This partially ruined wat, possibly the largest structure in ancient Chiang Mai, dates back to the year 1441 and is most famous as the former home of the incredible Emerald Buddha. Nowadays, a jade replica fills the eastern niche of Wat Chedi Luang (you can see the original in Bangkok at the Wat Phra Kaew).The Basics
Wat Chedi Luang ranks among Chiang Mai’s most important temples, with a lot to see and do on its sprawling grounds. In addition to the towering chedi
(stupa) flanked by five elephant sculptures, visitors will find two prayer halls, a smaller carved teak temple, and a few other buildings housing Buddhist statues.
Many walking, biking, and Segway tours of the Old City stop at Wat Chedi Luang. Those with a particular interest in Thai Buddhism can opt for a temples tour of the city, which often includes Wat Chiang Man, Wat Phrasing, and Lai Kham Chapel as well. There is a small entrance fee to visit the temple.Things to Know Before You Go
When to Get There
- Wat Chedi Luang is a must-visit for spiritual travelers and first-time visitors.
- Remember to dress respectfully with your shoulders and knees covered.
- Tours of Chiang Mai that feature Wat Chedi Luang can last anywhere from two hours to half a day.
- How to Get There
- Wat Chedi Luang is in the center of the moated Old City of Chiang Mai, near Th Ratchadamnoen. If you’re outside the Old City, the easiest way to get there is by tuk-tuk.
Wat Chedi Luang is open daily throughout the year, but the best time to visit, especially if you want to talk with one of the monks, is first thing in the morning when the grounds open to visitors.Daily Monk Chats
If you’ve ever wanted to chat with a Buddhist monk, pull up a chair at Wat Chedi Luang. Throughout the day, monks can often be seen waiting along the north side of the temple grounds, indicating that they’re free for a chat. You’ll learn more about Buddhism and the day-to-day life of a monk in Thailand, while the monks get to practice their English—a win-win.