Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai show off a mixture of architectural styles that reflect the varied heritage of Northern Thailand. Elements from Lanna Thai, Burmese, Sri Lankan and Mon temples have all been used in one from or another. Intricate woodcarvings and protective Naga serpent staircases add a flamboyance that reflects an awesome reverence for the Buddhist religion.
Gilded umbrellas, guardian figures from the tales of the Ramayana and stupas trimmed with god filigree combine to heighten the overall effect. To date, there have been some 300 temples constructed in Chiang Mai and its outskirts. During this half-day tour, you will visit Chiang Mai's largest fresh market (Waroros) and the following temples:
Wat Phra Singh : The large chedi was built in 1345 by King Pha Yu to house the remains of his father King Kam Fu. A typical scripture repository is located at this temple as well. These repositories were designed to keep and protect the delicate sa or mullberry paper sheets used by monks to keep records and write down folklore. The high stucco-covered stone base of the repository protected the delicate scriptures from the rain, floods and pests.
Wat Chedi Luang : The temple was originally constructed in 1401 by the orders of King Saeng Muang Ma. In 1454, reigning King Tilo-Garaj enlarged the chedi to a height of 86 meters . After an earthquake in 1545, the chedi lay in ruins until 1991, when it was reconstructed at a cost of several million Baht.
Wat Chiang Man is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai. King Mengrai allegedly lived here while the city of Chiang Mai was constructed.
Enshrined in Wat Suan Dok was built in 1383. It was constructed in the gardens of Lanna Royal Residence. The rows of smaller white chedis contain the ashes of Chiang Mai Royal family.