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Wat Pan Tao, Chiang Mai

By Davidryo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Wat Pan Tao, Chiang Mai
  • (worth a trip)
  • NA
  • Easy
  • Average
  • 2 hours
  • 3 3

Wat Phan Tao is one of the oldest wats in Chiang Mai.

Phra Pok Klao Road, Amphoe Mueang, 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.
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 3-5 BHT. Entrance to the temple is free.

Though not as famous or significant like Wat Chedi Luang or Wat Phra Singh, Wat Phan Tao definitely holds the title for one of the oldest temples in Chiang Mai. The name literally means “the temple of a thousand kilns” and some believe that it is because the temple held large ovens which were used in casting Buddha images adjoining neighbor, Wat Chedi Luang. Wat Phan Tao was created as an ancillary temple to the royal temple of Wat Chedi Luang.


History shows, that the edifice was not originally created to be a temple but only a royal palace building for the ruler of Chiang Mai, Chao Mahawong. However, in 1876, the old royal palace building was refurbished and created into a monastery. Some remnants from the ruler’s time still show. For example, a few of the decorations in the building depict dogs and it is believed that the dog is the zodiac sign of the year the ruler.


One of the primary attractions inside the temple premises is the viharn which is entirely crafted out of teak panels over a stone base. It is claimed to be one of the last remaining all-wooden structures in the entire city.The front facade is specially striking. Inside the viharn, huge teak pillars, painted red, offer support to the building. Opposite the entrance is the magnificent golden Buddha statue which is the Wat Phan Tao’s primary Buddha image.


Apart from the above, the interiors also house several fascinating items which include but are not limited to  a number of old wooden boxes decorated with gold leaf containing old Dhamma texts and Buddhist scriptures written on palm leaves.

Opening hours

06:00 A.M to 05:00 P.M. everyday

How to get there

The temple is located right next to Wat Chedi Luang which is one of the two most famous temples in the city of Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is located close to the center of the old walled part of Chiang Mai just South of Ratchadamnoen road. The main entrance is on Phra Pok Klao road that runs North to South through the old city.