Chiang Mai and the surrounding areas boasts big number of stunning ancient temples. Our TOP 10 of the most impressive Chiang Mai temples will help you to make a choice.
1. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is one of the most famous and important temples in Chiang Mai and it’s a must see on your trip to Chiang Mai. The temple was built on the top of Doi Suthep (Suthep Mountain) in 1383 to enshrine Buddha’s relics. Not only Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is very beautiful by itself but its terrace offers breath-taking panoramic views of Chiang Mai and surrounding countryside.
The temple is less than a 30 minute songtaew ride up the mountain. Opening hours: 6am – 5pm.
2. Wat Chedi Luang
Wat Chedi Luang is another must see temple in Chiang Mai. The temple got its name from Chiang Mai’s largest Buddhist chedi housed in the temple as “luang” means “large” in northern dialect. Wat Chedi Luang was built in 14th and 15th centuries but the current chedi was later restored after an earthquake made a huge damage to it. The ordination hall located in the front is an example of beautiful Lanna architecture.
Wat Chedi Luang is located almost at the centre of the walled old city of Chiang Mai. Opening hours: Daily 6am - 5pm.
3. Wat Phra Singh
Wat Phra Singh is an important temple and a major monastery in Chiang Mai. Located on the west side of the old city of Chiang Mai, Wat Phra Singh is an impressive temple with golden chedis and beautiful viharns (assembly halls). Wat Phra Singh was built in 1345 and named by Phra Singh Buddha image which is housed there.
Wat Phra Singh is located just at the end of Ratchadamnoen Road. Opening hours: Daily 6am - 5pm.
4. Wat Umong
Wat Umong is the only forest temple in the city of Chiang Mai. The temple complex is located in the forested foothills of Doi Suthep mountain. Wat Umong is a very unusual temple with large chedi on the flat hilltop and an underground complex of brick lined meditation tunnels under it. The temple was built in the 14th century for a revered monk. Nowadays the temple complex also has a monastery. There is a large lake with a small island near the temple as well.
Wat Umong is located about 2 kilometres to the west of the old city on Suthep Road. Opening hours: Daily 6am - 5pm.
5. Wat Suan Dok
Wat Suan Dok once was a flower garden of royal family before an order to establish the royal temple and the monastery on the land was issued in late 14th century. The temple is quite unusual and several unique features you can see there - the large 48 meter high bell shaped chedi enshrining the Buddha’s relics from Sukhothai, a group of various sized white washed mausoleums, which house the cremation ashes of members of the royal family of Chiang Mai and a large open sided viharn (assembly hall) with Buddha statue.
Wat Suan Dok is located on Suthep Road, just 1 km to the west of Suan Dok Gate. Opening hours: Daily 6am - 9pm.
6. Wat Chiang Man
Wat Chiang Man is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai as the construction of it started in 1306, just 10 years after the founding of the city. The temple contains two precious Buddha images: the Crystal Buddha (Phra Sae Tang Khamani) and the Marble Buddha (Phra Sila Buddha). The chedi of Wat Chiang Man is unusual as the base of it is made of grey stone with 15 life-size elephant carved and the top of chedi is covered by gold. Despite being located in the old city of Chiang Mai this temple is rarely crowded making it a great place for relaxing just in the middle of the city.
Wat Chiang Man is located at the north-eastern part of the old city, on Ratchaphakhinai Road. Opening hours: Daily 6am - 5pm.
7. Wat Pha Lat
Wat Pha Lat is a hidden gem of Chiang Mai and one of our personal favourite temples in the area. This jungle temple is a calm and mostly unvisited place, making it a perfect place for relaxing and meditation. Wat Pha Lat is a surreal mix of natural flora, waterfall, ancient statues and stone buildings. The temple was built as a resting place for monks in the middle of their way to Wat Doi Suthep atop the hill. Now Wat Pha Lat is mostly used as a meditation site for monks but it’s original purpose is not forgotten, a hiking trail leading from the city to Wat Doi Suthep is still used by monks or adventurous enough travellers. Get ready for the challenge!
Wat Pha Lat is located the road to Doi Suthep, about 5 kilometres from the Chiang Mai Zoo.
8. Wat Phan Tao
Wat Phan Tao is an ancient temple that is located right next to the famous Wat Chedi Luang in the old city of Chiang Mai. Wat Phan Tao is one of the oldest temples in the city constructed in the late 14th century. Once it served as a throne hall for the ruler of Chiang Mai. Now it is best known for its Lanna-style viharn (assembly hall) entirely made of teakwood.
Wat Phan Tao is located next to Wat Chedi Luang, the centre of the walled old city of Chiang Mai. Opening hours: 7am - 5pm
9. Wat Buppharam
Wat Buppharam is a temple located just outside the old city of Chiang Mai. The temple is best recognized for its Burmese style chedi , beautiful wooden Lanna-style viharn and the two story Ho Monthian Tham, the Dhamma hall with a walking Buddha image in front of it. Wat Buppharam houses the largest teak wood Buddha image in Thailand as well.
Wat Buppharam is located outside the old city on Tha Phae road, east of Tha Phae gate. Opening hours: Daily 6am - 5pm
10. Wat Saen Muang Ma Luang
Wat Saen Muang Mai Luang is a beautiful Burmese temple located on the northern side of the old city of Chiang Mai. If a trip to Myanmar is not on your list, it will help you to get a glimpse to Burmese architecture style. The lack of tourists visiting this temple makes it even more attractive.
Wat Saen Muang Mai Luang is located on the northern side of the old city on Prapokklao Road, not far from Chang Phuak gate. Opening hours: Daily 6am - 5pm.
Tips on visiting temples in Chiang Mai
Read Etiquette for Visiting Temples in Thailand and get familiar with proper behaviour while visiting Thai temples.