tha pae gate

Walking to visit the temples in the old city

  • Post category:General
  • Post last modified:June 9, 2022

Make your own leisure day by exploring the old city and finding things to do while we take a break for laundry day after a long journey. Or if you arrive in Chiang Mai with jet lag.

Outdoor activities or exposure to natural light can assist in resetting the body’s internal clock and acclimating to the current time.

And when you have free time, you will probably visit these temples.


Let’s try to pay respect to the Buddha images at the 9 temples.

Thai people frequently do this, especially when celebrating a happy occasion such as New Year’s Day, a birthday, or a major event. They do so in the hopes of good fortune and favorable outcomes. This is the Thai way of looking at things and hoping for the best.

The number nine is a good number because it has homophones that mean progress and taking a step forward. For example, “new” and “knew” are two words that have the same pronunciation but are spelled differently.

Furthermore, temples with names, or temples with names of Buddha images related to might, victory, fame, and good fortune, are popular places to pay respect.

They must also visit the city pillar shrine to pay respects and express their wishes for security and stability.

Except for Wat Chedi Luang, the old city area has a lot of temples that are open during the day and have no admission fee.

Please be advised to follow local customs and respect beliefs when visiting sacred sites and dress properly.

Here are the top 5 places in Chiang Mai’s Old City.

I’ll only show you a few well-known temples, and then you’ll have to find your own. It could be right next door or just a dot on the walk route. You might come across a unique restaurant, a coffee shop, or a Thai massage. Have fun.

chedi luang

1. Wat Chedi Luang

Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai is one of the more popular temples for foreign visitors. In the heart of the Old City, it is easy to reach as it’s near many hostels and restaurants.

When it was built in the 1400s, this massive red brick structure stood 80 meters tall, making it the tallest building in the Lanna Kingdom. The ruins of a large pagoda that was destroyed in a 1545 earthquake.

The temple was once home to one of Thailand’s holiest Buddhist statues, the Emerald Buddha, which now resides in Bangkok’s Grand Palace.

Wat Chedi Luang has the same name as the temple in Chiang Saen Ancient City in Chiang Rai.

pra singha

2. Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Singh is one of the best temples in Chiang Mai because it’s the Old City’s most visually stunning temples. The temple was constructed in the 1345s.

The temple’s main draw is its gleaming gold architecture, which is in addition to the classic Lanna style. It is sometimes called the Gold Temple for a good reason. This is the most revered temple in the old city.

3. Wat Chiang Man

Wat Chiang Man was built in the 13th century by one of the city’s founders and the first Lanna King, King Meng Rai. The temple is an important part of Chiang Mai’s history, and it houses the city’s oldest mention of its founding date.

Chiang Mai was founded on April 12th, 1296 CE, according to a stone steel in front of the ordination hall. One of the best Chiang Mai temples is also one of the oldest in the region.

4. Wat Pan Tao

More modest looking than its neighbor, Wat Pan Tao, this peaceful wooden temple and garden is much less crowded than others in the Old City.

The Viharn (Chapel) is one of the last remaining all-wood structures in the city. Its charming interior is made out of dark teakwood and was formerly a royal residence.

pan tao

5. Three Kings Monument

Located in front of the Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Center, the monument pays homage to the three founders and kings of Chiang Mai: King Meng Rai, King Ngam Muang of Payao, and King Ram Kham Haeng of Sukhothai.

According to legend, the kings swore an oath of alliance to protect their territories in what was, at that time, the harsh northern Thailand region. Observing the monument, it appears that the three are in the midst of forming that pact.

What’s the best way to see them?

Walking is one option. Just a polite dress and walking shoes. Go outside and start walking. No visit to Chiang Mai is complete without a temple tour. 

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