Take a breathtaking journey through the sacred landscapes of Chiang Mai, where Thailand’s rich cultural heritage and spiritual essence come alive. Explore some of the best temples in Chiang Mai, with hundreds of temples scattered throughout the province, this stunning destination offers endless opportunities for spiritual exploration and cultural enrichment. From the grand and ancient structures that have stood for centuries to the modern shrines that are still full of devotion and reverence, Chiang Mai truly has something for everyone. So come and experience the magic of this truly unique and beautiful place and be swept away by the timeless beauty and serenity that surrounds you.
Once you have seen the first 5 temples in Chiang Mai, you might think you are done:
- But no, there are more !
- They all have their own unique characteristics !
There are many different reasons that make Chiang Mai such a wonderful destination, but one in particular is the rich Buddhist history and the many temples that are here.
“Wat” means temple in Thai.
Table of Contents
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Unleash the spiritual adventurer in you and embark on an unforgettable journey to the revered Doi Suthep Temple, perched atop the mystical Doi Suthep Mountain. Considered the most significant temple in Chiang Mai, this important temple is a pilgrimage site for Buddhists and a beacon of religious devotion for the Thai people.
Enter the temple and be impressed by the gleaming gold Chedi, a symbol of its sanctity. Climbing the 300 steps to the temple is rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views and the opportunity to admire the sacred Buddha statues.
Don’t miss this opportunity to immerse yourself in Thai culture and spirituality. Visit Doi Suthep Temple today and let its beauty and significance change you forever.
- Entrance Fee: 30 Thai Baht and a cable car ticket is 20 Thai Baht.
- Opening Hours: 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. * A cable car closes at 6 pm.
- Map Location: Google Map
Wat Umong Chiang Mai
Embark on an unforgettable journey of spiritual enlightenment at Wat Umong, where 700 years of history meet serene natural beauty. This forest temple at the foot of majestic Mount Doi Suthep features underground tunnels, a Buddha field with broken sculptures, a magnificent stupa, and “talking trees” that speak wise words in Thai and English.
Experience the tranquil surroundings as you take a leisurely stroll and reflect on the teachings of Buddhism. Admire the intricate details of the temple architecture and marvel at the wisdom of the centuries. Feed the fish and turtles in the large garden pond, or simply enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of Wat Umong. Visit it now and be ready to be enchanted by the beauty, wisdom and peace that reign here.
- Entrance Fee: The entrance is free
- Opening Hours: 5:00 am to 8:00 pm.
- Map Location: Google Map
Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai
Built in 1367 with unique Lanna style architecture and located within the city walls of Chiang Mai’s old city, Wat Phra Singh houses a number of highly regarded and very old Buddha statues. The Wat has a very long history and contains many sites of historical significance. It features a copper and gold image of the Buddha Pra Sing as well as a large chedi and an ancient bell.
- Entrance Fee: 20 Thai Baht
- Opening Hours: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
- Map Location: Google Map
Wat Chedi Luang
Immerse yourself in the history of the Lanna Kingdom at Wat Chedi Luang, one of the most popular temples in the old city of Chiang Mai. Once a towering landmark that dominated the cityscape, this temple dates back to 1441 and is a testament to the city’s rich heritage.
Despite the devastating effects of an earthquake in 1545, Wat Chedi Luang captivates visitors with its fascinating past and charm. During your visit to Chiang Mai, don’t miss this destination worth seeing.
Although it is not as golden and bright as the temples in the bigger cities, this temple has its own charm. I love the peace and serenity in this area, which includes many smaller temples.
Experience the magic in all its glory during festivals such as Loy Krathong or New Year, when it turns into a dazzling sea of lights, illuminating the sky with a warm and welcoming glow.
- Entrance Fee: Free
- Opening Hours: 5:00 am to 8:30 pm.
Wat Suan Dok
On the west side of the old city of Chiang Mai is Wat Suan Dok, a Buddhist temple. It was built in 1370 by King Kue Na. Within the complex, there is a row of gleaming white chedis containing the cremated ashes of the royal family of Chiang Mai, and next to them is a gleaming golden pagoda containing Buddha’s relics from a temple in Sukhothai. The other half of the relics were transported on the back of a white elephant that climbed up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. On both sides of the main chedi, the temple is large and white. The wooden prayer hall is covered in shimmering gold leaf and the gilded statues inside are stunning, you will find a standing and a seated Buddha image
The other main attraction is the large gong which is rung three times a day, at sunrise, noon and sunset.
