There’s a temple just about every which way you turn in Chiang Mai. In fact, there are over 300 buddhist temples in Chiang Mai alone! No wonder this city is called the spiritual capital of Thailand. Each one is unique and has it’s own personality. Even through all of our Southeast Asia travels Chiang Mai by far has some of our most favorite temples to date.
Just so you know, the word Wat = Temple, & Chedi = tall Buddhist monument. These come up MANY times in this post.
Suan Dok is surprisingly one of the lesser known temples, even though it was in my opinion the most beautiful. Suan Dok took our breath away driving up the white with the gold on the chedi (tall Buddhist monument) is seriously so cool.
Wat Sri Suphan is suprisingly small at least compared to most of the others in Chiang Mai. but it should NOT be overlooked. It is one of the most unique temples we have seen to date because of the fact it’s not made of gold or brick, but is made LITERALLY of silver (and aluminum)! We thought it was surely just painted, however tapping on the hollowed exterior confirmed it is in fact called the silver temple for a reason!
Located in the heart of Old City, Phra Singh is the most flashy temple you will see in Chaing Mai because of this it also is the most breathtaking. Even looking at photos doesn’t prepare you for the sheer size of the golden chedis, visiting here will make you give an audible “wow”. Come in the middle of the day and you’ll need sunglasses from all the sparkle this temple gives off!
This is said to be the oldest temple in Chiang Mai. Chiang Man is made up of a few smaller and very detailed temple buildings, the main attraction being the stone chedi in the very back where elephants surround the bottom to prop up the golden spire on top.
Looking more like a mansion than a temple, Wat Buppharam is not overwhelming with beauty like most of the other temples you will find in Thailand, but it shouldn’t be missed none the less. If the maniac-looking gold serpents all along the railings give you a spook, you can always visit the friendly Donald Duck right in front and he’ll surely calm your fears.
Doi Suthep for short, this temple makes for a good morning hike to get to as it’s located on a hill right outside the city. It gives you a fantastic view of Chiang Mai and the temple itself is stunning to look at as well. It reminds me of Phra Singh from all the huge golden chedis it has.
You can hire a car to take you to the base of the hill or take a motorbike. It’s also possible to take a red truck which are small pickups with benches in the back that are all over old city. You’ll need to find a few others to share the ride with you if you don’t want to pay a ridiculous amount.
More of a Chinese temple, Pung Thao Kong Shrine is still an awesome site to visit if you have finished your site seeing of Chiang Mai or need a colorful refresh of all the gold and white of the other temples. The carvings and paintings are so detailed you’ll spend well over an hour just admiring the work!
Every temple in Chiang Mai is incredible and you’ll love each and every one. Just remember to dress conservatively; no shoulders, chest, or knees showing.(for men and women!) Have a great time temple hopping! If you want more to do check out our full guide of the top things to do while in Chiang Mai