Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep - an icon of Thai temples
Thailand is well known for its countless elaborate Buddhist temples, and nowhere are they on display more prominently than in Chiang Mai. This northern city has become a staple of Thailand tours and it's easy to see why, given that it's is home to more than 300 ornate temples. Though there are hundreds to choose from, a stop at the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep during a visit to Chiang Mai is a must.
Located about a 30-minute car ride from the center of the city, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is situated at the end of an approximately 300-step route, which not only brings you face-to-face with the famous temple, it also provides beautiful views of Chiang Mai below. The temple is estimated to date back to 1383, which adds a considerable historical element to the already-sacred and awe-inspiring setting atop the mountain.
The sprawling grounds are peppered with impressive structures, but the gold-plated great chedi is undoubtedly the highlight of any visit to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. The temple was given its gold plates in the 16th century, and it's gilded appearance has drawn visitors from around the world.
Along with paying a visit to the chedi, there are a number of other places to stop on your trip to this sacred site. For instance, the temple gets its name from Doi Suthep, the mountain it's situated on and the surrounding national park, which is a great place for visitors to go hiking. Among the most popular spots in the park is a trail that brings you to Doi Pui, which stands more than 5,500 feet above the city below, and is the perfect way to end a trip to this staple of a tour of Thailand.