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Experience Chiang Mai

Temples in and around Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai and the over 300 temples scattered around the city and surrounding countryside, can make the decision about what Wats to visit quite overwhelming. There is no other province in the whole of Thailand that comes close to so many wats. Most of the temples in Chiang Mai are built in Lanna style and the oldest date back to the 13th century. Of course, there are a few temples that must be seen: Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is the most famous of them all.
Check out our list of recommended wats to get an idea of ​​which wat should be on your own list.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep | Chiang Mai Trekking | The best trekking in Chiang Mai with Piroon Nantaya

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

The most prominent and famous temple of Chiang Mai at 1,685 meters above the city is a "must see" on your trip to Chiang Mai. We will drive you up the winding road "with a view" and towards the base of the temple where you can conquer the 306 steps of the Naga up to the temple or, if you are less good afoot, you can take a tram. Even if your are not too much into temples: the spectacular views across the city and beyond are worth the trip alone.

Wat Phra That Doi Kham | Chiang Mai Trekking | The best trekking in Chiang Mai with Piroon Nantaya

Wat Phra That Doi Kham

Temple with scenic view

Also referred to as "Wat Doi Kham" or "Golden Temple", Wat Phra That Doi Kham is located south west of Chiang Mai at the top of a hill. The views from the top of Wat Doi Kham are very nice, especially on clear days: you can see the city of Chiang Mai as well as the rolling mountains of Doi Pui Mountain. This temple is mainly visited by Thai’s who come to visit the 17 meters high statue of the Sitting Buddha which can be spotted from the bottom of the hill. Its gold lending decoration has given the temple its nickname "The Golden Temple". There are different ways to get up to Wat Phra That Doi Kham but if you want the true experience, take the staircase with 300 steps and decorated ith a serpent on each side, winding up from the bottom to the temple.
The grounds of Wat Phra That Doi Kham are usually quiet, altough there can be times when bus loads of tourists arrive at the temple making it quite busy. The setting of the temple on top of a hill contributes a lot to the serene and peaceful atmosphere and from the viewpoints you will have a great view of the surrounding area including nearby Royal Park Ratchaphruek.

Wat Pha Lat | Chiang Mai Trekking | The best trekking in Chiang Mai with Piroon Nantaya

Wat Pha Lat

The hidden temple

Wat Pha Lat is a hidden gem of Chiang Mai, located just a few miles below Doi Suthep in the forest. This Buddhist temple is probably the most peaceful one can find in Chiang Mai. The temple site is unique and blends harmoniously into the natural environment on a cliff and borders a waterfall. The only way to reach Wat Pha Lat is the "Monk's Trail", marked by trees wrapped in the usual orange cloth used by the monks to get dressed, and leading moderately uphill for about 45 minutes. Once you've reached the temple, you'll realize that a 45-minute hike is a breeze, measured at the first sight of the staircase, which is decorated with two dragons and ending abruptly at the edge of the waterfall. It is simply amazing.

Note: we recommend wearing good shoes and bring some pieces of clothing to cover your shoulders and/or thighs in the temple

Wat Umong | Chiang Mai Trekking | The best trekking in Chiang Mai with Piroon Nantaya

Wat Umong

The forest temple

Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham is located on the mountains of Doi Suthep, outside the center of Chiang Mai and is often referred to as the "Forest Temple". Wat Umong is unique and famous for its ancient tunnels dating back to the 13th century, all of which can easily be explored under the big chedi. On the extensive grounds, in addition to numerous statues of Buddha, you can also feed fish, turtles and ducks in a large pond and "Speaking Trees" offer words of wisdom in Thai and English to the visitors.

Note: There is a temple in the old town with a similar name

Wiang Kum Kam | Chiang Mai Trekking | The best trekking in Chiang Mai with Piroon Nantaya

Wiang Kum Kam

Ancient Lost City

If you are interested in history and archeology, you should visit this ancient underground city, which is located about 5 km south of the old town of Chiang Mai. In 1986/87, the first excavations began, after previously some old panels were found, which led to the discovery of other hidden ruins of the city Wiang Kum Kam. Meanwhile, the remains of about 30 temples have been uncovered. The restored Wat Chedi Liam and Wat Kan Thom are still active temples today. If you like ancient sites, Wiang Kum Kam is definitely worth a visit.

