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The Temples of Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand is the region’s largest and most culturally significant city. The former capital of the Kingdom of Lanna, dates back to the late 1200s. The city has over 300 Buddhist temples or “Wat” as they are known in Thai.

I spent three and a half days in Chiang Mai and had the chance to visit three of the cities most popular temples: Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Wat Phra Singh and Wat Suan Dok.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

This wat is undoubtedly the most famous in the city. Directly after my friend picked me up from the airport we went straight to the top of Chiang Mai’s Doi Suthep mountain to visit the sacred site. Once at the top of the mountain, you have to climb 309 steps to reach the pagoda. Once at the top, foreigners pay an entrance fee of 30 Baht or 88 US cents. I will let my pictures do the talking, but Wat Phra That Doi Suthep was a wonderful introduction to Chiang Mai, specifically and Thailand in general.

They were rebuilding the roofs on one of the pagodas and I donated a tile. My name will be a part of this Wat for years to come!

The above Buddahs are the eight different Buddhas for each day of the week. Wednesday has two: a morning and night Buddha.

Wat Phra Singh

Construction on this Wat began in 1345 and it houses the important Buddha statue – Phra Buddha Sihing, for which it is named. It has a “Royal Temple” status.

Wat Suan Dok

Wat Suan Dok was by far my favorite temple. Jet lag had knocked me out during the drive over and when I awoke, my mouth dropped as I gawked at the white and gold magnificence in front of me. Founded in 1370, the ornate details in each of the pagodas left me lingering longer than I had at the other temples. The ceilings and external architecture showed the care and intricacy that went into making this holy place.

Have you been to Chiang Mai? What was your favorite temple?

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. I have yet to visit Thailand, but your photos are very inspiring. The textural intricacy of the Buddha statues is incredible!

  2. Just a CM local passed by.

    …each of the pagodas left me lingering longer than I had at the other temples… >>> Well, you know, each pagoda contains bones of Lanna (northern Thai kingdom) dynasty members. 🙂

    About Wat Pratat Doi Suthep. Chiang Mai University students esp. all freshmen have a yearly tradition. They will walk 14 kms from their university up the mountain to Wat Pratat Doi Suthep to pay respect.

    There’s only one simple rule with this trekking: Leave no one behind. If your friend’s tired, you have to help. If your friend is a disabilities, you have to push his/her wheelchair. If your friend cannot walk, you have to carry him/her.

    This year’s trekking was 4 days ago (Sep. 12) Good for you that you don’t visit the temple at that time because there are really crowded. Here’s the clip.

    Glad that you seems to like my hometown. Please be our guest again anytime. You are always welcome.

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