Chiang Mai is a city of temples, with more than 200 scattered around its ancient walls and surrounding countryside. But not all temples are created equal, and some are more popular and crowded than others. If you are looking for a more peaceful and authentic experience, here are some of the best Thai temples to visit in Chiang Mai that are not too crowded.
- Wat Umong
Wat Umong is a unique forest temple that dates back to the 14th century. It is famous for its underground tunnels that house Buddha statues and wall paintings. The temple also has a large chedi on a hilltop, a meditation center, and a pond where you can feed pigeons and catfish. Wat Umong is located about 2 kilometers west of the old city on Suthep Road .
- Wat That Kham
Wat That Kham is a lesser-known temple that sits on a hill overlooking Chiang Mai. It has a striking golden chedi that can be seen from afar, and a large reclining Buddha statue. The temple also has a beautiful garden and a museum that displays relics and artifacts. Wat That Kham is located about 10 kilometers south of the old city on Ratchaphruek Road .
- Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is the most famous and sacred temple in Chiang Mai, but it is not too crowded if you visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The temple is perched on the top of Doi Suthep mountain, and offers stunning views of the city and the countryside. The temple has a golden stupa that contains Buddha relics, a dragon staircase, and many shrines and statues .
- Wat Suan Dok
Wat Suan Dok is a royal temple that was once a flower garden of the royal family. It has a 48-meter high bell-shaped chedi that enshrines Buddha relics from Sukhothai, and a group of white mausoleums that house the ashes of Chiang Mai’s royal family. The temple also has a large open-sided assembly hall with a Buddha statue .
- Wat Inthakin
Wat Inthakin is a small but elegant temple that stands out for its black color. It is located on the side of the road near Tha Phae Gate, and is often overlooked by tourists. The temple has a wooden viharn (assembly hall) that houses an ancient Buddha image, and a small museum that displays Buddhist scriptures and artifacts.