Take a deep look at simplicity humility and nature of Lanna Architecture.
Chiang Mai is home to many famous temples, such as Doi Suthep and Wat Sri Suphan. But when it comes to its historic Old City, which ones are must-see? As there are around a dozen temples that lie within the city’s moat-surrounded center, figuring out which ones deserve a look or a pass can be tough
In Chiang Mai the past is not merely the stuff of stories and musty old history books, it is a very real part of everyday life. The city is defined by a 600 year old moat, sits in the shadow of a monastery built in the 14th century and is dotted with wats (temples) raised by kings in centuries long past.
In ancient times kings built temples to demonstrate not only their devotion, but also their wealth and power. Temples served not only as centres of faith, but also as schools and hospitals. Today, temples are still a central part of Thai life and the holy structures of Chiang Mai are living, breathing places that serve as invaluable bridges to the past, keeping the people linked to the timeless traditions of their ancestors.
With over 300 Buddhist temples dotted all around Chiang Mai, you’re sure to be ‘Wat-ed’ out quite quickly.
Some temples are very easy to get to, some you will stumble upon, some are hidden in the depths of alleyways and others you have to hike up, what seems like a million stairs at the time. But, no matter ‘what wats’ you decide to see, they will ALL, hands down, be interesting and beautiful!
You may wonder what the difference between Chiang Mai temples and any other in Thailand is. Northern Thailand used to be a separate kingdom, the Lanna kingdom. The Lanna culture also has its own architectural style, which incorporates influences from Myanmar and Laos. In temples, you can see this style in that the roofs have multiple tiers or layers, and windows can be quite small. This is because of the colder climate and greater amount of rain in this region.
This style is particularly visible in the older temples. A good example is the ubosot at Wat Chiang Man, Chiang Mai’s oldest temple.
We could easily dedicate an entire website to just Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai. All the symbolism in architecture, statues, carvings, paintings and religious objects are so numerous entire studies are dedicated to them. And so, when we give you a list of Top Temples in Chiang Mai, this is very subjective. You may appreciate architecture, but your traveling partner may think decorations are what makes a beautiful temple. Others may be more interested in the story behind the temple and its religious or cultural significance. Take this blog as your starting guide and decide for yourself which is your favorite!
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