Doi Suthep is one of Northern Thailand’s most sacred temples and offers spectacular views of the countryside surrounding Chiang Mai.
The first challenge of a visit to this Buddhist temple is getting there. If you approach one of the songthaew (the red buses) in the city centre you will be quoted a private price of around 700-800 baht (£16-18.50). We also wandered aimlessly trying to find the bus station, only to find it and be quoted the same price. Don’t fall for it!
By far the cheapest and best option is to head to the Chang Puak gate in the old city where you will find a series of songthaew waiting to be filled with tourists all heading in the same direction. They won’t set off until there are least 12 of you crammed into the tiny benches either side of the converted pick-up truck, but they will only charge you 50 baht* per person (£1.15) each way.
Doi Suthep is approximately 10 miles away from the centre of Chiang Mai in the mountains. The journey there or back can easily be combined with Chiang Mai zoo.
The temple is situated on the 1,600m (5,120ft) peak of Doi Suthep. From the summit, there are beautiful views of the city and the temple grounds themselves are very peaceful. There are 306 steps to climb to get to the temple so bring good walking shoes and plenty of water (apparently there is also a funicular ride to the top if you don’t fancy the climb). As you are entering a place of worship, remember to dress modestly.
The wat is open daily between 6am and 6pm and admission is 30 baht. There are lots of interesting architecture and statues to see and you can also participate in ‘monk chat’ if you want to find out more about the life of a Buddhist monk and help them to practice their English.
Getting back to the city is much more straightforward. You will find a row of songthaew waiting for you close to the exit, all eager to take your money!
- Prices correct January 2018