Learn the intriguing history behind this iconic temple that holds some of the most important artifacts in the Buddhist religion.
Wat Chedi Luang is a historic 15th-century chedi for housing important Buddhist relics. Partially ruined, it has an enigmatic ambiance and imposing presence in the historic center of the city. Appreciate the intricate designs and carvings that are typical of the Lanna style of the temples here.
The highlight of the site is the jade replica of the Emerald Buddha sculpture. The reproduction was given as a gift to the Thai king in 1995. See the five elephant sculptures that make up the base of the southern façade of the stupa. The elephant on the far right is the only remaining original carving.
The main building is 197 feet (60 meters) high and 144 feet (44 meters) wide. Capture photos of the sculpted snakes that appear to guard the main staircase. Gaze up at the structure at night, when it glows in a bright orange hue.
Stroll through the various chapels and spot the Phra Chao Attarot Buddha incarnation, which is flanked by two disciples. See the enormous reclining Buddha in the pavilion at the back of the complex. Monk Chats take place daily under a tree, allowing visitors to speak with the temple’s monks to learn about their aspirations and insights.
Beside the temple buildings look for the city pillar, which was allegedly erected by King Mengrai in 1296. According to Buddhist rules, only men may enter the pavilion to view the pillar.
Note that the buildings were damaged many times over the years due to earthquakes and cannon fire. A UNESCO renovation project in the 1990s brought stabilization to the complex.
Enter the complex for free. Donations are accepted. Visit daily from early morning until early evening.
Wat Chedi Luang is in the Phra Singh zone in the northern section of Chiang Mai. Stop at nearby attractions, such as the Three Kings Monument, the Wat Phra Singh and the Wat Chiang Man.