Top 12 Must-Visit Temples in Chiang Mai
Due to the history of the city, the temples in Chiang Mai are the city’s most important attractions. By taking a walk through the old town you will probably discover a new, pretty Buddhist temple every few meters. But you can also explore spectacular hidden temples in the forest and temples on mountain. Some of these sacred places in Chiang Mai offer meditation classes, others provide Monk Chat, a possibility to talk with a monk about questions of life. A temple tour is part of every North Thailand trip, but which are the most famous temples in the city? That is not easily answered with a choice of about 200 different temples to see.
This blog post is a guide for the best Temples in Chiang Mai that shouldn`t be missed. In addition, you will receive useful info about a temple tour, the dress code, prices and which temple offer meditation.
Wat Chedi Luang
Wat Chedi Luang is one of the most famous temples in Chiang Mai. This approximately 600-year-old temple is one of the highest buildings in the old town. Built pyramid-like, it stands in the middle of the temple complex and can already be seen from afar. But also the other temples of the area are impressive. For example, here you will find a beautiful reclining Buddha and you can listen to monks praying. Above all, in the morning or in the late afternoon, you will experience an incredibly beautiful and tranquil atmosphere.
Tip: At Wat Chadi Luang you have the opportunity to talk with monks at the Monk Chat. A great opportunity to learn more about Buddhism in Thailand.
- Opening Hours: Wat Chedi Luang opens from 06:00 am to 6:30 pm.
- Prices: The entrance fee to Wat Chedi Luang costs 40 Baht.
Wat Lok Molee
Wat Lok Molee, or also known as Wat Lok Mo Li, is located outside the city walls in northern Chiang Mai. With its many beautiful details, the woodwork inside the temple and the extraordinary architecture, it is one of the most impressive temples in Chaing Mai. Especially nice are the elephant figures, which are located directly at the temple entrance. All the design and the color scheme in silver and brown is different from the other temples which gleaming in gold elements. Wat Lok Molee is one of the most beautiful temples in Chiang Mai and definitely worth a visit. Also, if you love photography, you will find plenty of beautiful picture motifs in the whole complex.
- Price: Admission to Wat Lok Mollee is free of charge.
- Opening hours: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Wat Phra Singh
Located right in the Old City of Chiang Mai, Wat Phra Singh is one of the city’s major attractions. Classed as the highest grade of the first-class Royal temples, this temple jewel is a must on any temple tour of Chiang Mai. But not only the temple complex with its golden chedi and the incredibly beautiful architectural details are interesting. Also the deceptively real wax figures representing monks are worth seeing. As it is a famous temple for locals, as well as for tourists, you have to expect many visitors here.
- Price: The entrance to Wat Phra Singh costs 20 Baht.
- Opening hours: 06:00 am to 5:00 pm
Wat Chiang Man
Wat Chaing Man is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai (1296) and should not be missed on any temple tour. In this complex there are several beautiful things to discover. Particularly impressive are the 15 elephant figures on the base of the large chedi, the lotus pond, an old beautiful wooden library and the Ubosot. In addition, there are two important statues in Wat Chiang Man: The Phra-Sila statue and the Crystal Buddha, which are hidden behind a lattice window. This temple is located in the northeast of the old city of Chiang Mai and a visit is highly recommended.
- Price: Admission to Wat Chiang Man is free.
- Opening hours: 06:00 am to 5:00 pm
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
The Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, also known as the Elephant Temple, is probably the most beautiful and most famous temple in Chiang Mai. This golden temple is located on a mountain, the Doi Suthep mountain in the same named Doi Suthep National Park and is one of the ultimate landmarks of this region. For a visit one should be light on one’s feet, because the temple complex can be reached only via a long staircase (Naga stairs), which is decorated with snakes. After more than 300 stairs you will reach the top. Marvel at the large gilded chedi, the beautiful Buddha statues and the amazing view. Almost on every trip to Chiang Mai, this beautiful temple is high up on bucket lists. Accordingly, one has to expect many tourist groups, but they can be skipped when visiting the temple early in the morning.
Tip: Doi Suthep Temple offers meditation classes. They are offer for 4 to 21 days and cost only a voluntary donation.
- Opening Hours: The Doi Suthep Temple is open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm
- Price: The entrance to Wat Phra Doi Suthep costs 50 Baht per person.
