Wat Phra Singh
The city's most beautiful temple, it is located in the heart of the city at the intersection of Singharaj and Rajdamnern Road, this temple was built in 1345 under the supervision of King Pa Yo to honor his father ashes, but all the buildings today date from the 19th century and much of the restoration work is of a very recent date. It was originally known as Wat Li Chiang Phra, its name changed to Wat Phra Singh, because is the home of the most venerated Buddha statue, Phra Singh Buddha (Lion Buddha), the temple features exquisite woodcarvings, classic northern style murals and fine examples of Lanna art. The building hosts many important Buddhist ceremonies, particularly every year on April 13, during the Songkran Festival where the Buddha image is paraded on Chiang Mai streets. Wat Phra Singh is in close walking distance to most guesthouses and many hotels.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
This is one of the most famous Thailand temples, the site dates from 1383, with its distinctive gold-plated chedi (pagoda) and marble-floored courtyard the temple is full of symbolism and one of the most deeply loved symbols in Thailand. Doi Suithep is 15 kilometers from town and is 3,520 feet above sea level, located high on a hill, the road up to the temple passes a couple of nice waterfalls, the staircase is flanked by stone-carved serpents, the view from the temple platform is breathtaking. A visit to Doi Suthep is a "must", local Thais says: “If you haven't seen the view from Doi Suthep, you haven't been to Chiang Mai”.
Wat Chiang Man
The temple is located inside the walled city on Ratchapkkhinai Road. This is the Chiang Mai's oldest temple, probably dates from 1296. The temple was used as the residence of King Mengrai, who founded Chiang Mai, now is inhabited by monks. The Wat features typical northern Thai temple architecture, is noteworthy for a Chedi famous for its row of elephant supports. Wat Chiang Man houses two ancient and diminutive Buddha images: Phra Satang Man or Crystal Buddha and the marble Phra Sila Buddha or Stone Buddha, which according to legend are 1800 and 2500 years old.
Wat Chedi Luang
Wat Chedi Luang is located on Phra Pokklao Road, directly in Chiang Mai centre. The temple was built by King Saen Muang Ma; this is the site of an enormous chedi, dating from 1441, originally 90 meter high, and which was partially destroyed by an earthquake in the late 16th Century. In 1992 the chedi was restored at a cost of several million baht. Today the chedi is the main attraction of the City
At one time, Wat Chedi Luang housed the revered Emerald Buddha image now at Bangkok’s Wat Phra Kaeo, today there is a jade replica of the original Buddha image sitting in this place. Other striking architectural features are the Naga (mythical serpent), elephant sculptures. The Wat also houses the “Pillar of the City”, a totem used in ancient Thai fertility rites. Wat Chedi Luang is home to many of the most important city and religious ceremonies.
Wat Chet Yot
Also called Wat Maha Photharam, Wat Chet Yot is located on Super Highway, this is one of the most elegant temples in Chiang Rai, was built during the reign of King Tilokkarat around 1458. The unusual seven spired square Chedi was inspired from the Maha Bodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, India. Each of the seven spires represents one of the seven weeks that Buddha spent in Bodhgaya after his enlightenment. The temple has Burmese, Chinese Yuan, and Ming architectural influences.
Wat Suan Dok
Located on Suthep Road, Wat Suan Dok was built in the 14th century during the reign of King Ku Na, a Lanna Thai monarch. Among the main attractions in the complex is the 500-year-old bronze Buddha image (one of Thailand’s largest metal images), vivid Jataka murals depicting Buddha’s life, a royal cemetery containing ashes of Chiang Mai’s former royal family. There is an informal “monk chat” here every evening from 5:00 pm where novice practice their English. The Wat is a favorite spot for photographers for its pleasant surroundings and contemplative spirit.
Chiang Mai Zoo
Chiang Mai Zoo is located on Huay Kaew Road, it was setup in 1974 by the Zoological Park Organization. Tourist can easily spend a whole day at Zoo, because its large collection of animals. The Chiang Mai Zoo is the home of over 7000 animals, 4000 birds, 475 mammals, 218 reptiles and over 1000 fishes. Most of the animals enjoy their natural habitat here. Inhabitants range from bears to penguins. The main attractions are two pandas - Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui – arrived from Sichuan, China in 2003. Since 2006, the zoo houses some koalas bring from Australia to celebrate the 60th anniversary of His Majesty the King’s Accession to the Throne. Open daily from 08:00 to 18:00.
Chiang Mai National Museum
Chiang Mai National Museum is located on the Superhighway beside Wat Chet Yot. The museum houses a well catalogued collection of prehistoric settlements, Lanna and Thai works of art, ancient Buddha icons (there is a huge 15th century Buddha head), war weapons, pottery, photographs showing the modern life in Chiang Mai. Divided into six sections, the Chiang Mai National Museum provides an historical overview of Chiang Mai and its historical highlights. The museum has been assigned as centre of education and preservation of art and culture of Chiang Mai by the fine Arts Department of the city. Open daily, except Mondays, Tuesdays and holidays.
Mae Sa Elephant Training Centre
Located about a half hour's drive north of the city center, this is a great outing for the whole family. Mae Sa Elephant Training Centre offers elephants shows, football and painting are favorite acts; bathing elephants and elephant rides in the forest. The exhibition Hall features displays of rare stories and photos of newborn elephants. You have also the chance to feed elephants and take photographs with them. Open from 08:00 to 14:30.
Address: 119/9 Tapae Road, Muang District
Telephone: +66 (53) 206 247 or +66 (53) 206 248
Thai cooking classes
Thai food has become world renowned, consequently many visitors want to learn some Thai Cooking. In Chiang Mai, cooking classes are extremely popular, visitors will visit the local market or take some classes and learn about Thai food and be able to prepare, cook and eat a number of famous dishes.
See some cooking schools in our listings area.