Chiang Mai Temple Trail
By Viator, July 2013
Wat Phra Singh: If you only see one temple in Chiang Mai, Wat Phra Singh should be it. The temple dates back to the 14th century when it was constructed to house the sacred Phra Singh Buddha image which traveled to Thailand all the way from Sri Lanka. The temple is a perfect example of Lanna (northern Thai) architecture with a three-tiered roof, intricate goldwork, and an enormous chedi.
Wat Chiang Man: This Buddhist temple is as old as the city of Chiang Mai itself and was founded in 1296. Much restoration work has been done since, but the temple’s ancient charms have been retained, like the golden chedi with a base of life-sized elephant carvings. Wat Chiang Man also houses two very small but very sacred Buddha images believed to be thousands of years old.
Wat Chedi Luang: Literally meaning “the temple of the big stupa”, during the 15th century Wat Chedi Luang was the largest structure in all the Lanna Kingdom. Today the temple is partly in ruins, but that doesn’t detract from the awesome sight of the great stupa and its carvings of elephants and multi-headed serpents.
Wat Suan Dok: This 14th century temple is known for its 48-meter high chedi which towers above the rest of Chiang Mai’s old city and is believed to enshrine a relic from Buddha himself. Wat Suan Dok also hosts meditation workshops and “Monk Chats” where novice monks practice their English by chatting with tourists about Buddhism and Thai culture.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep: It’s worth making the pilgrimage to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, the famed mountain-top temple outside of Chiang Mai. The site has been a holy place for more than 1200 years and is now home to a traditional Thai temple as well as an International Buddhism Center. It’s the perfect place to learn more about Buddhism while enjoying panoramic views of Chiang Mai.