Behind Wat Suan Dok you will find a good vegetarian restaurant called PunPun. It is a pleasure to walk around there in the early morning when it is not too hot, or in the late afternoon when there is a cool breeze. It’s quiet and peaceful there, and the sun seems to shine brighter there too. If you have time, take a walk to the back of the complex where the monks are studying in the classrooms and chatting with friends outside. People can talk to the monks through a service called Monk Chat where the monks can practice their English.
Wat Phra That Doi Kham
Wat Phra That Doi Kham is an interesting temple located on top of the mountain Doi Kham. It is one of my favorite temples. Outside the temple walls is a beautiful giant Buddha statue. Inside the temple walls there is a small glowing chedi, bells and often when we visit the temple the monks bless people. In June after January you have a great panoramic view of the city.
Visiting the temple grounds is a great experience.
Wat Sri Suphan – Silver Temple
Discover the radiant beauty of Wat Sri Suphan, the breathtaking silver temple where handcrafted silver ornaments shine in all their glory. Immerse yourself in the rich history of Chiang Mai, where the unique Lanna architecture takes you back three centuries in time. Located on historic Wualai Road, where silversmithing flourishes, this temple is a must-see for any traveler to the city. But beware, only male visitors can enter the temple. Do not miss this unique opportunity to experience the splendor of the Silver Temple. Your eyes will thank you for going.
Wat Chiang Man
Wat Chiang Man is one of the Chiang Mai’s oldest temple. In this temple, the murals are what stand out the most. The interior offers a wonderful collection of colorful and beautifully painted images. It is a pleasure to look at them. Behind the temple is a large gilded chedi supported by 15 elephant statues to represent the 15 kings who ruled from the city. With the light coming through the trees in the late afternoon, the area is very peaceful. Enjoy a fresh coconut drink from the vendor around the temple.
Wat Lok Molee
Unlike most of the other temples in the city, this one has less carved ornamentation and is less gilded. For this reason, I think it is well worth seeing. There is a lot of history here, including a large vihara, along with an ancient stupa in the back. A beautiful building with wooden architecture, with a deep history. A must see.
Wat Phan Tao
Wat Phan Tao is one of the most famous temples in the heart of the old city of Chiang Mai. The temple structure is beautifully carved from teak wood and gilded naga and houses a huge golden Buddha figure.
During Loy Krathong in November, Wat Phan Tao is lit with yellow and orange lanterns and during a religious ceremony at night, a multitude of candles illuminate the garden while novice monks meditate in front of the Buddha statue. The garden is separated from onlookers by a moat with tea lights floating on the water. After the ceremony, it is a magical sight when the sky lanterns are released into the night sky.
Chiang Mai Temple Tour
Chiang Mai is a great city that has so much to offer tourists from all over the world. The variety of temples and places of worship are part of the beauty of Chiang Mai. If you want to know more about it, our guides will help you organize your trip through Chiang Mai temples.
Visiting temples in Chiang Mai
Each Buddhist temple is different and special in its own way. In Chiang Mai there are over 300 temples to explore and learn about the Buddhist culture of Thailand. It’s amazing to see how they tell the story of Chiang Mai, including many temples and buildings that were built before the city was founded in 1296. We hope you’ll soon have the opportunity to visit and discover these beautiful temples!
Buddhism in Chiang Mai
It was in the late thirteenth century that the rulers of Chiang Mai and Sukhothai made Theravada Buddhism the state religion of Thailand. Therefore, Chiang Mai became an important center for the spread of religion and a missionary enterprise was established until about the fifteenth century. At that time many temples were built and today there are about forty within the walls of the Chiang Mai old city.
Theravada Buddhism is often considered the purest version of this doctrine. In fact, Theravada is more than a religion, but a school of thought that aims to abolish suffering through human action. The community of followers of Theravada forms what is called the Sangha. Religious, members of the Sangha, are isolated in a monastery and lead an ascetic lifestyle to achieve nirvana.
From the age of 8 Thai children can become “novices” and be admitted to a monastery. But only at the age of 20, and only if the novice agrees to the 227 laws of the disciplinary code, can he be ordained. His life will follow a very monotonous rhythm: Alms from villagers, religious meditation, and daily classes. Even if the vows are not eternal, Buddhist monks remain so until death.