Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Chiang Mai is one of the most sacred and popular temples in northern Thailand. Not only does the temple have incredible architecture and detail but it also has a beautiful view of Chiang Mai city. If you’re headed up north, be sure not to miss Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.
How to get to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
To get to Chiang Mai, we used 12Go to book an overnight train from Bangkok. 12Go is a super cheap and reliable way to get around Thailand and other popular Southeast Asian countries.
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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Chiang Mai is located on Doi Suthep mountain which is roughly a 40 minute drive from the city centre. If you GPS there, it’ll take you way past the temple and tell you to do a U-turn. You actually drive directly past the temple, so as soon as you see shops and other cars/bikes parked you know you’re at the right spot. We drove ourselves there on our motorbike which we rented for 200 Baht per day. The winding road up has many twists and turns, however this isn’t a bad thing. The drive up is enjoyable and the scenery is also very beautiful. It is very cold up in the mountains so be sure to bring some warm clothes if you decide to drive. Another option would be to take one of the local taxi’s called a ‘Songtaew’.
Where to stay in Chiang Mai
The best area for tourists to stay in Chiang Mai is in or around the Old City. Within the Old City you’ll find a wide variety of restaurants, hostels and hotels. We decided to stay closer to the river which gave us access to the Night Bazaar which had delicious food and cheap market stalls. Ratana Hotel is a nice mid range option located close to the night bazaar and even has its own pool. If you’re looking for a bit of luxury within the Old City, you can check out Chala Number6 which is a very popular 5 star traditional Thai hotel.
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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep opening hours are from 6am – 5pm everyday.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep entrance fee
Entry into the temple costs 30 Baht per person.
What to expect
The temple can get very busy during the day so we decided to head there in time for sunrise. We were there from 6.30am and there was almost no one else around. By 8am we started to notice that more people and tour groups were beginning to arrive.
Once you’ve parked, you’ll come across the 306 steps which will take you up to the top. The terrace at the top opens up and you’ll have to take your shoes off. Additionally, remember to also dress respectfully, covering your knees and shoulders.
There are steps that lead into the inner courtyard which is where the golden mount can be found. The inner courtyard is full of incredible red and gold detail. Here you’ll find plenty of monks and locals chanting and saying prayers, often leaving behind lotus flowers or incense.
Head back out and continue walking around the right side to find the viewpoint. The marble terrace opens up to give a view which overlooks Chiang Mai city. On a clear day, this view is incredible and you’ll be able to see the whole cityscape and surrounding mountains.
There is also another viewpoint which is slightly higher and just to the right. Here you’ll find some large detailed wooden pillars that look awesome in photos. Once you’re done at the temple, there are plenty of market stalls for you to buy souvenirs or food if you’re hungry.
If you’re in Chiang Mai, you can’t miss out on this temple! The view of the city was one of our favourites and we definitely recommend going early if you can to avoid the crowds. Be sure to also check out Wat Suan Dok for another incredible temple which is located in city centre.