Visiting Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai

One of the most important temples in the northern region of Thailand at Chiang Mai is the iconic Wat Phra That Doi Suthep or golden temple of Chiang Mai. Built in 1383, the holy temple is said to house a relic bone of the Buddha from a monk that came up from Sukothai. The legend has it that one of the bones was mounted on a sacred white elephant that died in the jungle and is now the site of where Doi Suthep is founded.



Stairs and Naga serpants Visiting Wat Phra That Doi Suthep


To get to the top where the temple sits, you have to climb the 360 step staircase that is flanked by these large multi-colored glass Naga serpents. The climb for devotees builds Buddhist merit for climbing up to the temple. On the way up the stairs are these colorfully dressed children in traditional garb that will pose for you for a small contribution, you can also pose with them in the photos but I choose to capture them in a more playful way.


Children in traditional costume Visiting Wat Phra That Doi Suthep





Inner temple compound at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep


Inner temple compound

Steps lead up to the inner terrace, where a walkway circumnavigates the gleaming golden Chedi enshrining the relic. To enter the inner terrace and temple grounds you climb some small steps and go in a circular walk around the golden Chedi (pagoda). Along the Chedi, pilgrims lay lotus blossoms as offerings around the shrines facing the Chedi.


Inner temple compound Visiting Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Receiving blessings from a monk in a shrine at Doi Suthep


Golden Chedi Visiting Wat Phra That Doi Suthep



Burning incense and reclining Buddha at Doi Suthep


Buddha at the Golden Chedi Visiting Wat Phra That Doi Suthep


Surrounding the circular walk around the Chedi in the inner temple are a variety of Buddha statues with different poses. Made of various materials semi precious stones, the buddhas are grouped into stunning displays filled with texture, color and sizes.


Buddhas surrounding the golden chedi


Buddhas of every shape and finished materials in elaborate displays


Buddhas on display in several shrines of Doi Suthep


Buddhas and murals at the inner temple compound of Doi Suthep




There are many little shrines surrounding the golden Chedi and when you enter, there are monks on elevated platforms that are there to give blessings to visitors and accept donations in exchange.  Some do more elaborate chants and prayers that are fascinating to watch and observed these unknown rituals.


Monk in a shrine Visiting Wat Phra That Doi Suthep


Offering blessings and prayers at an inner shrine of Doi Suthep



Monk in a shrine Visiting Wat Phra That Doi Suthep





Lotus blossom offerings at the golden chedi of Doi Suthep


Outside of the main temple, there are several small shrines, rock gardens, monuments and other artifacts to see outside of the main temple itself.  To the right side of the main temple compound is a large viewing area with magnificent views of Chiang Mai below.


Prayer bells of Doi Suthep


Ringing the prayer bells in succession at Doi Suthep


Prayer bells Visiting Wat Phra That Doi Suthep



Monks and shrines at Doi Suthep


Funny statues in many of the rock gardens

Rock gardens Visiting Wat Phra That Doi Suthep


Whimsical garden objects in the surrounding gardens


Rock gardens and buddhas Visiting Wat Phra That Doi Suthep


I hope that this has inspired you for exploring Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and some of these wonderful attractions and landmarks around Chiang Mai, Thailand. For more about things to do in Chiang Mai, check out this linked post.

Have you been to some of these places or know some other interesting places to explore and photograph? Please do share them in the comments section below. Thanks for visiting today and checking out this post on Visiting Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, hopefully some of these places will inspire you to visit when you come to the city. If you enjoyed the images and post, could you please share it with any of the social media buttons located around the post.


flowers and stone buddha Visiting Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Please do check out my other posts about Northern Thailand below

15 top places to visit in Northern Thailand

Hill tribes of Northern Thailand

Eco tours in Northern Thailand

Untapped Loei in Northern Thailand

Hill tribe stay in Northern Thailand


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