Top 12 Amazing Temples in Chiang Mai!
Due to the history the Temples in Chiang Mai are the most important attractions of the city. 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 in the mountains. Some of these sacred places in Chiang Mai offer meditation classes, others provide Monk Chat, a possibility to speak with a monk about questions of life. Many of the temples are among the most essential things to do in Chiang Mai, and a visit is almost a must on every 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 travel guide is all about the best Temples in Chiang Mai. In addition, you will receive useful information and tips about a perfect Chiang Mai temple tour, the dress code, prices and which temple offer meditation.
Wat Chedi Luang
The Wat Chedi Luang is probably one of the most impressive temples in Chiang Mai. This holy site was founded during the reign of King Saen Muang Ma in the 14th century. It dates back over 600 years and remains one of the highest buildings in the ancient city. The huge chedi is said to have once been about 82 meters high. Built like a pyramid, it stands in the middle of the temple complex and can be seen from afar. But also the other temples of this complex, like the Viharn Lai Kham and the Viharn Phra Sai are impressive. For example, you can find a beautiful reclining Buddha and listen to the monks praying. Especially in the morning or in the late afternoon, you can experience an unbelievably beautiful and quiet atmosphere.
Tip: At Wat Chadi Luang you have the opportunity to talk to monks at the Monk Chat. A great opportunity to learn more about Buddhism in Thailand.
- Opening Hours: Wat Chedi Luang opens from 05:00 am to 10:00 pm.
- Prices: The entrance fee to Wat Chedi Luang costs 50 Baht.
Wat Lok Molee
Wat Lok Molee, or also written Wat Lok Mo Li, is located outside the city walls in the north of Chiang Mai. This temple was first mentioned in 1367. Because of its many beautiful details, the woodwork in the temple and the unusual architecture, it is one of the most interesting temples in the city. The elephant statues at the entrance of the temple are particularly fascinating. But also the construction and the color design in silver and brown differ from the otherwise shining gold elements of other temple buildings. Thus, there are beautiful photo motifs throughout the complex. Wat Lok Molee is one of the most beautiful temples in Chiang Mai and definitely worth a visit.
- Price: Admission to Wat Lok Mollee is free of charge.
- Opening hours: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Wat Phra Singh
The Wat Phra Singh is one of the most important sights of the city and is located right in the old town of Chiang Mai. It is a first class royal temple and, unquestionably, this temple jewel is a must on any temple tour of Chiang Mai. With its curved roofs and rich decorations, it is an impressive example of classical Lanna architecture. But not only the temple complex with its golden chedi and the incredibly beautiful architectural details are interesting. The absolutely lifelike wax figures of monks are also worth seeing. Popular with locals and tourists alike, you can expect numerous visitors here.
- Price: The entrance to Wat Phra Singh costs 40 Baht.
- Opening hours: 09:00 am to 6:00 pm
Wat Chiang Man
Wat Chiang Man is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai, founded in 1296, and should not be missed on any temple tour of the city. There are many beautiful things to discover in this area. Particularly impressive are the 15 elephant figures at the base of the large chedi, the lotus pond, an old beautiful wooden library and the Ubosot. In addition, two important statues can be found in Wat Chiang Man: the Phra Sila statue and the Crystal Buddha, which is hidden behind a lattice window. This temple is located in the northeast of the old town 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 is probably the most scenic and famous temple in Chiang Mai. It is located on a mountain, the Doi Suthep Mountain in the Doi Suthep National Park of the same name and is one of the ultimate landmarks of this region. To visit the temple you need to be good on your feet, as the temple complex is reached via a long staircase (Naga staircase), which is beautifully decorated with snakes. Once at the top, you will be amazed by the large gilded chedi, the magnificent Buddha statues and the spectacular view. Almost every trip to Chiang Mai includes a visit to this stunning temple. You can expect to see a lot of tourist groups, but you can easily avoid them early in the morning.
Tip: Doi Suthep Temple offers meditation classes. They are offered for 4 to 21 days and cost only a voluntary donation.
- Opening Hours: The Doi Suthep Temple is open from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm
- Price: The entrance to Wat Phra Doi Suthep costs 50 Baht per person.
Wat Suan Dok
The temple of Wat Suan Dok is considered to be one of the most beautiful temples in Chiang Mai. The name “Wat Suan Dok” translated means “Temple of the Flower Garden”. This name has its origin in the gardens that once adorned the grounds of the temple. Particularly impressive are the completely white cemetery, the approximately 48 meter high Chedi and the huge temple hall with the large 5-meter-high Buddha statue. Walking through the area, one immediately notices that Wat Suan Dok is a place of absolute tranquility. Regularly, this temple also offers the opportunity to participate in monk chats several times a week. Meditation retreats are also offered.