Wat Phra Singh | Chiang Mai Trekking | The best trekking in Chiang Mai with Piroon Nantaya

Wat Phra Singh

Home of Phra Phutta Sihing

Wat Phra Singh is a First Class Royal Temple located at the end of the road that leads from Tha Phae Gate into the Old City - perhaps the busiest street in all of Chiang Mai. A unique Buddha statue also contributes to its fame: Phra Phutta Sihing, with its eventful history, became one of the city's most important figures and every year for the Songkran Festival the statue is carried through the streets of the city in a magificient procession and the faithful honor the statue by sprinkling water over it. The Viharn of Wat Phra Sing also captivates visitors with its incredibly detailed ornaments and golden paintings.

Wat Chaloem | Chiang Mai Trekking | The best trekking in Chiang Mai with Piroon Nantaya

Wat Chaloem

Unprecedented LocationFull day tour

Wat Chaloem Phra Kiat Phrachomklao Rachanusorn (what a long name) is also known by the names Wat Phabatpuphadang, Wat Phrabuddhabat or Wat Doi and these absolutely spectacular temples and pagodas dotting the mountain peaks are most likely the most breathtaking in all of Thailand and were each carried up piece by piece by a local monk and a team of nearly 50 workers just over a decade ago and are since then clinging to the jagged cliff face at the top of a mountain, overlooking a sheer drop close to 1,000 meters below. Wat Chaloem might not be super popular with foreigners yet as it is not near the tourist hot spots, but it is well loved by Thais so on weekends or holidays it is a good idea to stay one night to be able to go early in the morning. You will not be disappointed and the 2,5 hour drive from Chiang Mai is well worth it.

Note: there is a guesthouse approx. 15 minutes near the Wat (Santisuk Hotel, approx. 700 THB, nice & clean, Link) if you want to stay overnight. No online booking - give them a call, the owners speak some English

Wat Chiang Man | Chiang Mai Trekking | The best trekking in Chiang Mai with Piroon Nantaya

Wat Chiang Man

The oldest temple in Chiang Mai

Wat Chiang Man was built a year after the city was founded at the end of the 13th century on the site where King Mangrai had set up camp to coordinate the construction of the city from there. Next to the chedi are many ornate elephant statues that stand out for their sheer size and exceptional craftsmanship, and the fully wooded and worth seeing library, or the Ubosot, the most important place for ceremonies in almost every wat, draws visitors into its spell. Wat Chiang Man is located in the historic old town of Chiang Mai and is therefore very easily accessible from anywhere and worth a visit.

Wat Sri Suphan | Chiang Mai Trekking | The best trekking in Chiang Mai with Piroon Nantaya

Wat Sri Suphan

The Silver Tempel

Wat Sri Suphan is often referred to as the "Silver Temple" and although the temple itself is not very large, it is still one of the most beautiful temples in Chiang Mai. The Wat is located in the "Silver District" of Chiang Mai and lives up to its nickname: one is greeted by a sea of ​​silver - everywhere glitters and shines. Next to the wat, the silver ornaments of the temple are made next to other objects and the workers let visitors on request like watching the individual elements in great craftsmanship.

Note: Unfortunately, women are not allowed to enter the interior of the temple building

Wat Chedi Luang | Chiang Mai Trekking | The best trekking in Chiang Mai with Piroon Nantaya

Wat Chedi Luang

In the heart of Chiang Mai

Located right in the center of Chiang Mai, Wat Chedi Luang is one of the city's most important and most visited wats due to its central location. The complex also captivates with its many attractions, notably the Viharn Luong, the monastery building of the Wats, which houses the most important Buddha statue made entirely of jade. In the north and east of the Viharn there are two over ten meters high chedis, which have been in place since the beginning of the temple complex, and opposite the Chedi Luang, a statue of the reclining Buddha, decorated with gold leaf, attracts the attention of the visitors.

Wat Suan Dok | Chiang Mai Trekking | The best trekking in Chiang Mai with Piroon Nantaya

Wat Suan Dok

Flower Garden Temple

About 1 km west of the old city, not far from the airport, is Wat Suan Dok ("Field of Flowers" - the Wat was built on a former flower garden), with its 48-meter-high chedi, behind which rises Doi Suthep and with the large prayer hall Sala Kan Parian, the showpiece of Wat where there are two large Buddha statues. The outdoor area also offers visitors a variety of things: the many white chedis containing the remains of former members of the royal family, or the Ubosot, which houses another 5-meter bronze Buddha statue.


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