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On the outskirts of the Northern Thailand town of Phrae are a number of fairly remote and beautiful temples dotting the countryside. One in particular stood out though, not because it was overly attractive, but because its scale stood out over the surrounding fields. But, it strangely seemed as if had simply been walked away from halfway through.

The temple-stupa rising over the horizon.

The temple-stupa rising over the horizon.


A curiosity about 10km outside of town on the way to Phrae Muang Phi was one giant stupa sticking out of the forest horizon and beckoning me toward it. Thankfully my path led me right toward it. A small dirt road led the way to what I dubbed the Temple of the Industrial Buddha. It was still very much under construction, though seemed completely abandoned. The main stupa I had seen was built upon a brick platform whose insides were completely empty. There was only a Buddha Statue and a locked stairway leading to the uncompleted second level.

Phrae-industrial-buddha-5 Phrae-industrial-buddha-4

Rebar and unfinished concrete and brickwork were all over. Chairs littered an otherwise barren inside. And though it might have been intended to be finished, it was quite desolate.  Making my way to the roof of the neighboring building, I was amidst a forest of rebar. There was something meant to built on top of this, but I had no idea what. Still, there was a 4-Buddha monument on the top of this industrial monstrosity. Getting a few pictures, I was then on my way back toward the Ghost City.

Phrae-industrial-buddha-3 Phrae-industrial-buddha-2

Overall, the entire temple just had the feeling of a Buddhist structure dedicated to raw industrialism. An odd sentiment, particularly given its remote locale.

Locked doors, probably the nicest thing there.

Locked doors, probably the nicest thing there.

Benjamin Williams

Hi all, my name is Ben. I’m a native Michigander with a passion for human culture and new places, and more than that, new experiences. I have degrees in archaeology and writing, pursuing a career in the latter. However, I never quite lost that fascination for archaeological theory. For the past 11 years, I’ve been living and travelling between Asia, Europe, and North America, documenting ancient sites and the peoples who built them, and then adapting them into practical archaeological travel information at

What are your thoughts?

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