Chiang Mai Travel Guide -> Sightseeing -> Temple Visits I
This tour takes you to some of the most beautiful and most important Buddhist temples of Chiang Mai. You need a rental car (a car with chauffeur is recommended, as the traffic conditions in Chiang Mai are almost as difficult as in Bangkok), or, alternatively, you can hire Tuk-Tuks to take you from one temple to the other (but remember to negotiate the fare before you enter the Tuk-Tuk). The distances are a little bit to big for walking.

The first temple you visit is Wat Suan Dok. Wat Suan Dok is located outside the city walls on Suthep Road. The Wat ("Wat" means "monastery"; it is not just one shrine, but a collection of buildings and monuments within a temple courtyard, see Glossary of Thai Buddhist Temple Terms) has two major attractions: The first is its big wooden Viharn that is built in the style of an open-sided pavillion and houses a 500-year old Buddha image. The second attraction is outside the Viharn where you`ll see a brilliant white Chedi that was built in the fourteenth century. Next to it are a large number of smaller, also brilliant white Chedis under which the ashes of Chiang Mai nobles have been buried.

Chedis at Wat Suan Dok (with Doi Suthep in the Background)

The next stop on this tour is Wat Chedi Jet Yod. It is located on Nimmanhemmin Road, next to the Chiang Mia National Museum. The most interesting building here is the large, ancient Chedi that is decorated with beautiful stucco statues. While you are there you should also pay a visit to the Museum that houses a fine collection of Lanna Buddhist art.

The last temple on this tour is Wat Chiang Mun, located  near the old Chang Puak City gate. You or your driver just follow Nimmanhemin Road until the intersection with Chotana Road and then turn right and  follow Chotana Road until past the Thai Airways office after which you turn left. At the next street corner you find Wat Chiang Mun (Chiang Mai chauffeurs or tuk-tuk drivers know the way).

Wat Chiang Mun is one of the oldest temples in Chiang Mai, It was built in the year 1296. It has two beautiful Viharns and the one on the right houses Chiang Mai`s most important Buddha image, the Phra Setang Kamani. (It is the tiny crystal figure on the altar.) It is believed to be able to bring rain and to protect the city from fire. Also noteworthy are the walls of the Viharn that depict scenes from the Life of Buddha. In the back of the  temple courtyard is a large square Chedi from the 15th century. Its base is made up of 15 stone elephants.

Chedi of Wat Chiang Mun
Chedi of Wat Chiang Mun

There is a lot more to be seen in Wat Chiang Mun and you can literally spend an hour or more there. The Ho Trai (the library that contains the temple`s copies of the sacred scripts) is decorated with stunning lacquer panels and wood carvings and the Viharn on the left has very fine teak panels on the gable. Inside are several beautiful bronze Buddha images. If the Bot (the ordination hall) in the left corner of the temple complex  happens to be open, you can also have look inside that one and find more bronze statues.

After the visit to Wat Chiang Mun you can head back to your hotel (or, if is already in the late afternoon, to the Night Market in Chang Klang Road) or, if you would like to see some more temples, add Temple Tour No.2.

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Last Updated 10.02.2007