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?