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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is one of Chiang Mai’s landmarks and a must-visit if you spend a few days in the city. The royal temple is located on a nearby mountain, which you can already see from many places in Chiang Mai.

Half day trip to the royal temple Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

The temple was founded in 1383 and is located at an altitude of almost 1200 meters in the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. Especially famous is his golden Chedi, which is supposed to contain a relic of Buddha. It is one of the most visited temples of Chiang Mai.


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How to get to the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

You can either travel to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep on your own with a scooter, take one of the red shared taxis (Songthaews) in Chiang Mai or just book a guided tour.

The shared taxis cost 20 baht per trip within the city. You should therefore take one to the Chiang Mai Zoo for 20 baht and then another shared taxi from there for about 40 baht to the temple.

Shared taxi at the Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai

Often the drivers want to take you directly to the temple, which of course increases the price significantly. Here are some negotiation skills needed. The return trip with an own rented shared taxi should not cost you more than 400 baht.

The Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is located 15 kilometers from the city center and due to the traffic the drive can take up to one hour. You would be faster and more independent with a private scooter, which I can only recommend.

Arrival at the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

The taxi stops near the entrance area, where you could also park your scooter at the roadside. There are always plenty of shared taxis on site, so you don’t have to worry about the return trip if you have not rented the entire taxi.

The entrance of the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Now you have two options to get to the temple. Either you go left past many shops up the Naga stairs with 200 steps, where you have to pay an entrance on top, or you go to the right and simply take the lift.

The lift costs 50 baht per person for the round trip and the entrance fee for Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is 30 baht for visitors.

The huge Naga stairs to the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai

Exterior of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

The exterior of the temple is definitely worth seeing and you should take some time to explore the various statues of Buddha, white elephants, Ganeshas or temple bells.

The entrance to the golden Chedi of the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Inside Chiang Mai's famous temple Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Incidentally, the bells you will see on the grounds are often played by the locals. They will take the wooden clapper and lightly beat each of the bells, which is supposed to bring good luck. With a bit of luck, you may occasionally watch performances of traditional dances in front of the bell tower (Hor Rakhang).

Performance of traditional Thai dances in Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Another highlight of the outdoor area is of course the view over Chiang Mai and the surrounding area. From up here you can look over the entire city and shoot great photos of the Rose of the North.

The view from the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep over Chiang Mai by day

Tobi and the view from the Doi Suthep at Chiang Mai

The courtyard and golden Chedi

Afterwards you can enter the inner courtyard of the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Please make sure to take off your shoes, as it is rude and disrespectful if you enter this area with your shoes.

The entire courtyard is decorated with many statues of Buddha and Devas. The walkway around the Chedi is an open gallery, which was created in 1806 and many murals from the life of the Buddha are shown.

Emerald Buddha statue in the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep of Chiang Mai

Buddhist statues in the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep of Chiang Mai

In the center of the courtyard you will see the highlight of the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. The octagonal golden Chedi. It is surrounded by a fence and Burmese-style umbrellas on every corner. By the way, the bases of the umbrellas are decorated with Siamese lions (Singha) and the elephant Erawan, known from Thai mythology.

The golden Chedi of the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai

You will also find a copy of the Emerald Buddha on site (the original one is found in the Wat Phra Kaeo in Bangkok and is one of the most sacred statues in Thailand).

The Wat Phra That Doi Suthep at night

Furthermore, you can visit the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in the evening. In contrast to the number of visitors at day, it is much quieter at night in the area. Only a few tourists and a few monks will be on site.

I think at night the temple has a very special vibe. The golden Chedi and many statues are illuminated and look even more impressive in their golden colors than during the day.

Courtyard of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep at night

Buddha statues in the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep at night

Of course, the view of Chiang Mai is completely different at night, because when the whole city shines in a sea of lights you can observe it in complete peace. A beautiful ending of the visit to the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.

View from the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep at Chiang Mai by night

Have you ever been to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep? What did you like the most there? We look forward to your feedback in the comments.