This ancient Buddhist temple, built in 1345, houses an important Buddha statue: the Phra Buddha Sihing. It is one of Chiang Mai’s most famous temples, located in the western side of Old Town, just steps away from the gay-popular 5-star Rachamankha Hotel.
This is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai and considered by many as one of the best. Wat Chiang Man was built in 1296 by King Mengrai as the city’s first Royal Temple. Its oldest structure is Chedi Chang Lom, a gold-spired square chedi with 15 life-sized brick-and-stucco elephants above the base.
Built around 600 years ago, Wat Chedi Luang once housed the precious Emerald Buddha. On the temple grounds is the city pillar (Lak Mueang) of Chiang Mai. A week-long festival takes place every year in May in honour of the pillar.
The temple is located in the heart of the historic Old Town, just around the corner from the highly recommended, gay-friendly U Chiang Mai Hotel.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is 15 kilometres from the city centre (a 30-minute drive). Within this sacred site are pagodas, statues and shrines. Visitors can climb 309 steps to reach the pagodas or take a tram (50 baht for a two-way ride). Appropriate attire must be worn.
Impressive views of Chiang Mai can be seen from the temple and remains a popular tourist spot.
Tip: Also visit the Bhubing Palace, located 4 km from Doi Suthep temple. The Royal Residence was built in 1961 to accommodate the royal family during their visits to northern Thailand.
Unlike many of Chiang Mai’s major temples, Wat Chet Yot (or Wat Photharam Maha Wihan) is seldom visited by tourists. It was built in 1455 and features a unique architectural style that resembles the Mahabodhi Temple in India.
Chet Yot (meaning “seven spires” in Thai) offers an interesting and quiet place, away from the crowds.
Located northwest of downtown Chiang Mai, along Highway 11, the temple is an easy taxi ride to Warm Up café the trendy shops, boutiques and restaurants around Nimmanhaemin Road.