One of the landmark cities for tourism in Thailand, definitely can’t miss Chiang Mai on the list. This ancient city is another location with lots of beautiful and artistic temples which mostly are established in the ancient Lanna Kingdom. Those of temples are rich in its local architecture that is so elegant and outstanding attracting to a vast number of tourists to visit those holy places continually. And here we present to you the beautiful temples of Chiang Mai that are not only plentiful in architectural of art but also, they reflect the valuable history of the old kingdom you should not miss visiting while you are taking the trip in this city. And These are Top 10 Must-Visit temples in Chiang Mai;
Must-See Top 10 Temples in Chiang Mai
10Wat Phan Tao
Wat Phan Tao is the temple in the center of Chiang Mai with ages. Initially, the local citizen of Chiang Mai called the temple as “Wat Phan Tao” (the homophone which in Lanna means thousand times) referred to “one merit making can get thousand times of virtue”. Additionally, the temple used to be the site to set up a thousand tripod stoves to cast the Buddha image resulted in the name of the temple accordingly. But the true highlight of the complex is a vihara (sermon hall) which is the most magnificent and perfect in its architecture in this ancient city.
The building made from solid teak wood in Chiang Saen style of art. It is former royal villa “Ho Kham” that King Mahotaraprathet lived, then Lord Inthavitchanon the 7th ruler of Chiang Mai commanded to dismantle the structure and donated to be the vihara of Wat Phan Tao. The old pulpit inside of the hall is a classic style with over century of age, and at the rear is the main pagoda of the monastery which is the octagon bell-shaped stupa environed with the satellite chedis beautifully. The sermon hall or vihara at Wat Phan Tao considered as the oldest and the most beautiful teak wood sermon hall in Chiang Mai.
9Wat Lok Molee
The temple situates in the north of the city moat next to Maneenopparat Road, Sriphum district in Chiang Mai. Wat Lok Molee with more than hundreds of years accepted to be another ancient monastery in Thailand. Most of the visitors travel to the temple to pray for themselves and family to have a good life. And after that, they will sightsee the beauty of the architecture within the compound that is so delicate and aesthetic which is rare to see nowadays. Wat Lok Molee founded by Phra Ketklao in 1527 and it was a period that the temple is abandoned for over centuries.
Later, the temple was repaired and built many new structures and since the beauty of the compound therefore to be the production site of filming the legendary Thai movie “Suriyothai.” Within the complex are lots of valuable and charming architectures, for example, The Tiered spire Pagoda decorated with the figures of celestial over the corners of the chedi, Vihara the new sanctuary that built after the renovation in Lanna design and inside the Buddha image in the attitude of meditation “Phra Buddha Santijira Boromloknart” is housed. Mondop Hall or the squared roof hall of Queen Jiraprapha Maha Devi” which her effigy located, The door arch at the front of vihara with the fascinating fresco art.
8Wat Chiang Man
A religious site that is very important to the residents of Chiang Mai since it considered to be the oldest Buddhist temple of the city and within the city wall area. Once King Mangrai established Chiang Mai city in 1296 the king donated his villa named “Chiang Man” to be the royal monastery and named “Wat Chiang Man.” The complex is a location to house an important Buddha image of Chiang Mai “Phra Setangkhamanee” or “Phra Kaew Khao” (the White Crystal Buddha) which is reverent among local.
Besides Wat Chiang Man is essential in its historical value as the first royal monastery inside the city wall; also the temple is a former learning center of Buddhism in the past. Moreover, the place is the place to collect lots of antiques and ancient remains such as The Mixed Square and Bell shape pagoda with the elephant base (Chedi Chang Lom or the Elephant Pagoda), ordination hall, and Tripitaka Library.
7Wat Sri Suphan
Talking about the handicraft – silverwares and lacquerwares, definitely lots of people would think of “Wat Sri Suphan” village or so-called “Wua Lai” community. The place is famous in the Lanna art of silverware and lacquerwares including other craftsmanship. Additionally, Wat Sri Suphan is the location which the first silver ordination hall in the world exists, and it could say that is “the Unseen Thailand” of Chiang Mai.
The holy place is a valuable learning center of culture, art, and inherent wisdom is sculpture and smithcraft of silver and lacquer. Wua Lai Street community with the mission to inherit the Buddhism, local culture, tradition, and way of life along with the development of the temple to be the potential learning center of the region.
6Wat Phra That Doi Kham
Wat Phra That Doi Kham or formerly name is “Wat Suwan Bunphot” (the Golden Mountain) is a famous temple in making a wish in Chiang Mai. The important temple with more than centuries of age stands upon the Doi Kham mountain backward of the Royal Park Rachapruek or about 15 km from the town. Over there is another perfect viewpoint features the panorama of Chiang Mai city and Chiang Mai International Airport.
