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біля Ban Chang Phuak, เชียงใหม่ (ไทย)
The wát is a beautiful example of northern Thai architecture, reached via a 306-step staircase flanked by naga (serpents); the climb is intended to help devotees accrue Buddhist merit.
You may hike the monk trail to the temple walking in the jungle and visiting two other two temples.
To hike to Wat Doi Suthep, you must reach the end of Suthep Road, just by Chiang Mai University.
You can take a songthaew (the red shared “taxis”) to this point.
From here, you will walk forward and turn right at the intersection, heading towards the rear entry of Chiang Mai Zoo.
As you head this way, you will notice in the distance a big red and white radio/tv antenna to your right – this is more less the start of the actual monk’s trail.
Once you pass the zoo, you will walk slightly uphill for about 3 to 5 more minutes until you see the trail sign at the end of the road, slightly towards the left. It is next to the big antenna.
For this hike, it is highly recommended to wear closed shoes or hiking footwear, as the trail is rough and quite rocky sometimes.
It is also recommended to take mosquito repellent since there are a lot of mosquitoes in the forest if you are walking in the rain season.
It is also important to notice that you are hiking to a Buddhist temple, so wear proper clothing or carry some pieces of clothing in a daypack to cover your shoulders and/or thighs.
The trail has a mild incline of moderate difficulty and takes about 45 minutes from this point to Wat Pha Lat. Once you enter the trail, follow the trees wrapped in the customary orange cloth monks use to dress themselves.
You need a 45 minutes hike to reach Wat Pha Lat, which means “Monastery at the Sloping Rock”, was originally used as a resting place for people walking up to worship at Doi Suthep.
But once the road was built in 1935, making Doi Suthep much more accessible; Wat Pha Lat, in turn, became a monks’ residence.
Should you decide to stop your hike here, you can easily walk to the street and take a songthaew back to the city (around 60 bahts), but should you decide to hike up to Doi Suthep, you can continue the trail along the river until you reach the road.
Once at the road, you will turn to the left and cross to the opposite side of the road, where you will enter the first path you’ll see to your right (the one before the street sign pointing opposite your way). From here on, the trail is not marked with orange cloths, but it is easy to follow. You’ll often see the power lines that go up to Doi Suthep parallel to the trail.
When near the Doi Suthep you reach the road again, don't follow it but go on the right along an open gare and an unpaved road that ends in front of a house, turn back and follow a stair on the right and crossing the monk residence you reach the terrace of the temple
From the temple you have to go down a 306-step staircase and reach the songthaew strating point to Chiang Mai (13 km)
If you have time you may visit the garden of Phuping royal palace 4 km away along the same road.
You may go by songthaew or hitch-hiking
From the entrance of the royal residenze you may go back by songthaew
More about Doi Suthep Temple
The monastery was established in 1383 by King Keu Naone to enshrine a piece of bone said to be from the shoulder of the historical Buddha. The bone shard was brought to Lanna by a wandering monk from Sukhothai and it broke into two pieces at the base of the mountain, with one piece being enshrined at Wat Suan Dok. The second fragment was mounted onto a sacred white elephant that wandered the jungle until it died, in the process selecting the spot where the monastery was later founded.
The terrace at the top of the steps is dotted with breadfruit trees, small shrines, rock gardens and monuments, including a statue of the white elephant that carried the Buddha relic to its current resting place. Before entering the inner courtyard, children pay their respects to a lizard-like guardian dragon statue known as 'Mom'.
Steps lead up to the inner terrace, where a walkway circumnavigates the gleaming golden chedi enshrining the relic. The crowning five-tiered umbrella marks the city's independence from Burma and its union with Thailand. Pilgrims queue to leave lotus blossoms and other offerings at the shrines surrounding the chedi, which are studded with Buddha statues in an amazing variety of poses and materials.
More about Pha Lat Temple
On the way to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep wat Pha Latt is seldom visited by tourists.
Yes, Doi Suthep is the most famous temple and among the most beautiful in Chiang Mai; but Wat Pha Lat, while smaller and less opulent, has a setting that rivals Doi Suthep’s overall beauty.
Wat Pha Lat is nestled in the forest just a few kilometers down the road from Doi Suthep.
There are no crowds, no shops or food stalls, no unwanted distractions.
This Buddhist temple is as peaceful as it can get, sitting next to a waterfall and hiding under the tree’s canopy. It might be completely out of sight, but it has a stunning overview of the city of Chiang Mai that is worth admiring.