Dive in Chiang Mai's Local Lanna Culture
Chiang Mai, Enter the lanna Kigdom
Chiang Mai is overflowing with ancient Buddhist Temples (Wats) dating back to when the city was originally founded in 1296. The intricate carving and stunning hand painted murals inside them are absolutely treasures.
Don't Miss the most iconic temples of the city.
The best temples to visit in Chiang Mai
There are over 200 Temples in and around Chiang Ma. The following is only an overview of the most well known Temples, all of which are easily to get to.
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Nature, Tribal life, Folklore, Food
Chiang Mai features many amazing temples but that’s definitely not all the ancient Lanna Capital has to offer. Don’t miss out on the local markets and typical food you will find only in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Tours Highlights
Chiang Mai Temples Highlights
For over half a century, Chiang Mai Kings had several Temples built that remain an essential part of the lives of the people of Thailand.
In 1296, King Mengrai had the first Temple of Chang Mai built in the north-east corner of the ancient city of Wat Chiang Man. Two rare statues (a Buddha made of marble and a Buddha made of crystal) and a Chedi with elephants as decoration can be found in this lovely temple.
In west Chiang Mai, one of the most significant Temples in Chiang Mai, the Phra Singh Temple, was constructed. This building is a staple of classic Northern Thai architecture, and it has a Buddha that is very popular in the city. Males who would like to become monks can gain training at the Buddhist education center on the Temple grounds’.
About 1km west of Chiang Mai lies the Wat Suan Dok Temple, which was created in 1371 and is now the home of a Buddhist University. The Temple started out as a garden paying homage to the beloved monk from Sukhothai named King Keuna. There’s half of a Buddhist statue here because the statue split while being taken to the Temple of Wat Suan Dok. One part of the relic stayed at Suan Dok, and the other part was finally housed at The Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple. There is also a Buddha statue made of bronze housed there that is considered the largest Buddha statue in Thailand. There are many white Chedis that contain the ashes of royal ancestors of Chiang Mai.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Doi Suthep Temple is the most famous Temple in the area, standing near the top of Mount Suthep to the north-west of the city. This Temple was built around 1383. King Keuna of Chiang Mai selected a white elephant to carry a holy relic of the Lord Buddha to what would be its resting place. The elephant wandered up Mount Suthep until it came to a place where it finally laid down. A Temple was built on the spot to house the holy relic, and both remain there to this day. Housed there as well is a stunning larger than life replica of the famous Emerald Buddha, the original of which is now kept in Bangkok.
Wat Chedi Luang
Wat Chedi Luang was built around 1400 and with several later additions stood some 90 meters tall. It was reduced to around 60 meters in height when the upper section fell as a result of an earthquake in the 16th century. The Emerald Buddha was once housed here but it was removed after the earthquake for safety reasons. A replica of the Emerald Buddha made of black jade has recently been placed where the original once stood. At only a few of the many Temples you visit you may find an amazing life like statue of a venerated monk who had been associated with that particular Temple. A fine example of this is to be found in the Library Temple behind the main Chedi at Wat Chedi Luang.
Wat buppharam is located some 500 meters east of Tha Phae Gate. It was built around 15th century, and houses beautiful statues and ornamentation including three major Buddha images, one in painted wood, one covered in gold leaf, and one of a green gemstone. The gardens surrounding the main building are crowded with flowers and statues, including some recently added statues of a few famous Disney characters.
Wat U-Mong is located some 2km to the west of the old city on Suthep Road in the forested foothills of Mount Suthep. It is one of the most unusual of all the Temples in that it is mostly underground beneath a large hill with a flattened top. The under-hill complex contains many brick lined tunnels which are easily navigated. Built in the 14th century for a revered monk it was later abandoned for six centuries. A large chedi sits on the flat hilltop and nearby are the quarters of the monks who live there. If you look at the many trees throughout the complex you will see them decorated with hundreds of short Buddhist proverbs in both English and Thai.
A wat (Thai: วัด wat Lao: ວັດ vad, Khmer: វត្ត wōat) is a buddhist-temple in Thailand, Cambodia or Laos. The term is borrowed from pali vatta “which goes on or is customary, i. e. duty, service, custom, function”.