Wat Suan Dok
This temple is one of the most beautiful temples in Chiang Mai. Especially impressive is the completely white cemetery, the about 48 meter high chedi and the huge temple hall with the big 5 meter high Buddha statue. When walking through the area you immediately realize that the Wat Suan Dok is an absolute place of peace. Regularly, there is also a possibility participate a Monk chat. In addition, meditation retreats are offered at Wat Suan Dok.
- Price: Entry to Wat Suan Dok is 40 baht per person.
- Opening hours: 06:00 am to 05:00 pm
The Wat Umang is one of the most interesting temples in the city. Located in the mountains and inside a jungle, this temple is also known as the tunnel temple or often also called the forest temple. Under an approximately 700 years old Chedi is a tunnel system located, in which one can discover Buddha statues of all sizes in almost every niche. Another highlight of this temple complex is a fishpond, where believers feed fish and the beautiful “talking trees” – where quotes and wisdoms help visitors to reflect. The tunnel temple Wat Umong is still one of the insider tips in Chiang Mai, the perfect place far away from mass tourism.
- Price: Admission is free.
- Opening hours: 06:00 am – 05:00 pm
Wat Phan Tao
Wat Phan Tao is another beautiful temple in the heart of Chiang Mai old town. This wooden temple is mostly made of teak and shines with many fantastic ornaments. The warm wood conjures up a really contemplative and calm atmosphere. This beautiful little temple is located just near the famous Wat Chedi Luang, so you can optimally combine a visit to these two temple highlights.
- Price: Entry to Wat Phan Tao is free.
- Opening hours: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Wat Chet Yot
This Buddhist place is located just outside the city and therefore it is probably still one of the most hidden temples in Chiang Mai. Here at Wat Chet Yot are several old chedis, adorned with beautiful stucco figures. During a walk through the large temple complex you will quickly notice the many snake figures, which are a special feature of Wat Chet Yot. Thus, this snake temple has always been a pilgrimage site for believers born in the Chinese Year of the Snake.
- Opening hours: 6:00 am – 6:00 pm
- Price: Entry to Wat Chet Yot is free.
Wat Sri Suphan – Silver Temple
The Wat Sri Suphan, better known as the Silver Temple in Chiang Mai, is another highlight of the city. The entrance to the temple is just outside the old town, at the same street where the famous Walking Street takes place on Saturday (Wualai Road). Outside as well as inside, this sacred site is beautifully decorated. With its very own appearance, this temple in Chiang Mai is truly unique and definitely worth a visit. Unfortunately, women are not allowed to enter the Silver Temple, but even from the outside, this silver temple is a dream. Tip: At night this temple beautifully lit and then shines purple-blue.
- Price: Admission to the Silver Temple is 50 baht.
- Opening hours: 6:00 am – 9:00 pm
Wat Phra That Doi Kham
The Wat Phra That Doi Kham, or the Temple of the Golden Mountain, is one of the absolute insider tips of the city. Just outside, located on a hill, this temple is certainly one of the most beautiful temple complexes of Chaing Mai. The view is terrific and offers many great photo opportunities. The Wat Phra That Doi Kham blends old, its 1,300-year-old history, with many great new elements. The Big Buddha, the beautiful terrace and the many statues and details impress, and it is well worth going there. Tip: Go early in the morning, the atmosphere is unique.
- Price: Entry to Wat Phra That Doi Kham is 30 baht.
- Opening hours: 08:00 am to 5:00 pm
The Wat Rajamontean is a truly colorful temple and shines with colorful details and many ornaments. This temple is especially captivating with the beautiful, large sitting Buddha, just next to the temple building. Although this sacred site is not one of the most famous temples in Chiang Mai, it is still beautiful to look at. The temple is located north of Chiang Mai’s Old Town and can be combined with a visit to Wat Lok Molee.
- Price: Entry to Wat Rajamentean is free.
Tips for a visit to the temples in Chiang Mai:
- Dress code: compliance with the dress code is a must do at a temple visit. It is generally advisable to always have a cloth or a pair of trousers and a T-shirt with you. When entering a temple, the shoes must be removed. So, shoes that you can easily take of are an advantage.
- Rules: Taking pictures inside temples is allowed. Do not disturb people while praying and behave calmly. If you like, you can sit down and stay in the temple for a while. Make sure that your toes do not point towards the Buddha, but towards the back.
- Tours: Temple tours are offered in Chiang Mai. On a half day tour or full day tour you have the possibility to explore the best temples of the city and to learn more about the history. Check out the following tours here:
White Temple Tours
The White Temple and The Blue Temple are not located in Chiang Mai, but you can also book a tour from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai to visit these two famous temples.
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