buddha's Lost Children Wikipedia)
    http://www.buddhaslostchildren.com/BLCdvd.htm (Buddha's Lost Children DVD)
    http://www.chiangmai-chiangrai.com/budd ... heart.html (The Buddhist Monk with cowboy heart)
    http://valleyboyabroad.blog-city.com/th ... temple.htm (The fighting monks of the golden horse temple)
    http://www.chiangmainews.com/indepth/details.php?id=470 (Golden Horse Monastery)
    (Buddha's Lost Children trailer)
    (Golden Horse Monastery - thailand)
    http://www.tourismchiangrai.com/cr/thampa_archathong/ (The Golden Horse Monastery Thai info)

    Buddha's Lost Children 1/14 (documentary)


     
  16. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Bump. :wink:
     
  17. thailasse

    thailasse Ol'Timer

    Thanks Davidfl. Edit. :wink:
     
  18. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Bump yet again. This time for Rod. :wave:
     
  19. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    I have a copy of http://www.buddhaslostchildren.com/BLCdvd.htm (Buddha's Lost Children DVD) - there are 2 DVD's - one with the movie and the other one with all kinds of bits and pieces left over from the whole filming period. In case someone would like to borrow it just let me know.
     
  20. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    A nice vdo clip from the Bangkok Post
     

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