There are countless Temples (known as wats) in Northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai, and some of them have to be seen to be believed. We’ve searched for the most stunning photos of a handful of them so you can decide which wats would be worth visiting. (PS, the answer is all of them.)
Wat Chedi Liam
Built in 1287 with a five-tiered structure, this temple was renovated in 1992, meaning its stunning facade can be enjoyed for centuries to come. We feel religious just looking at it.
Wat Chedi Luang
The most distinctive characteristic of this 14th-century temple is its grand staircase with multiple levels housing huge statues of Buddhist deities and animals. Step inside and you may come across monks repeating phrases in unison. It’s bound to be an enchanting experience.
A lot of this temple is hidden underground, which makes it one of the more unusual places of worship in Chiang Mai. It’s said that when it was first built, the tunnels were created to stop the eccentric monk who lived there from wondering off and getting lost in the surrounding forested areas.
Wat Suan Dok
At Wat Suan Dok’s centre is a gold-painted chedi, and surrounding it are white monuments built to honour members of the Thai royal family. This place is literally fit for royalty.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Wat Suan Dok is one of the most famous of Chiang Mai’s temples. Its interior houses the green glass Buddha statue and, and much of its exterior is covered with gold leaf. It’s so stunning, it doesn’t even look real. Is it real? Only one way to find out!
Wat Phra Singh
Tourists gather at this temple to gawk at its breathtaking facade and pay homage to the immense Buddha statue housed within it. We just want to live there.
Wat Phan Tao
Lying within the city walls, Wat Phan Tao is especially beautiful during the Loy Kathong Festival, when hundreds of candles are placed below multi-coloured hanging lanterns which surround a gilded Buddha statue outside it.
Wat Chiang Man
This is Wat Chiang Man. It’s guarded by huge stone elephants and topped with a golden roof. We can only imagine what wonders lie inside!
Wat E Kang
This temple derives its name from a group of frequent visitors to it before its recent restoration. Not monks, not worshippers, but monkeys. Unfortunately, they’re not there anymore, but visit the temple and you can try and find out what drew them to it in the first place.
Wat Lok Molee
Lying outside the walled part of chiang Mai, Wat Lok Molee was built in the 16th century and consists of a huge chedi
and viharn, an assembly hall built to host Buddhist ceremonies. It’s also got some cute animal sculptures just sunbathing outside it, which we love.
This is the Chedi of Wat Mahawan. A Burmese design coated in white stucco, it’s a stunning addition to the temple. And it’s a good thing this place never sees snow, because the entire building would be completely camouflaged!