Chiang Mai lies on the Ping River, nestled among high mountains in the north of Thailand, around..See all locations in North Thailand
Doi Suthep is a hill located around 15 kilometres from Chang Mai. It is the site of Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep an important Buddhist Temple over 600 years old. It is a significant temple for Thai's and is an important pilgrimage destination during the Buddhist holidays of Makha Buja and Visak.
There is a famous legend relating to the origins of the temple. In ancient times a magical Buddhist relic, some say it was the shoulder bone of Buddha himself, duplicated itself while in the care of a monk and King Nu Naone of the Lanna Kingdom. The larger piece was placed by the king on the back of a White Elephant which was then released. The elephant climed the hill Doi Suthep, before turing three times, trumpeting and then dying. The king then ordered the construction of the temple on the site.
The relatively simple structure from the 14th century has been extensively expanded and renovated over the centuries and is now a golden and granite clad complex containing many buildings. There are some Hindu aspects also incorporated including a statue of Ganesh the elephant god. The gold plated chedi sits in the middle of a marble courtyard. Around the courtyard there are impressive murals that tell the story of Buddhas life.
Visitors can reach the temple via some 300 steps or take a tram ride to the top. Modest dress is required and footware should be removed as a sign of respect. There are impressive views from the hill over Chang Mai. The temple is open daily from 6am to 7 pm.