Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is most commonly referred to as “Doi Suthep”, although this is actually the name of the mountain where it is located. The temple is part of Doi Suthep National Park, a richly forested area, approx. 1000m above sea level and home to over 300 species of birds.
It is a majestic place filled with energy, culture, architecture, history and people. Aspects of the wat draw from both Buddhism and Hinduism. There is a model of the Emerald Buddha and a statue of the Hindu God Ganesh.
Wat Doi Suthep is approached by a steep flight of 309 stairs, flanked by green trees and guarded by 16th Centruy Naga figures. Depending on the weather, amazing views can often be had from the temples lower terrace. The terrace is surrounded by large bells that are rung by pilgrims to bring good luck. The legendary elephant who chose the site of the temple is on the northwest corner. The legendary white elephant is said to have climbed Doi Suthep, at that time called Doi Aoy Chang (Sugar Elephant Mountain), stopped, trumpeted three times and then dropped dead. This was interpreted as an omen and King Nu Naone immediately ordered the construction of a temple at the site.
The upper terrace is home to many small shrines, golden umbrellas, bells and Buddha statues. Shoes must be taken off and shoulders covered before entering this sacred area. The great Chedi, a dazzling copper/ gold plated temple is situated in the center of the upper terrace.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep can be easily be reached via a well maintained, steep and curvy road from Chiang Mai. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the top from the Centre of Chiang Mai City by Songthaew, Taxi or Scooter. Alternatively, you can Hike up all the way from the monk trail at the end of Suthep Road if you are feeling fit. It is steep and challenging and takes approx. 80 to 120 minutes to reach the Top.
Except to pay approx. 40 baht one-way via Songthaew from Chiang Mai Univiersity, 60 baht one-way via Songthaew from Old City and approx. 500 baht return trip with a private taxi. Dpi Suthep should be a must on anybody’s visit to Chiang Mai and arguably the most visited attraction in Chiang Mai.
Open hours: 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Entry Fee: 30 baht for tourists. 50 baht with tram (cable car).
Address: Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Road Tambon Su Thep, Chiang Mai Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200
Tel: 053 295 002