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Atop Doi Suthep

As if we hadn't had enough of temples in Chiang Mai, my friend Kat of Excursionista decided to head up to Doi Suthep, one of the most revered temples in the region.

Looking for Inner Peace?

If you've come to find inner peace and Buddhism, Doi Suthep is probably not the place. Its popularity with locals and foreigners alike, Doi Suthep is always filled with people who practice their religion, who just want to tick off a place from their must-see lists, and curious foreigners who simply just tagged along with their ragtag crew clad in over-sized elephant print pants.

The droves of people coming and going might not be there during the wee hours of the morning or late in the afternoon, but when we were there, there was just too many people. You have two options to get to the temple; one is to climb the more than 300 steps, or pay 50 Baht for a two way ticket to go up and down the mountain including the entrance fee.

Doi Suthep is actually the name of the mountain where the temple is located. The temple was constructed for Theravada Buddhism practitioners. The temple is 15 kilometers from Chiang Mai city and is a sacred site to many Thais.

The temple was believed to have been founded in the 1380s.

The most sacred area of the temple is the original copper-plated chedi. Like most of the temples in Thailand, visitors must take their shoes off and dress appropriately before entering. There were plenty of statues of Buddha inside the temple complex, bells, pagodas, and shrines. It was quite cloudy when my friend and I visited the temple, we could barely see the city below and some of the pagodas were wrapped in mist.

There are plenty of other temples in different parts of Chiang Mai that are not as crowded as Wat Doi Suthep. I'd still recommend a trip to the temple but if you're looking for a serene atmosphere with few people, Wat Doi Suthep during peak hours isn't the place to find it.

*We booked a car to take us around the city and up Doi Suthep for 600 Baht round way. Since I wasn't traveling by myself, I was more amenable to spending a little extra for convenience.

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