Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Attraction Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep Mueang Chiang Mai District Chiang Mai Published on: 08-06-2016

2 hours
06:30 AM - 06:30 PM
08:00 AM
10:00 AM
First-time visit
Must see
Temple & Monument
2.00 USD

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is good for

Good for family with kids Family with kids Good
Good for senior Senior Good
Good for couple Couple Good
Good for solo Solo Good
Good for group Group Good
  • Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
Doi Suthep is situated in the Doi Pui/Doi Suthep National Park on the mountain overlooking Chiang Mai. The temple can be reached by road which winds 18km up the mountain to the temples base.

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Why Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is special ?

Built as a Buddhist monastery in 1383 it is still a working monastery today. Funds raised by donations and the lift fee go to support the monks living there and for maintenance of the various temple buildings. The architecture, statues, murals and shrines seen here are nothing short of breathtaking.

On arrival at Doi Suthep you will be in a large car park, the temple complex is up the side of the mountain beside the car park. Starting with a walk up the 300 steps of the intricately carved mythical Naga Serpent Staircase you begin to marvel at the splendour of your surroundings. For those that do not fancy the 300 step climb up to the complex, you can go up the lift for 30THB ($1) and walk down the staircase when you have finished.

Source: http://www.visitchiangmai.com.au

What to explore at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep?

On reaching the top you are greeted with the sight of the golden spire which decorates the centre of the mountain top temple. The walls around the spire form a mini enclave and are richly decorated with historical murals and shrines. Here you find a beautiful copy of the Emerald Buddha statue on display. The real Emerald Buddha statue is now in Bangkok.

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.

On leaving Doi Suthep temple area descend the Naga Serpent staircase back down to the car park area. At the bottom of the staircase you will find several souvenir shops and a throng of vendors selling local handicrafts.

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.

Source: http://www.visitchiangmai.com.au

How to get to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep?

From the centre of Chiang Mai to Doi Suthep takes around 25 minutes. If you allow one hour for the round trip and another hour there for sightseeing you should be able to hire a red songthaew for around 400 THB for the two hours (make sure you bargain for the best price). Most drivers will point out highlights along the way and stop half way up the mountain at a viewing platform which overlooks the city. The drivers all wait in the car park while you go sightseeing. Don't worry they will spot you when you finally come back down from Doi Suthep.

Source: http://www.visitchiangmai.com.au

Selling points

  • The prettiest steps you'll ever see
  • Great View & Good Climb
  • Not to miss when in Chiang Mai
  • A beautiful temple
  • Stunning temple with a view
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5.0 days
235.13 USD
Total travel distance
Number of places
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Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep Mueang Chiang Mai District Chiang Mai

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Tips for you

  • Don't forget to bring some snacks, hats and camera.
    What to bring
  • Remember to wear properly and comfortable shoes.
    What to wear
  • There is a 50 Baht entrance fee to pay to Doi Suthep for foreigners (non Thai Nationals)
    Ticket and Pricing
  • Beautiful shops at the bottom, make sure you get a receipt for Buddha's for proof of purchase reasons.
  • It requires a little bit walking so be prepared if you want to explore this place
  • It's better to visit the wat early as it can get crowded.


