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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Top 3 Attractions in Chiang Mai - Where Culture and Nature Combine
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 3 Attractions in Chiang Mai - Where Culture and Nature Combine

The second largest city in Thailand, Chiang Mai is the quiet cousin of Bangkok. This is a place with a sense of homeliness and is popular among tourists, especially backpackers due to its attractions.


Wat Prathat Doi Suthep

Located on top of a gorgeous mountain with spectacular views, Wat Prathat Doi Suthep is a famous tourist attraction. In addition to its amazing location, the temple is well known for its image of the seated Buddha. There are many ways to get to the temple: hiking up the trail, renting a motorbike, or in a songthaew, which are the communal cabs of the city that are painted red. The toughest part of visiting the temple would be the steep staircase, which definitely takes a toll. However, once this is scaled, the temple is definitely worth all the effort exerted. The detailing of the structure, the dragon statues, carvings of elephants, and even the galleries themselves, all speak volumes about the attractiveness of the place.

The entire time taken to explore the temple would be about two hours. This gives ample time to walk through the more attractive elements of the temple such as its museum and gallery. Although there are six gates that lead to the chedi, only two remain open. The chedi and the gallery are housed together, latter being the place where statues of Buddha in various forms can be seen. Remember to take some panoramic shots from the temple premises, as it gives a bird's eye view of the area.


Doi Pui

A little beyond the temple is Doi Pui, a Hmong village that is more geared towards tourism than its authentic roots. It is a place where many a Chiang Mai resort tour ends up, as it is the perfect exhibit for a traditional hill tribe home. There are guides who can tell the history of the hill tribes of the area, and about the groups that have come to call these mountains home. There are photo opportunities to be dressed in local garb, as well as numerous little shops and boutiques where souvenirs and knick-knack can be purchased. The best feature of Doi Pui has to be its beautiful landscaped garden, colourful and lush.


Wat Chedi Luang

Although ruins and derelict structures are nothing new in Chiang Mai, this ancient temple stands in contrast to the more modern structures that surround it now, such as Anantara Chiang Mai Resort. The atmosphere of Wat Chedi Luang is a haunting one, at once inviting and eery. The temple is believed to have been built in 1401 but was partially destroyed during an earthquake a century later. The carvings and decoration on the temple are largely intact, though, and can be easily observed by any visitor.

There is also a shrine within the same premises, dedicated Lak Muang. This temple was built in 1940 and is standing on top of an older wooden building. Lak Muang is the guardian spirit of Chiang Mai. A massive gum tree located to the left of the temple has close ties local mythology. The lore dictates that if the tree is to fall, great misfortune will strike the city.