Best Temples to Visit in Chiang Mai

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is one of the most sacred temples in Chiang Mai. It was built in 1383 by King Keu Naone to enshrine a piece of bone that was believed to be a part of a historical Buddha. 

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep shines its light amongst the sun and stays a bright golden color throughout the year. It sits high up the Doi Suthep mountain, and the journey to the pagoda itself can be a bit challenging. The flourishing, golden chedi requires a 309 step-walk up the emerald-green naga stairs. Fortunately, this isn’t the only way you can get to the beautiful, incandescent pagoda. An alternative to this is to take the 20-50 baht electric tram, depending on whether you’re a native or a foreigner. 

Once you get to the tip of the temple, you will find that an extensive, breathtaking view awaits, and you will catch yourself startled by the incredible viridescent landscape. A stunning panoramic scene of Chiang Mai’s cityscape can also be seen from the viewpoint. After all, this is what all the hardship up the mountain was about. 

All visitors must also be aware of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep’s dress code. Women are not allowed inside without covers on the shoulders and below the knees, and shoes are not allowed to be worn inside the temple. 

Wat Phra Singh 

Wat Phra Singh or Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan is one of the most important temples in Chiang Mai. It was originally named Wat Li Chiang and was originally built in 1345 by King Phayu to contain the ashes of his father. Later in 1367, this soon changed when the statue of Phra Buddha Singh was placed in the temple, giving its present name – Wat Phra Singh. 

Despite its historical significance, the temple is known for its massive, visually striking golden Stupa and remarkable, detailed Buddha teachings engraved on various places of the walls throughout the temple. It’s easy to get spiritually lost in the tranquility of this landscape and traditional Lanna style architecture. 

Don’t forget to also visit the Viharn next to it – Viharn Lai Kham. The peaceful Viharn sits itself in teak wood with tips of the roofs decorated in chofah, a Thai-Laos decorative ornament representing the shape of a tall thin bird. When you walk inside of the Viharn Lai Kham, you will find that the wall of the interior, where Phra Buddha Singh sits, is embedded with Lai Kham or a red lacquer enfolded in golden leaf. 

There is also an entrance fee of 40 baht for foreigners who want to enter the historic assembly hall of Wat Phra Singh.

Wat Chedi Luang

Wat Chedi Luang is known to be one of the tallest temples in the history of Chiang Mai. It was built initially around the 14th century to enshrine King Saen Muang Ma’s father’s ashes. At the time it was considered to be the biggest temple in Chiang Mai, reaching up to 85 meters in height and 44 meters in width. The title however, disappeared when a huge earthquake (or cannon fire – there are different reports of this) struck, leaving the chedi to measure at only around 60 meters in height. 

Wat Chedi Luang is not only known to be one of the tallest temples in the history of Chiang Mai, but it also once held one of the most significant images of “Buddha” in Thailand. The sacred Emerald Buddha was once housed in the timeless, significant Wat Chedi Luang but was moved later to the famous Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok. 

The first thing you might be able to notice when walking into the timeless ruins of the charming, old-aged Wat Chedi Luang are the elephants engraved on the Chedi. Besides it are antique, naga dragon staircases that lead you up to the center of the ancient pagoda. Soak in the smells of the old ancient ruins, and feel the essence of the timelessness within this historical structure. 

Temples are considered as an integral part of a city’s history and cultural heritage, and can serve as valuable resources for learning about the past and understanding the cultural and spiritual traditions of a region. Moreover, it is a place to receive blessings, merit, and make merit (good karma) for yourselves and loved ones.

Rimping Village guests are always welcomed to ask for any traveling assistance to these beautiful historical Temples of Chiang Mai.