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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 05 Best Temple's in Chiang Mai, Thailand – Historical City of Religious Charms
Joanna James Joanna James
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05 Best Temple's in Chiang Mai, Thailand – Historical City of Religious Charms

The beautiful city of Chiang Mai is noted for its historical & religious values which are why the place is rife with all manner of historical temple sites; quite a thrill to explore for culture buffs.


Wat Chedi Luang

This historically significant temple is located right in the centre of the Old Town. If you enter from the Ratchadamnoen side the first glimpse is that of the main temple with the Chedi placed behind it. Interestingly this Chedi was initiated in the 14th century but took over 10years to be completed. When finished the structure measured at a height of 82 metres and was tipped to be the tallest building in the illustrious Lanna Kingdom. The temple is noted to have been home to the Emerald Buddha from 1468 to 1551, the most revered statue in Thailand now residing in Bangkok. Legend states the Emerald statue was discovered when lightning struck open a chedi; believed to be Chedi Luang. In 1551 a devastating earthquake damaged the chedi badly and it was only restored in 1990.


Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Singh started out as a chedi for the ashes of King Phayu's father in 1345. Gradually as more buildings were constructed around this the complex gained prominence and in 1367 the addition of the Phra Buddha Singh statue sealed the shrines name and place amongst the history books. During Thailand's rule under Burma, the temple lost its significance until restored to its former glory in 1920.


Wat Phan On

This temple too is found within the Old Town just a 15-minute walk from the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort. It is one of the smaller temples located there and easily reached from hotels in Chiang Mai that offer you accommodation along the Mae Ping River. The temple was constructed in 1501 and only in 2007 was the Golden Chedi added. The Chedi is quite stunning as it is covered in gold with red nooks within which golden statues reside. The temple too is an extension of this golden extravagance and is quite impressive to view.


Wat Buppharam

One of Chiang Mai's unusual temples, Wat Buppharam sits outside of the Old Town. The temple is different due to the architecture being dissimilar to general Thai temples. Built in 1497 and again in 1561 the temple was given a facelift influenced with Burmese architectural stylings by Burmese monks who occupied Chiang Mai during the invasion. The generally rectangular shape of Thai temples was abandoned for a cross structure that features a tower like edifice in the middle. The 400-year-old chedi too bears resemblance to Burmese influence reflected in the manicured gardens home to traditional Burmese Chinthe – guardian lion statues.


Wat Suan Dok

Heading towards the west of the Old Town you will come across Wat Suan Dok. The temple was constructed in 1370 to house a relic of Lord Buddha found by a monk of the Sukhothai Kingdom. As the monk arrived in the city of Chiang Mai the relic was split into 2 by divine nature, and it was in order to preserve one of these pieces that the golden chedi was built. The second piece interestingly was fitted to the back of a white elephant that eventually died quite close to the summit of Mount Doi Suthep.

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