Moreover, looking up to the grand pagoda over the mountain at night you will spot the glamorous glow of the pagoda. Apart from that, the monastery also addressed as the landmark before the landing of the airplane in Chiang Mai, too.
5Wat Umong (Suan Phutthatham)
Another old temple in the city which is well-known among the pilgrims. The monastery complex has the great reputation about its connectible tunnel. The temple designed based on the Buddhism Theravada from Sri Lanka which was constructed in the reign of King Mangrai.
Then, King Guena ordered to build a tunnel within the compound for “Maha Chan Thera” a Buddhist monk who proficient in Tripitaka (the Buddhist Inscriptions) used for vipassana meditation site. The highlight of the place is the pleasant and tranquil environment which appeals to lots of people to visit and pilgrimage at the location.
4Wat Suan Dok
Wat Suan Dok or well-known in another name is “Wat Bupharam” which both mean “the Flower Garden Temple” is the third-class royal monastery and one of the most important monasteries in Chiang Mai town. The ancient temple locates at the opposite of the Dental Faculty of Chiang Mai University adjacent to Suthep Road. The compound established in the period of Phra Chao Guena, the 6th King of Mangrai Dynasty of the Lanna Kingdom or in 1371.
Within the holy site is the remarkable structure which is the stupa to store the ashes of the former rulers of Chiang Mai and members of the royalty of northern territory that still maintains its condition perfectly. Nowadays, it registered as the national historic site. Wat Suan Dok has many interesting religious things inside the complex such as the Giant Ceylonese Chedi, “Phra Chao Gao Tue” the gigantic gold Buddha image housed inside the ordination hall, “Phra Buddha Patima Ka Khing” the central Buddha statue in Vihara Luang (the royal sanctuary), etc.
3Wat Phra Singh
Within the city town of Chiang Mai another worshipful and famous temple of this historic city is “Wat Phra Singh” or formal name is “Wat Phra Singh Woramaha Viahara” which is the place to enshrine “Phra Singh” or “Phra Buddha Sihing” the potent religio-political object of Chiang Mai and the Lanna region. The Chiang Saen Buddha image which renowned as “Chiang Saen Singh Nueng”. Wat Phra Singh features the gorgeous architecture of Lanna and also the spiritual center that gathers lots of residents and devotees from all around the country to come and pay respect to the sacred Buddha image.
Every year during the Songkran Festival or known in local “Pee Mai Muang” the administrative office invites the Buddha Sihing to place over the platform on the truck and parade around the city to allow the people to sprinkle the water onto the statue for luck and prosperity. Also, according to the Lanna which believes that one who was born in the year of Serpent should come to pay respect to Phra Singh for once in the life.
2Wat Chedi Luang
Wat Chedi Luang Woravihara or also called Wat Ratchakutakarn and Wat Chotikaram established in the age of Phra Chao Saen Muangma, the 7th king of the Mangrai House of Lanna, however, it has no any evidence of the exact time of establishment. Nonetheless, it assumed that the temple may be founded in 1391 AD. Wat Chedi Luang is an old royal monastery with multiple renovations from time to time.
Presently, the main pagoda is 60 meters wide in each side and considered as one of the most important grand pagodas in Chiang Mai city. The monastery locates in the center of town which formerly believes that it is the administrative center of the Lanna Kingdom. Nowadays, Wat Chedi Luang has lots of sacred things that are worthy for visit – Chedi Luang (the grand pagoda), Inthakhin Pillar, Rubber Tree, Demon Statues, the Hermit Statue, for example.
1Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
The most famous and significant temple in Chiang Mai that is so-called you have not been Chiang Mai without visiting here. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep established in the early 19th Buddhist Century in the reign of King Guena Thammikarat. The unique character of the renowned temple starts from the ascent to the pagoda that installed the seven heads Naga serpent statue. And when we enter the compound, we will spot the Chiang Saen chedi with a high platform. The bell-shaped octagon pagoda covered with 2-layer of Jangko gold followed to the Lanna style. Moreover, the temple also features the excellent viewpoint that you can see the scenery of Chiang Mai town obviously.
Further, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep organizes “Tiew Khuen Doi” event to esteem the Buddha’s relics annually. The religious event set up during Visakha Bucha Day that there is a procession of the pouring water to sprinkle onto the sacred relics. The Buddhist monks, novices, and lots of Buddhist from all directions come to the place to join the ceremony.