Thailand is a country abundant with temples. There is a Buddhist belief that building temples brings great merit, and the Thai have surely tested this notion throughout the years, with more than 32,000 temples existing nationwide. Some of these are found in the city of Chiang Mai, which has the oldest temples in the country. These majestic temples of the city attest to the rich history, culture and civilization of Chiang Mai, so allow us to help you discover the Wat Umong, Wat Sri Suphan, Wat Bup Pha Ram, Wat Suan Dok, the Wat Jed Yod and other Chiang Mai temples.
- Wat Umong – Wat Umong is known to be the jungle temple located at the foot of the Doi Suthep Mountain. One of its interesting features is an artifact mound that is repeatedly criss-crossed with tunnels, hence its name: “umong” actually means tunnel in Thai. On top of the mound is where the bell-shaped chedi can be found. This temple is a great place to visit and walk around in for its lush forest trees that surround the temple.
- Wat Bup Pha Ram – Located along the busy Tha Pae Road is the beautiful Wat Bup Pha Ram. Several buildings surround the temple area with a tall chedi standing majestically at the center of Chiang Mai. Visitors will be happy to know that this temple is within walking distance of the Night Bazaar of Chiang Mai.
- Wat Suan Dok – Known as the Flower Garden Temple, Wat Suan Dok is located on the west side of Suthep Road and is famous for having a large ordination hall. Surrounding the hall are dozens of smaller white chedi that contain the ashes of the departed members of the Royal Family of Chiang Mai. The large chedi found in the middle contains a Buddha relic with several Buddha trees that are believed to be a symbol of enlightenment.
- Wat Sri Suphan – The Wat Sri Suphan is surrounded by skilled craftsmen that work on all kinds of decorative items made of silverware. Indication of such accomplished art and craftsmanship is seen at one of the temple buildings designed with a shining silver finish. Visitors flock to the temple by Saturday afternoon and head straight to the Saturday market for some handicraft buying when the Wua Lai Street is closed to traffic.
- Wat Jed Yod – Jet Yod is translated to seven peaks in Thai and refers to the seven chedis found at the top of a structure in the temple complex. Although a very unusual sight for Thailand, the Wat Jed Yod is one of the least visited major temples in Chiang Mai. The temple is heavily influenced by Indian design and is adorned with 70 celestial images on the walls. The temple is surrounded by old trees and becomes an especially nice scene just before sunset.
Aside from the Wat Suan Dok, the Wat Jed Yod and other Chiang Mai temples, there are 300 other sacred shrines around the city, some of which are already inactive. A trip to Chiang Mai must definitely include a visit to at least some of these temples to have a deeper appreciation of the art, culture and history of the city.