- Price: Entry to Wat Suan Dok is 40 baht per person.
- Opening hours: 06:00 am to 05:00 pm
Wat Umong is probably one of the most interesting temples in the city. Located in the mountains and jungle of Chiang Mai, this temple is also known as the Tunnel Temple or often called the Temple of the Forest. Beneath the 700-year-old Chedi is a system of tunnels where you can find Buddha statues of all sizes in almost every niche. Wat Umong is an important place for meditation practices and serves as a refuge for monks who retreat to the seclusion of the forest. Other highlights of this temple complex include the fishpond, where devotees feed fish, and the “talking trees” – where beautiful sayings and wisdom inspire reflection.
This temple is still one of the insider tips in Chiang Mai, the perfect place to get away from the tourist crowds. In addition, this temple also offers meditation classes, both for the beginner and for the more experienced meditator.
- Price: The entrance fee is 20 baht per person.
- Opening hours: 06:00 am – 08:00 pm
Wat Phan Tao
Wat Phantao is another beautiful temple located in the heart of the old town of Chiang Mai and very close to the famous Wat Phra Singh temple. Its name means something like “temple of a thousand stoves”. This wooden temple is mostly made of teak wood and shines with its fantastic decorations. The warm wood creates a very contemplative and peaceful atmosphere. In addition, the temple Wat Phantao houses a Buddha statue called Phra Buddha Singh, which is carried in a procession through the city during the Songkran festival. This beautiful small temple is located right next to the famous Wat Chedi Luang, so you can combine a visit to these 2 temple highlights perfectly.
- Price: Entry to Wat Phan Tao is free.
- Opening hours: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Wat Chet Yot
This Buddhist temple Wat Chet Yot is located about 5 kilometers outside the city and therefore probably still belongs to the insider tips among the most beautiful temples of Chiang Mai. Wat Chet Yot impresses with its unusual, eye-catching architecture. It is a rare architectural style in Thailand, reminiscent of the Mahabodhi stupa in Bodh Gaya, India. There are several ancient chedis on the grounds, adorned with beautiful stucco figures. Walking through the extensive temple complex, you will quickly notice the many snake figures, which are a distinctive feature of Wat Chet Yot. Thus, this temple has always been a pilgrimage site for believers who were 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, is a real highlight of the city. The entrance to the temple is just outside the old town, on the same street where the Saturday Walking Street takes place. The architecture of the temple is impressive and unique. The entire main building is covered in silver, making Wat Sri Suphan one of the few silver temples in Thailand. Thanks to its special appearance, this temple in Chiang Mai is truly unique, and a visit is definitely recommended. Unfortunately, women are not allowed to enter the Silver Temple, but even from the outside this Silver Temple is a dream.
Tip: A visit in the evening is also recommended. At night, the temple is beautifully illuminated and 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, also called the Temple of the Golden Mountain, is one of the absolute insider tips of the city. Situated a bit out of town on a hill, this temple is certainly one of the most beautiful temple complexes in Chiang Mai. The view is also magnificent and offers many great photo opportunities. Wat Phra That Doi Kham mixes the old, its 1,300-year history, with many great new elements. The main attraction of the temple is the impressive gold leaf covered Chedi. But also the big Buddha, the beautiful terrace and the many statues and details impress and make a visit to this fascinating temple in Chiang Mai worthwhile.
Tip: Go early in the morning, the atmosphere is unique.
- Price: Entry to Wat Phra That Doi Kham is free.
- Opening hours: 08:00 am to 5:00 pm
The Wat Rajamontean is a really colorful temple and shines with its brightly colored dragons and numerous decorations. The main attraction is the wonderful, large sitting Buddha right next to the temple building. This holy place is not one of Chiang Mai’s most historic temples, but it is nice to see. The temple is in the north of the old town of Chiang Mai and can be a combination 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 as appropriate: Dress code should be observed when visiting a temple. It is generally recommended to have a scarf or long pants and a T-shirt with you at all times. Shoes must be removed when entering a temple. Shoes that are easy to put on and take off are an advantage.
- Taking pictures: It is usually allowed to take pictures inside the temples. However, do not disturb the worshippers while they are praying and be quiet. In some temples, photography and filming are restricted to certain areas.
- Tours: We explored the temples of Chiang Mai on our own by scooter. For some tourists, it is difficult to drive a scooter in Chiang Mai, so you might consider booking a guided temple tour.
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