TripAdvisor View more

I'd been in Chiang Mai area since August 2013. As a devout Buddhist, I'd visited more than 50 temples within the city area, as well as in Mae Rim where I spent 7 months and Chiang Dao, where I'd spent 4 months working at the resort. But I had never gone to this temple...people had told me that it was touristy and hassly, there was a ticket for foreigners only, and that you couldn't go on foot. In May 2015, however, I found a non-touristy way to go: via the Visakkha Buccha procession which goes 12 km from the city. This CROWDED procession included a fine opening program at the Kruba Srivchai monument, and had lots of free food stalls, vending stalls, Buddhist contribution stalls, and entertainment stalls, with dancing to gong music. It was also important to me to do something for Visakkha Buccha, known as Vesak in most other countries - and the biggest festival in Sri Lanka where I'd lived for 10 years. This is Buddha's birth, enlightmenment, and death day. In Chiang Mai, this procession is THE THING TO DO on Visakkha Buccha....don't waste time in the city, because there is very little temple activity there other than some candle lighting at 7 pm...nothing if you have seen Vesak in Sri Lanka, Kuala Lumpur, or elsewhere. I had visited the area a couple of weeks before to see the attractions around the base of the mountain, like the Kad Suaw Kaew waterfalls, the arboretum and surrounding park, the Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National Park Office, the Kruba Srivchai Monument (in memory of a famous North Thailand monk), and the nearby monastery. All of these are worth going to on the way, on a walk from Maya Mall or the Chiang Mai University. The main university entrance is right nearby,with the beautiful Sala Dham (Buddhist chapel) and hedges cut like elephants and birds! If you can, it's nice to see the area slowly, not just in a quick tourist trip.However, the Doi Suthep Nature Centre exhibition is closed, and the Royal Project outlet is also closed. The procession started at 6 pm, with people walking through the free food stalls and vending stalls for dinner in the area right before Kruba Srivchai Monument.I was able to get a range of foods - though not vegetarian as I expected - such as steamed rice with pork, flat noodles, khanom jen noodles with egg, toast, and sticky rice. (In other countries I've been for Vesak, the food given then is always vegetarian!) The opening program there was spectacular, a laser show about the history of the mountain told through traditional Thai dancing and acting...but the narration all in Thai, no English! The opening ceremony finished around 9 pm...I left my big, heavy bag with the National Park Office and started walking up. I was surprised to see HARDLY ANY TOURISTS in the procession...unusual for a Chiang Mai festival. And more Myanmar Shan and hill-tribe people than Thai people. I most enjoyed DANCING for about 4 hours at one of the entertainment booths with gongs. This place was run by Shan (Tai-Yai) people from Myanmar. They had an instrument with 7 gongs of different sizes suspended from a frame, and a large white horned animal (really 2 boys inside a mask) and another man with a huge traditional hat as large as an umbrella. After having some of their sticky rice, I spontaneously joined this group and started dancing with them, entertaining many people going along the road! I was wearing a new white Indian-type Punjabi suit - difficult to find in Thailand - so I guess that helped. White, of course, is the best for Buddhist festivals. I finished dancing with the Myanmar people around 3 am and continued walking up. Most people walk the first 3 kms or so, get a songtaew or motorcycle in the middle, and then walk the last 3 kms. I remember having good rice congee served by a Buddhist nun (mae chi) at a small temple in the middle of the park. There was a less pleasant stop where we had to use a horrible toilet in the park (I had stomach upset!) For the last 3 km, I was in the small group of women dragging the rope of the Buddha float, and I got an amulet from one of the monks (they were giving them out to the float working people). Our group with the float arrived right at dawn at Doi Suthep.I was too tired to do much but use the toilet and rest when I got there. I was let down that the little town and the lower area of the temple was very commercial and touristy. It was interesting to see the large group of monks going on alms round early in the morning, though. Around 9 am, I climbed the stairs to the temple. Others have already described the features of the temple, so I won't bother to repeat again here. However, this was a FAMILY day at the temple, and all the families, Thai and foreign, visiting, were very happy and had a good time. The meditation center being built up there looks promising! And the view of the city was wonderful. I often saw the view of the mountain from Maya Mall - now, I was at the opposite end! It rained in the late morning, so around midday, after the water dried, I went down. I walked around the shop area and visited the Orchid Jade Factory nearby - got a free tour of the factory and was able to watch the workers carving, also. I started walking back to Chiang Mai city around 3 pm. I wanted to specially so I could see the mountain scenery in the park in the daytime. Many people had walked back the night before after they reached the summit, but there was no one else walking back now, though plenty of motorcycles, cars, and songtaews. I had thought it would be difficult, but it actually was much easier and pleasanter than walking in Chiang Mai city - due to the smooth roads, the lack of dangerous traffic, the lack of pollution and noise, and the shade from the trees. It seemed more like a highway in Georgia or Maine than a national park! The stalls had all been taken down, but there were rest stops organised by the National Park service. The Forest Fire Control Center was an interesting stop on the way back. It had many colorful, artistic paintings of themes related to forest fires! There was also a place about midway through with an artist who does portraits for 30b in 3 minutes, and I got my portrait done here. This place also gives out water and free medicines for people with problems in the park. The artist "doctored" some people with some injuries from a motorcycle fall, and I got some Panadol, plaster, and carbon charcoal stomach tablets. And there were several small temples and viewpoints of the city at various levels. This was certainly an unforgettable experience, and one of the best festivals I've attended in Chiang Mai!

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