The verdant hills surrounding cosmopolitan Chiang Mai have long been dotted with hill tribe villages of Thailand’s many ethnic minorities. Visiting one or more of these rural outposts has become a quintessential northern Thailand experience. Here’s what you need to know.
Wat Suan Dok
Suthep Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Wat Suan Dok is a favorite among travelers, particularly photographers, who gather amid the temple’s ornate structures during sunrise and sunset to capture impressive photos filled with rose-colored light. A 500-year-old bronze Buddha—one of the largest in the region—also makes this a popular stop. At the on-site Buddhist university, monks in training are often eager to share conversation and practice their English with visitors in informal "monk chats.” Many cultural and temple tours of Chiang Mai include a stop at Wat Suan Dok, along with other notable attractions such as Wat Phra That Doi Suthep or Kad Thon Payom market.
Private Chiang Mai City Tour including Wat Doi Suthep, Wat Suan Dok (SHA Plus)
$99.01 per adult
Outstanding tour of the temples of Chiang Mai and vicinity
Very well organized private tour. The guide personalized our experience. Explained the rich history of Chiang Mai as the former capital of the Northern kingdom. The cold towels and the stready supply of cold water bottles were helpful in the hot tropical climate. The guide was attentive to detail. We spent the right amount of time at each stop and had an unforgettable experience overall. Strongly recommend!
Rajesh_K, Feb 2020
Things to Know Before You Go
Wat Suan Dok is a must-visit for photographers and those interested in Thai Buddhism.
Remember to dress respectfully, as this is an active place of worship.
The temple is free to enter, but donations are accepted.
How to Get There
The temple is located on Suthep Road, a half-mile (1 kilometer) west of the Suan Dok Gate, west of Chiang Mai’s Old City. If you’re not visiting with a guide, the best way to get there is to hire a tuk-tuk.
When to Get There
Those wanting to capture images of the impressive temple architecture should plan to arrive just before sunrise or sunset. Monk chats on the grounds typically take place on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings.
The Founding of Doi Suthep
If local legend is to be believed, Wat Suan Dok played a part in the founding of nearby Doi Suthep Temple. As the story goes, Wat Suan Dok once housed a Buddhist relic that broke into two pieces. One piece was housed in the temple’s main pagoda; the other was placed on the back of a white elephant. The elephant then climbed Doi Suthep and died on its slopes. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep was founded on the site where the animal met its demise.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the nearest attractions to Wat Suan Dok?
What else should I know about attractions in Chiang Mai?
- Chiang Mai National Museum
- Wat Phra Singh Waramahawihan
- Chiang Mai Zoo & Aquarium
- Three Kings Monument (Anusawari Sam Kasat)
- Wat Chedi Luang
- Chiang Mai City Arts & Cultural Centre
- Wat Chiang Man
- Tunnel Temple (Wat Umong)
- Baan Chang Elephant Park
- Saturday and Sunday Walking Street Market
- Thapae Stadium
- Araksa Tea Plantation
- Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
- Warorot Market
- Art in Paradise