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Tambon Tham Nam Phut, Thailand

Wat Tham Ta Pan

Grotesque statues of figures from Buddhist hell haunt the temple's Sin Park. 

A small sculpture garden full of figures from Buddhist hell (Naraka) greets visitors who wander through Wat Tham Ta Pan. It’s a sinister sight, one filled with gory images of tortured beings and terrifying beasts.

Wat Tham Ta Pan is a “heaven and hell” temple. At first glance, it seems like a fairly neglected site full of the usual animals, and deities. There are pleasant, peaceful scenes designed to represent heaven, but the Sin Park is what you’ll likely remember the most. It’s smaller than other hell temples found within Thailand, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less impressive—or disturbing.

You begin the journey through heaven and hell by walking through the mouth of a massive dragon. You continue winding through the belly of the beast, down a dark, damp tunnel lit only by wisps of light that flit through the few windows. After passing through a cave meant to represent heaven, you’ll emerge at the entrance to hell.

Once there, you’ll be greeted by maimed, tortured statues. Many of them are complete with vivid red touch-up paint to highlight their fresh wounds. Some are being speared or strangled, others are forced to climb up spiked trees. Some show hellish beasts as well.

The gruesome scenes depict the eternal future that awaits sinners who fail to follow the Five Moral Precepts of Buddhism. It’s presumably designed to put the faithful on the path to good behavior by terrifying them.

Know Before You Go

Some of the scenes depicted in the hell section are vivid and gruesome and are probably unfit for children to see.

There's easy access by car, with parking out front. But it's probably a bit of a challenge to get to on public transport.