Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and Meo Hill Tribe Village Chiang Mai

Doi Suthep Chiang Mai
Doi Suthep Chiang Mai

If you are in Chiang Mai as a tourist or as a pilgrim, the one excursion you will certainly make out of town is to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai’s most gleaming golden symbol. This temple is not just important religiously but also historically. This is a Theravada (Old School) Buddhist Temple founded in the 14th century A.D. on a mountain called “Doi Suthep” at a spot where an elephant carrying a sacred relic of Lord Buddha trumpeted three times and then died, thus marking the spot appropriate for the temple. The path to the temple now has easy stone steps, a little over 300, and a cable car for those unwilling to climb the staircase. Foreigners need to buy an entry ticket (50 THB) to get into the temple. Cable car costs some extra if you do not want to climb the stairs. The temple is open all day but the cable car is operational only from 6.00am to 8.30pm. In this majestic place, you will find Pagodas, Stupas, Buddha statues, a museum, Viharas, Towers, a book shop, a coffee shop, and even a mini mart. Foreigners not familiar with the local culture are advised to be careful of their behaviour.

Tour Cost and Availability

Your hotel’s tour desk or any travel agent in Chiang Mai will offer a half-day tour of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep for 700-800 THB. If you are taking a conducted tour, a visit to Meo (Hmong) Hill Tribal Village or Bhuping Palace will be thrown in as a bonus to the tour and the entry ticket/cable car ticket will be included in the price. If you are made to choose between the Tribal Village and the Bhuping Palace, I suggest going for Bhuping Palace because the Hill Tribal Village is nothing but a few shops.

Meo (Hmong) Hill Tribal Village Chiang Mai

Shops at Meo (Hmong) Hill Tribal Village Chiang Mai
Shops at Meo (Hmong) Hill Tribal Village Chiang Mai

I had booked my tour at the travel desk of Suriwongse Hotel Night Bazaar for Doi Suthep and Meo Hill Tribal Village. There was no discount if I missed the Tribal Village. We were first taken to this village where our tour guide tried her best to make us buy some souvenirs. It was a nice walk through this row of shops with the added benefit of fresh and cold mountain air. At the end of the shops, I saw a sign board pointing towards a Meo Hill Tribe Museum but our tour guide was in no mood to go that way.

Coffee Shop at Meo (Hmong) Hill Tribal Village Chiang Mai
Coffee Shop at Meo (Hmong) Hill Tribal Village Chiang Mai

I returned to our vehicle and then saw this nice little coffee shop. I had a hot coffee and really enjoyed it. The tasty coffee and the clean mountain air made this otherwise useless stop worthwhile.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Buddha Statue at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Chiang Mai
Buddha Statue at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Chiang Mai

For visiting the temple complex, you are supposed to dress politely & not wear shorts, take off your shoes at the designated place, do not touch Buddha images, and do not show “affection” towards your partner (means no kissing, etc).

300 Stairs to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Chiang Mai
300 Stairs to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Chiang Mai

The temple complex offers a complete introduction to the Theravada Buddhist customs like lighting of lamps and incense sticks, prayers, meditation, writing your name on a robe that will be wrapped around the Pagoda, and taking special blessings from a monk, etc.

Courtyard at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Chiang Mai
Courtyard at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Chiang Mai

On one side of the temple there is a viewing platform offering stunning views of Chiang Mai city below. You are also treated to traditional Thai Dance performances by a troupe of little girls. See more pictures below…

Traditional Thai Dance at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Chiang Mai
Traditional Thai Dance at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Chiang Mai
View of Chiang Mai from Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Chiang Mai
View of Chiang Mai from Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Chiang Mai
Hi. Thanks for visiting my travel blog. As of now, two countries, Thailand and Cambodia, are covered in this blog. Both of these countries are great for tourism and both can be visited without buying any conducted tours. Please read my articles and leave a comment or question for additional information. I will be happy to help.  | Facebook | Twitter