Wat Doi Suthep
Chiang Mai Attractions | Chiang Mai attractions
Wat Doi Suthep is one of the most famous Buddhist shrines around Chiang Mai and for many, it is a highlight of any visit to the region. On a clear day, the view across Chiang Mai City and the river Ping valley is unsurpassed and at the same time, the gleaming golden chedi of the temple can be seen from downtown Chiang Mai.
Legend has it that an especially holy relic was brought to Chiang Mai in 1371. To decide where it should be enshrined, it was placed on the back of a white elephant, which promptly set out to climb the mountain. It finally came to rest and there the relic was buried. The first chedi was built over it and the temple has been continually gone through a number of facelifts and extensions to reach its present state.
Nowadays, Wat Doi Suthep is a short drive from the city up the road leading to the temple. A not too strenuous climb of more than 200 steps, the Naga stairway, leads than directly to the temple. However if you are really struggling, catch the cable car. Ring the bells to bring yourself good fortune.
It around 300 steps to the wat from where you leave the road and the walk is not too strenuous.
Strict dress regulation apply if you want to get inside the wat - long sleeves and long pants. Accessories are available for people who are not following the dress code at arrival.
The temple itself is painted with bright murals depicting the previous lives of the Buddha and filled with Buddha statues, enclose a marble floored area in the middle of which rises up a glorious golden chedi. The chedi is surrounded with a railing and at the four points of the compass are places where people can offer flowers, light joss sticks and apply small squares of gold leaf.
Doi Suthep can be seen from everywhere in Chiang Mai, it is a potent and powerful presence to which people often lift up their eyes for consolation in trouble or gratitude in happiness.
Last Updated: 20 May 2008