Wat Doi Suthep has something of a pilgrims’ place
In and around Chiang Mai there are more than 200 Buddhist temples to explore. Even if your are not a real temple adept, make sure you visit Wat Phrathat during your stay in Chiang Mai. The Mountain was originally called Doi Aoy Chang (Sugar Elephant Mountain). Originally it took about a 5 hour climb up the mountain to get to the Temple but thanks to 1,000 volunteers who built the current road the journey now only takes about 40 minutes. The best way to go up is buy flagging down a red Songthaew truck taxi.
You could say Wat Doi Suthep has something of a pilgrims’ place. Its main attractions are the golden chedi (read: spire) and the emerald Buddha statue. Actually, this statue is a replica, as the original one resides in Bangkok nowadays. The temple was built around 1383 by King Keuna, as a Buddhist Monastery, which it still is today.
To reach the temple complex, starting at the car park, you will need to walk up 300 steps on the stone carved mythical Naga Serpent Staircase. Do stop once in a while and enjoy the splendor of the surroundings. For those not willing to climb the stairs, there is also an elevator.
When you reach the top, you will see the golden spire at the center of the mountain top. The walls around the chedi are decorated with historical murals, statues and shrines. And in good weather conditions you can enjoy breathtaking views of Chiang Mai city below.
Experience the Tiaw Khuen Doi Festival
At Wat Phra That Doi Suthep they yearly have the Tiaw Khuen Doi Festival, which is the travel up Doi Suthep Hill by feet to worship the Buddhist relics enshrined there. It is an experience worth checking out and attracts thousands of people from Thailand. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is located in Tambon Suthep, Amphoe Mueang, Chiang Mai Province. Doi Suthep Hill is 14 kilometers away from the center of Chiang Mai.
Getting to Doi Suthep by public transport is not so hard to establish. Take a tuk-tuk of songthaew (red taxi) from anywhere in the city to Chiang Mai Zoo on Huay Kaew Road. There you will find many dedicated songthaews heading for the temple.
Two ways to get to Phra That Doi Suthep Temple
- Walking up the seven-headed serpent stairs. It is also a great spot to take pictures.
- Taking an electric tram, which is available from 6.00 am – 6.00 pm. The fee is 20 THB for Thais and 50 THB for foreigners.