Thailand

Three Temples You Must Visit in Chiang Mai, Thailand

THREE CHIANG MAI TEMPLES YOU CAN’T MISS

Thailand, temples everywhere. It’s incredible, but can also foster a sense of ‘must see and do everything’. Even if you tried, you wouldn’t make it to all the temples in Chiang Mai or other places you may visit in this beautiful country.

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Chiang Mai is a beautiful historic city in northern Thailand. It’s known for its relaxed, fun vibe, great street food, plentiful restaurants and bars, good coffee and a quaint old town.

The other thing that makes Chiang Mai special?

The number of temples lining its streets- I’ve heard there are over 30 of them. I prioritized visiting a few of the famed temples, but would love to make it to some of the ones I missed if I’m ever back in Chiang Mai.

Whether you’re short on time in Chiang Mai or lingering for a while, don’t miss these three temples for their history, significance, and beauty. 

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WAT DOI SUTHEP 

Revered as one of the most important temples in all of Thailand, Doi Suthep is worth the journey to get there.

It’s located at the top of a mountain outside of town- to get to the temple entrance, take a Grab, or hop in a Songethaw if you’re on a budget (group taxi in the back of a truck).

I opted to take a Grab there since I was short on time, but hopped in a departing Songethaw to get back to the city.

Once at the entrance, you’ll need to climb 309 stairs to reach the top. Promise it’s worth the effort.

Not only is the temple stunning, but the surrounding complex is full of interesting things to observe, and there’s a great view of Chiang Mai.

The temple is considered one of the holiest places of worship in Thailand. It was beautiful watching Thais visit- their awe for the temple made me appreciate being there even more so.

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WAT PHRA SINGH

Known as the most popular temple in Thailand, by visitor numbers, Wat Phra Singh is located in old town, only a short walk from Wat Chedi Luang.

The temple is so popular because it houses Chiang Mai’s most important Buddha image, the Lion Buddha (check out the small chapel at the back of the complex to see it). The Lion Buddha dates back to 1345, back when Chiang Mai was a growing part of the Lanna Kingdom.

It’s my belief this temple is also popular with visitors because of the big, bold golden chedis (back of the temple complex). When the morning sun shines on them, they positively sparkle.

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WAT CHEDI LUANG

Located in the middle of the old city, Wat Chedi Luang looks like many of the other temples in Thailand when you first enter. 

Keep going to the courtyard though, and you’ll see what makes this temple so special architecturally.

Built in the early 1400s, Wat Chedi Luang was as one of the tallest buildings in Chiang Mai before collapsing during an earthquake in 1545. Reconstructed in the 1990s, it’s famed for housing the Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha). You can see a jade replica in the east-facing side. The original Buddha is at the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

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And, as a reminder, make sure you’re dressed appropriately to enter temples. This means having your shoulders and knees covered, both men and women. I usually carry a scarf with me in case I decide to go into a temple and need it, but many of them offer sarongs to rent.

It’d be smart to carry Baht as well to cover the temple entrance fees– they’re usually minimal (typically ranging from 10-50 baht per person), but it’d be a shame to be unable to go in because you have to find an ATM.

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Have you ever been to Chiang Mai or visited other temples in Thailand? Which ones were your favourites? Did you find this Chiang Mai temples guide helpful? 

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