Chiang Mai is a city in northern Thailand that’s loaded with culture. It’s a busy city with temples built throughout it.  There’s definitely something magical about it!

One of the most popular parts of Chiang Mai is the Old City area.  This portion of the city is surrounded by a moat and still includes pieces of the original walls.  In the 1990’s the city underwent an extensive restoration project to preserve the historic culture.

There are 100’s of temples to visit and there’s no way you can (or want to) visit them all.  So we’ve put together 6 of the best temples that you need to see when you visit Chiang Mai.

Lets go over a couple things before we get to the temples. 

  1.  Clothing:  When visiting a temple, wear pants or a skirt that covers your knees. Shoes must be removed.
  2. Getting to the temples:  We opted to rent a scooter to explore Chiang Mai.  However, the roads are crazy and you may not want to navigate them yourself.  You can jump in a taxi’s or Tuk tuk’s, they are all pretty cheap. Most of these temples are close enough to walk so you can choose to explore by foot.

The 6 Temples you need to see

Wat Suan Dok

This monastery was built on a flower garden in 1373.  It features a large, gilded chedi & a bunch of white memorial chedi.  Each of those honor a member of the Thai royal family.


Wat Phra Singh

The temple is also an important religious site, attracting a large amount of worshippers both to the main building.  Here you will find a famous Buddha image known as Phra Singh, aka the Lion Buddha.


Wat Chedi Luang

This temple was built in the 15th-century has a huge Lanna-style chedi. Wat Chedi Luang once held the famous Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha) that has has been removed for safety reasons. In its place sits a jade replica which was a gift from the Thai king in 1995 to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the chedi.


Wat Chiang Man

Wat Chiang Man is the oldest temple in the city.  It was created by Phaya Mengrai around 1296. In front of the ordination hall lies an chedi on top of a stone slab, carved with dragons, elephants and an engraving from 1581 that is the earliest known reference to the Chiang Mai’s origin.


Wat Pan Tao

This temple was bult in the mid 1800’s and was carved from teak wood.  At one time it was part of a royal palace. Look for the peacock and dog image on the face of the temple.  It represents the astrological year of birth of the royal resident who once lived here.


Wat Doi Suthep: This temple is the most famous temple in Chiang Mai.  Whether you are on motorbike or a car the journey up the winding mountain road is an experience in itself.  At the top of the mountain you walk up 309 steps to reach the 600-year-old golden chedi at the top that towers above the surrounding temple building and monks’ living quarters.  Get up there at sunset for an amazing view of the entire city


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