Thailand: 6 BeautifulTemples in Chiang Mai You Should Not Miss

Chiang Mai is the city that has the most beautiful Buddhist Temples in Thailand. Over 300 “Lanna” style temples can be found scattered through the city and its surroundings. Most of them are part of history and were built between the 13th and the 17th century.

I have been fascinated by some temples in Chiang Mai. Their architecture, their peaceful environment, their monks in orange dresses and their enormous Buddha statues truly amazed me. You might be thinking: “But how could that be? Buddhist Temples are all the same, once you have seen one, you have seen them all!”.

Well, I don’t feel the same about it. Each and every temple has its own charm, history, architectural characteristics and particularly in Chiang Mai.

There have been several kingdoms and dynasties such as the Burmese Empire, the Lanna Kingdom and the Tipchak dynasty who influenced this region and it is very interesting to see it in the historical sites and discover it through the beautiful temples.

Since most of people visiting Chiang Mai only stay for few days, it will be impossible to visit them all. Therefore, a list of the must see temples is required. Through this article, I will share with you my very favorite temples in Chiang Mai and why I appreciated visiting them. I will also try to guide you trough your visit and explain better some symbolics and some must dos and donts at a Buddhist temple.

Beautiful temples in chiang mai

Things you should know

Temples are spiritual places where people engage into a spiritual/ religious practice. You should try to always :

  • Be respectful of others believes and religious practices.
  • Be quiet as much as you can.
  • Avoid revealing clothing, it is considered as disrespectful (avoid short skirts, tank tops …etc. )
  • Take off your shoes before entering the stupa.
  • Avoid pointing your feet toward the relics and statues.
  • Avoid walking in front of devotees while they pray.

Temples’ Jargon?

What is a “Wat”?

First things first. Most of the temples you will visit in Chiang Mai are called “Wat”,which means a temple complex. It usually includes a main building where the Buddha statues are displayed and most of the prayers take place.

What is a “Stupa”?

A “Stupa” is usually a dome shaped structure that contain relics of Buddha. It is also a memorial where nuns and monks remains are kept or buried.

What is a “Chedi”?

Chedi is another term to refer to a “Stupa”.

Here is a list of the temples I recommend to visit by night.


Beautifultemples in chiang mai

  • Offerings

In Buddhism, offerings are believed to give more merits and show the devotees how life is impermanent. With accumulating merits or good actions, a Buddhist believes he will have a better rebirth and will get closer to the enlightenment and releasing from suffering.

  •  Incense Burning

Burning incense have been a religious ritual since ancient Egypt and the Pharaonic era. In Buddhism, it is a sacred act made to honor the Triple Gem of the Buddha, his Dharma and the Sangha. The symbolic of burning an incense stick teaches the necessity to burn away negative thoughts and actions within oneself in order to reveal the pureness.

Must See Temples in Chiang Mai

Wat Phan Tao

I have been to the Wat Phan Tao twice, and both times were at night. This temple’s architecture is slightly different from the ones I have seen before. It is made of wood and is very simple. At night, its garden is full of candles and lanterns, which is mainly why I appreciate it so much. The show of lights is simply stunning. I would definitely recommend going there by night.

Beautiful temples in chiang mai

It is better to visit this temple by night.

Address: Phra Pokklao Rd., Phra Sing, Mueang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai, Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Entrance fee: Free

How to get there:

Wat Sri Suphan (Silver Temple)

It has become a habit for me to go the Wat Sri Suphan on Saturday Night after eating at the night market. I love this place where I feel in peace and serein. It is beautiful by night with lanterns and I particularly like the Ganesh statue. During the Market night, it usually host special events such as dance shows or Monk blessings. It is definitely worth a visit walking around the Saturday Night Market.

Beautiful temples in chiang mai

It is better to visit this temple by night.

Address: 100 Wua Lai Rd, Tambon Hai Ya, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand

Entrance fee: Free

How to get there:

Wat Suan Dok

This Buddhist temple is located outside of the Moat. It is very different from other Buddhist temples I have seen so far in Thailand. The prayer hall is open on the sides and it hosts relics and tombs of some members of the royal family. It is all white and has some unique features such as the tremendous chapel. I felt calmer and happier each time I visited this temple. It definitely deserves half an hour of your time while in Chiang Mai.

Beautiful temples in chiang mai

Address: 139 Suthep Rd, Tambon Su Thep, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Entrance fee: Free

How to get there:

Wat Chedi Luang

This is one of the most popular temples in Chiang Mai and I totally understand why. It is absolutely beautiful. I was really impressed by the architecture of this temple and decided to go deeper in my research and know more about it. I discovered that this Wat was destroyed by a violent earthquake in the 14th century and partially restored. It is a must see in Chiang Mai.

Beautiful temples in chiang mai

Address: 103 Road King Prajadhipok Phra Singh, Muang District, Chiang Mai, 50200, Thailand

Entrance fee: Free

How to get there:

Phra Maha Dhatu Naphamethinidon and Naphaphonphumisiri

At the Doi Inthanon National Park are located two mesmerizing Chedis, the Phra Maha Dhatu Naphamethinidon and Naphaphonphumisiri. The name of the first pagoda means ‘by the strength of the land and air’ was build in 1987 to honor 60th birthday anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The name of the second pagoda means ‘being the strength of the air and the grace of the land’ was build in 1992 to honor 60th birthday anniversary of Queen Sirikit.

This complex of temples is outside of Chiang Mai but is by far the most worth one to visit. It is simply stunning and very impressive. The garden is a piece of art and the two pagodas are beautiful. In order to know more about this temples, how to get there, and what to do in the Doi Inthanon National Park, click here.

Beautiful temples in chiang mai

Address: Ban Luang, Chom Thong District, Chiang Mai 50160, Thailand

Entrance fee: Park entrance 300Baths for Foreigners (150 for Children), 50 Baths for locals.

How to get there:

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

The Doi Suthep is probably the most visited temple in Chiang Mai. It offers a beautiful view over the city from the Doi Suthep National Park. To get to the temple, visitors need to climb 306 stairway in a shape of a snake. For those who can’t climb, there is the possibility to take a cable car. I would recommend to go on a clear day for sunset or sunrise. It is a real magic show!

Beautiful temples in chiang mai

Address: Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Road Srivijaya Suthep Mueang Chiang Mai District Chiang Mai, Thailand

Entrance fee: 50Baths for foreigners

How to get there:

I hope you enjoyed discovering more about the top 6 must visit temples in Chiang Mai. Feel free to write me a comment sharing with me your own experience in Chiang Mai or to give me some suggestions to complete this list.

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