Temples in Chiang Mai are like Duomos in Italy or sea lions on the Galápagos Islands, they are everywhere. You will spot them next to convenience stores, tucked in between souvenir shops and smack dab in the middle of bustling business sections of town.
Even though there was not a Chiang Mai temple that quite compared to the unconventionality of the White Temple in Chiang Rai, there was one wat inside the city gates that warranted a closer look.
Right across the street from my home away from home, the 3 Sis, sat Wat Chedi Luang, an eye-catching Buddhist temple. How convenient. It’s positioning, inside the center of the city walls and next to my hotel, made it incredibly easy to visit daily. And I did. Once would not have been nearly enough.
Walking through the gates of the stone white barrier I was greeted by a jovial looking Buddha, a ceramic pot filled with several incense offerings and one very lazy dog.
He may have found the absolute perfect meditation/napping spot.
Beyond the entrance, and the sleepy pooch, was a large viharn (sermon hall) that donned naga dragons at it’s doorstep.
I took my shoes off, a requirement to entering this sacred temple, and stepped inside the grand building. The interior of the wat was a frenzy of flowers and gold.
After getting my fill of the gilded interior, I exited and walked to the back side of the vihran where there was a striking sight.
The ruined brick chedi that sits behind the grand assembly hall was incredibly impressive with its monumental stairway, elephants standing guard and stone nagas. Stunning.
As I approached the chedi, there were locals peddling strands of flowers to leave as an offering. Of course, I bought one and walked closer to the stairs to place it close to a naga.
I continued to explore the perimeter, every step being just as notable as the last: metal bells hung, sitting Buddhas peaked through archways and active worshippers gathered at the bottom of the steep, stone stairs.
On my last day in Chiang Mai, I went back to Wat Chedi Luang in an attempt to participate in their Monk Chat, a time that is set aside for the monks to have conversation with visitors and practice their English.
Unfortunately, on this particular day there was one guy intensely questioning the one and only monk. So instead, I spent an hour reading the blue inspirational signs posted around Wat Chedi Luang that said things like “Wisdom is the knowing what to do next”, “Better an ugly face than an ugly mind” and “Do good, receive good; do evil, receive evil”.
Have you ever explored a temple in Thailand?
More About Chiang Mai
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Thailand’s Wat Rong Khun: The White Temple in Chiang Rai
Thailand Elephant Sanctuary: 5 of the Best Rescues in or Near Chiang Mai
Traveling by Tuk Tuk in Chiang Mai & Other Transporation
Learn to Make Handicraft Umbrellas in Chiang Mai
Get a Thai Massage in Thailand
Volunteer with Elephants at a Rescue in Thailand
DETAILS: Wat Chedi Luang is smack dab in the middle of Chiang Mai’s city center walls and can easily be gotten to via tuk tuk, songthaew or by foot. There was never a problem with a transportation driver knowing where it was when I simply said “Wat Chedi Luang”. That was not the case with some of the smaller wats.
103 Phra Pok Klao Road | Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, Thailand | Map