Originally founded in 1296, Chiang Mai was intended as the capital of the independent Lanna Kingdom, which it remained until 1558. During this Chiang Mai tour, you will explore the old city areas and see some of its defensive structures like the intact walls and moats. Silent witnesses of the cultural and religious impact this city has had on Northern Thailand, you may choose from over a hundred Buddhist temples within the city walls, including Wat Phra Sing from the 14th century, and 15th-century Wat Chedi Luang.
WHAT WILL YOU SEE DURING YOUR CHIANG MAI TOUR?
Thapae Gate, the 1st City gate of Chiang Mai
The Eastern gate, which is Chiang Mai’s main entrance to the old walled city. Historically, the main entrance to Chiang Mai came from the Mae Ping River, down Tapae Road right up to this gate, which was the main passage up to Chiang Mai.
Chiangmai Gate, the 2nd city gate of Chiang Mai
The Southern gate of the old city started off as the main corridor to Lamphun. Over time, it developed into what it is today; the starting point to Wualai Walking Street, which is a night market that opens on Saturdays.
Suan Dok Gate, the 3rd city gate of Chiang Mai
The Western gate, stands for “flower garden” with “Suan” meaning garden or park and “Dok” is shortened from “Dok Mai“; the Thai word for flower. In 1371, a king dedicated a portion of the gardens to a priest named Phra Maha Sumana and eventually, this was where Wat Suan Dok was built (“Wat” notifies a temple in Thai).
Chang Puak Gate (white elephant), the 4th city gate of Chiang Mai
The Northern Gate is called “Hua Vieng Gate” meaning this is the first gate to enter the city. In Thai language “Hua” means head and in northern Thai “Vieng” is a fortified place.
THE 3-KING MONUMENT
The Three Kings Monument, or Anusawari Sam Kasat, is located in the centre of the ancient walled city of Chiang Mai. Standing in front of the Chiang Mai City Art and Cultural Centre, formally the Provincial Administration Building, the Three Kings Monument was erected to immortalize the 3 Kings, King Mengrai, King Ramkamhaeng of Sukothai and King Ngam Muang of Payao who together were responsible for the founding of Chiang Mai in 1296.
PHRA THAT DOI SUTHEP
Being one of the most celebrated temples in Chiangmai, it is said to contain a relic of lord Buddha himself. With a challenging flight of stairs that counts more than 306 individual steps, and flanked by enormous Mythological Naga, this is a trip you won’t easily forget. Not that there is a cart going up as well but most visitors prefer to take the stairs as it is considered good luck. It also makes the panoramic view of the city that much more rewarding.
WAT SUAN DOK
Wat Suan Dok was founded by King Kue Na of Lanna for the monk Sumana Thera in the year 1370. The temple was built in the centre of Wiang Suan Dok, a walled settlement of the Lawa people older than Chiang Mai itself. The outlines of the fortifications can still be seen on satellite images, and remains of some of the earthen walls are visible north of Suthep road. King Kue Na’s flower garden, which was located here, led the temple to be named Wat Buppharam Dok Mai or Wat Suan Dok Mai for short.
WAT PHRA SINGH
Wat Phra Singh was built in 1345 by King Pha Yu for cremated remains of his father. This was the temple that originally housed the Emerald Buddha, which eventually made its way over to Wat Chedi Luang and is now enshrined in Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok. The temple is named after the Buddha image it housed in 1367, the Phra Singh (Lion Buddha). This temple/monastery fell into disrepair as Chiang Mai’s population declined in the 18th century, but restoration began in the early 19th century under Chao Kawila. The restoration continued under his successor, who is responsible for the murals in Viharn Lai Kham.
WAT CHEDI LUANG
The temple of the Big Stupa is a ruin in the center of Chiang Mai, but impressive nonetheless. King Saen Muang Ma (r.1385-1401) began construction on Wat Chedi Luang in 1391 to hold the ashes of his father, Ku Na. The building was expanded by later kings, reaching its final form in 1475. In 1545, a severe earthquake made the great spire crumble and as of today, the brick chedi of Wat Chedi Luang remains at a height of 60 meters (197ft). At its base it is 44m (144 ft.) wide, with fours sides guarded by stone nagas (mythological Thai snake/monsters). As an addded defensive measure, Elephant statues stand guard halfway up the platform. Despite its ruined state, the chedi still has several Buddha shrines and remains an active place of worship frequented by monks and buddhists alike.
WAT CHIANG MAN
The oldest temple in Chiang Mai city, Wat Chiang Man was built in 1296 by King Mengrai of the Lanna kingdom. The temple is famous for its Lanna-style chedi supported by rows of elephant-shaped buttresses. The beautiful Lanna-style ordination hall enshrines an ancient Buddha image named Phra Kaew Khao, revered by Chiang Mai locals.
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN YOUR CHIANG MAI TOUR?
- English Speaking Guide
*** This is private tour, accept minimum 2 people***