Doi Suthep Temple is certainly one of the most important temples in Chiang Mai
If you’re going to visit important temples in Chiang Mai, you’ll in all probability visit one of many millions of temples inside the old city as a result of they’re everywhere. But if you’re going to visit a second temple, make sure it’s Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (lots of people name it “Doi Suthep Temple”). It’s that shining golden glimmer up on the inexperienced mountainside you can see from anyplace in the city. Most non-Thai visitors don’t even know that it’s some of the sacred temples in Thailand, however on prime of the great religious significance and sweetness, it’s an unbelievable destination that can be as much about the journey as you want it to be.
Construction on Doi Suthep Temple began in 1386 under King Kuena (r.1367-88) and was completed within a few years. The temple complex was periodically expanded and embellished over the following centuries. Construction would have been an arduous task, with workers having to carry supplies through thick jungle: the road leading to the temple was only installed in 1935. The modern paved road was a joint effort of communities throughout the Chiang Mai region, each of whom contributed 1,300-foot sections.
According to legend, a magical relic multiplied itself just before it was enshrined at Wat Suan Dok in Chiang Mai. A suitable place therefore had to be found to shelter the new relic. Unable to decide on the site, the king placed the relic in a portal shrine on the back of a white elephant and waited to see where the animal would take it. Eventually, the elephant walked up to the top of Doi Suthep mountain, trumpeted three times, turned around three times, knelt down, and died. The temple was immediately built on the miraculously-chosen site.
To get to the top of Doi Suthep Temple, 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.
Within the temple complex are a number of pavilions, pagodas, statues and viharns. The pavilions contain the living quarters for monks. A small museum with ancient relics, photographs and old pieces of temple wares can also be visited.
Steps lead up to the inner terrace, where a walkway circumnavigates the gleaming golden Chedi enshrining the relic. The original copper plated Chedi is the most sacred area of the temple grounds. Within the site are the temples and statues, bells, and the museum, and shrines. Wat aspects came about from the development of Buddhism and Hinduism. A model of the Emerald Buddha and the statue of the Hindu god Ganesh can be found in the temple and you can see the sights of Chiang Mai on the other side of the temple.
The Phra Ubosot or ordination hall is the place where the prayers take place. Striking a series of small bells in the complex is believed to bring good luck. Whenever there is wind around the atmosphere is filled with the sounds of temple bells adding to the tranquility and peacefulness of this beautiful place.
Outside this central enclave area you will find the shrine to the White Elephant and the story of how the temple on Doi Suthep was founded. There is a wide walkway around the main temple which leads you to a large viewing terrace with terrific views down over Chiang Mai, weather permitting. Just past the viewing terrace is one of the worlds largest gongs, which makes an earthly rich sound when struck. Give it a try, it is allowed.
Lastly, there is a souvenir shop and a small shops for drinks and snacks. When visiting this sacred place, dress appropriately. Inside the temple grounds, please take off your shoes.
Entrance Ticket : Foreigners pay 30 Baht entrance fee.
How to get to Doi Suthep Temple ?
Doi Suthep Temple is open daily from 05:00 am. – 08:00 pm. ; come early or late to avoid the crowds. To get here, take a red truck (songtaew) from in front of Chiangmai zoo, at the western end of Huai Kaeo Road. The fare is 50B going up and 40B for the descent. The ride can get cool, so bring a sweater or jacket. The bus stops at the base of the naga staircase. If you’d rather not climb the 306 steps, a special part of the experience, there’s a funicular railway to the top for 50B. You can simplify matters by booking a half-day trip though any tour agency in Chiang Mai for around 600B, including a stop at Phuping Palace or Meo Hilltribe Village that you can choose one.