Chiang Mai offers great memories, friendly locals, beautiful scenery, and 300 awe-inspiring temples. If you don't have time or the energy to visit all 300 temples, there are definitely some must see temples, which should be on your list.
Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Chiang Man, & Wat Phan Tao are beautiful temples located within the city walls & all three temples can easily be visited in one day. Another awe-inspiring temple & most visited is the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, but this temple requires a journey up a mountain road & 309 step walk to reach the top of the temple.
The Temple Of Wat Chedi Luang
Wat Chedi Luang is definitely not flashy, shiny, or gold plated, but it's definitely are-inspiring. Built in 1441, Wat Chedi Luang stands as one of the largest ancient structures in Chiang Mai. The temple was a little bit taller until ether an earthquake or cannon fire during the recapture of Chiang Mai from the Burmese in 1775 destroyed the top of the chedi.
The temple has 4 sides, each with a staircase guarded by mythical Naga creatures. Midway up the stairs located on one section of the temple, there are beautifully sculpted stoned elephants stand guard overlooking the grounds. Besides the towering & awe-inspiring Chedi, the temple grounds contain two viharns, which are structures used for ceremonies & worship.
The first viharn, which is used as an assembly hall is a large, beautiful building with a three tiered roof, & gold plated on the front. Inside the building stands a large Buddha, which dates back to the time of when the temple was constructed. The second viharn is much smaller, but equally impressive & stunning. The entrance leading into the viharn is elegantly decorated with intricate wood carvings & guarded by large Nagas, which are mythical snake like creatures.
A Much Needed Break After The Craziness Of Bangkok & Pattaya
After spending 10 days between Bangkok & Pattaya, I needed to slow down & take a break. The much needed slow down started with the 14 hour train ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, which I highly suggest. Upon arriving in Chiang Mai, I instantly noticed the city was much greener, there were zero skyscrapers, & everything was much more low key.
My stay in Chiang Mai was only three days, but I made sure one of those days was dedicated to visiting some of Chiang Mai's awe-inspiring temples. The first day I hired a tuk tuk & was taken to Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Chiang Man, & Wat Phan Tao. Wat Chedi Luang & Wat Phan Tao are adjacent, which provides two stunning temples within a short walk of each other.
All three temples should definitely be on your list! Over the course of three days, I visited more than 10 temples. A short walk from my hotel & it felt like there was a temple on every corner. After the craziness of Bangkok & Pattaya, the low key environment of Chiang Mai & its temples, definitely provided a much needed break. The temples of Chiang Mai are definitely worth a visit & something everyone should see if there visiting Thailand.