Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
in Chiang Mai Thailand
NewInZurich Travel Inspiration Series
One of Northern Thailand’s Most Sacred Temples
On our recent visit to Northern Thailand we visited many wats or temples. One of the most impressive was the Phrathat Doi Suthep. If you’re visiting Chiang Mai and want to see a very special wat, “Doi Suthep” is to be recommended.
Perched atop the Doi Suthep mountain, the wat is one of Northern Thailand’s most sacred temples and is located in deeply forested Doi Suthep National Park at 1,000m above sea level. It was founded by King Keu Naone in 1383.
The Legend of the White Elephant
According to the story a relic from the shoulder of Buddha was broken into two pieces and one piece was enshrined in a temple in Suandok. The other piece was placed by the king on the back of a white elephant which then climbed up Doi Suthep where it trumpeted three times before dropping dead. This was viewed as an omen and as a result King Nu Naone had the temple built on this spot.
It’s a Theravada wat and a great example of Northern Thai architecture. It is approximately 30 km outside Chiang Mai. To get to it you can either take a taxi or minibus to the entrance base station. When you arrive you can choose to either pay a small fee (50 Baht) and take the little cable car, or walk up the steep 306 step stairway which is decorated with green serpents along each side. At the top you can purchase an entrance ticket (30 Baht).
The Five Tiered Umbrella
The striking five-tiered umbrella symbolises the city’s union with Thailand and breakaway from Burma. All around there are a huge variety of Buddha statues in various poses. The opulence and the brightness of the gold is amazing and it is a good idea to bring along a pair of sunglasses as the light can be dazzling.
We were lucky enough to see the procession and chanting of monks whilst we were there at around 5pm – but do check as the time varies from day to day. You can also get blessings from the monks here too.
Views From The Terrace
Don’t forget to visit the terrace as even on a cloudy day like when we visited, the views are amazing. It feels like you can see forever and you really get a sense of perspective.
Tips on Visiting the Temple
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
Open daily from 6am – 6.30pm
We flew to Thailand courtesy of Thai Airways
For more information please visit the Thailand Tourism website.
We hope you liked this little travel inspiration from Thailand.
We were invited to Thailand but all views are our own
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