If you only see one temple during your time in Chiang Mai, Wat Phra Singh (also known as Wat Phra Sing Waramahawihan) should be it. Set in the heart of the old city, the temple was founded in 1345 and is home to Chiang Mai’s most sacred relic – the Phra Singh (Lion Buddha image).
The temple consists of many buildings, but the most spectacular is the golden wihan that houses the Phra Singh. Look for classic Lanna architectural features like the three-tiered roof, white chedi with an octagonal base, and lion statues guarding the entrance. It is possible to go inside to see the Buddha statue, just remember to remove your shoes first.
Wat Phra Singh is an active temple and lucky visitors may see chanting monks or a blessing ceremony. Many novice monks study here and are happy to practice their English by sitting and chatting with tourists in the temple gardens.
Wat Phra Singh is located inside Chiang Mai’s old city walls at the end of Ratchadamnoen Road. The temple is open to the public from sunrise to sunset. There is no admission fee, but there are donation boxes where you can make a contribution to the temple’s upkeep. Remember to dress respectfully when visiting any Buddhist temple.
The suggested donation is 20B