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Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai

By Kittipong khunnen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai
  • (worth a trip)
  • NA
  • Easy
  • Free
  • 1 hour or less
  • 3 3

The second most famous Wat in Chiang Mai and a must-visit attraction

Chiang Mai Thailand
Thailand is famous for its street food but this part of the city also offers a lot of variety in terms of international cuisine. Finding western restaurants such as Burger King and Star Bucks is really easy though it is best to stick to the local food which is delicious and pocket-friendly. While here, you should definitely try the Pad Thai and Khao Soi. The former happens to be a favourite in the whole country however the latter is a well-known specialty of Chiang Mai
While at it, it is a great idea to indulge into the "Monk Chat" program which allows you to have a heart to heart chat with the monks of the temple about anything and everything. It doesn't have to religious or even spiritual. There are about 3 Wats now in Chiang Mai which offer this program and Wat Chedi Luang happens to be one of them. In fact, the huge banner in the Wat premises encouraging visitors to come and have a chat with the monks daily between 09:00 AM and 06:00 Pm is almost irresistible.
Thailand is one of the cheapest countries not just in Asia but also the whole world. A delicious meal of Pad Thai with sea food should not cost more than 40BHT. A can of Singha or Chang (Thai local beer) costs between 39-45BHT. Travelling within the city using the songthaews is really cheap as well. (it takes me 20 BHT from San Patong to Chiang Mai which is approx. 26 km). A bottle of water costs 7BHT and using public convenience can cost 3-5BHT. Entrance to the temple is free.

One out of the two most important temples in the province of Chiang Mai, Wat Chedi Luang, also known as the Temple of Kings, is undoubtedly one of the most prominent tourist sites in the city. Wat means Temple in Thai language. There is a continuous rivalry, a healthy one though, between Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phra Singh to claim the title of the most important temple of the city. The locals treat Wat Phra Singh as the most important although both stand equally important to visitors and foreign tourists.

 

The construction of the present day temple began in the 14th century and it once comprised of three temples – Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Ho Tham and Wat Sukmin. Wat Chedi Luang was also the original place of the Emerald Buddha which was moved to Luang Prabang in 1551.

 

Some parts of the temple are ruined or half destroyed due to various natural as well as man-made factors such as earthquakes and invasions. A few attempts at restoring the temple has been made however it is still far from its original state, nevertheless, still beautiful and mesmerizing. A major reason why the partly damaged “chedi” or the stupa hasn’t been restored is because no one known how the original one looked like. Go figure!

 

The temple premises and buildings now are a contrasting mix of new renovations and old ram-shackled sections. Some of the interesting features to be noted in the temple premises are the viharn and the “Reclining Buddha”.

 

There is a also a shrine that contains the city pillar of Chiang Mai, Sao Inthakin, which was brought to its current location from its original location, Wat Sadeu Muang, by King Chao Kawila, in 1880. Every year, a 6 to 8 days celebration is held in the month of May to honor the city pillar.

 

Wat Chedi Luang’s Monk Chat happens to be one of the major highlights of the temple visit.

Opening hours

06:00 AM to 06:00 PM Daily

How to get there

The nearest airport is Chiang Mai which is connected to many cities and countries but it is a better idea to arrive at the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport as it has better connectivity to the rest of the world. You can take a flight further from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or avail the night bus or train. The temple is located within the walls of the old city and on the streets where the weekly Sunday market takes place. Take a yellow songthaew which drops you just outside the gates and the Wat is a walking distance from there. You can also hire a scooter or bike to travel within the city and drive to the temple. It is approximately 700 meters from Tha Pae Gate

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