Chiang Mai, Thailand



Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

Built in 1383 during the Lanna Thai period, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is a magnificent Theraveda Buddhist temple located about 18 km from Chiang Mai. Situated on the mountain slope of Doi Suthep at an elevation of 1,073 metres, the temple offers grand views over the city but no reward is without effort as you must ascend the 300-plus steps of the "naga" lined stairs or you can take a tram for 20 baht.

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Many of the features of Wat Phrathat draw from both Buddhism and Hinduism - besides a figurine of the Emerald Buddha, there is also a statue of theHindu god Ganesh. A major feature of of the temple is its large gold-plated chedi, visible from Chiang Mai on a clear day. The chedi is considered the most holy area and within the temple ground are pagodas, statues, bells and shrines. Visitors entering the temple must take off their shoes and be appropriately dressed.

 Steps to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep by Millevache

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep can be reached by road from Chiang Mai. Clearly marked songthaews leave from Pratu Chang Phuak in the city and prices fixed at 40 baht going up and 30 baht going down. The drivers will wait until they have sufficient passengers (usually 8) before they depart. From the car park at the temple base, visitors can climb the 300-plus steps for free or pay 20 baht a tram to reach the pagodas. Entering Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is free for Thais but foreigners are charged 30 baht. Tour operators will ask 700 baht for a tour of the temple deprting from Chiang Mai.

Buddha statues at Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep by Millevache

In the vicinity are other attractions that you may want to consider visiting. The Bhuping Royal Palace is 4 km further along the road from Wat Prathat - a reasonably easy walk along the meter-wide road or you can get a shared Songthaew from Wat Prathat for B30 but may have to wait until it fills up. Further along the road is a hill tribe village and though tourist oriented, it is really worth the trip. The people here are from the far north with many originally from Myanmar. There are many shops for handicraft produced by the hill tribe people.

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Chiang Mai
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