Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is considered to be one of the most sacred temples by the Thai people. Yes, it’s very touristy, being the third ranked site to visit on TripAdvisor, but it’s still very much worth a visit. Many of the people who visit Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, Thailand aren’t tourists, but pilgrims, who come to this holy spot to pay respect.
I recommend taking the 309 steps up the Naga serpent staircase to get the full effect, but if you don’t want to walk, you can also take a lift to the top for 30 baht ($1 USD).
At the top, you will find the glistening Golden Pagoda. It is a tradition of the pilgrims to pay respect by walking around the pagoda for three rounds.
The wall around the Pagoda has many rows of Buddha statues and colored murals which show the life of Buddha.
Once outside the pagoda area, you will see a stunning panoramic view of Chiang Mai below. It’s a very scenic area and not to be missed. When I visited, I got caught in a rainstorm and took shelter in the bell tower nearby.
Wat Doi Suthep was originally built as a Buddhist monastery, and there are still monks living there. From 1-3 PM each day, you can join in a monk chat, and have a conversation with the monks to find out more about them.
On your way back to the city from Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, stop at Huay Kaew Waterfall. I went right after a rainstorm, so there was hardly anyone around.
I loved the gorgeous flowers and butterflies surrounding the waterfall, and it was a nice place of solitude to relax for awhile.
It’s a great spot to watch the local kids play in the water, and to watch a slice of local life.
Cobras and Kraits have been seen in the area, so stick to the hiking paths when you visit.
You can reach Huay Kaew waterfall, by turning into the parking lot just past the Chiang Mai Zoo on Huay Kaew Road. You will see a sign directing you to the waterfall. Admission to the waterfall is free.
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