Walking Tour of Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city and is located in the northern part of the country. The major tourist attractions are found in the Old City, which is surrounded by a moat, and eastward to the Ping River. Within the moat area are several Wats which should be explored: Wat Chiang Man, the city’s oldest, Wat Chedi Luang, with its Golden Buddha, and Wat Phra Singh, with its Bronze Buddha. Other attractions lie just outside the city.
My walk begins at the Tha Phae Gate, located at the eastern end of the Old City. The flagstone square here is a gathering place for locals and visitors alike. Walk west on Thanon Rathchadamnoen and turn left onto Thanon Phra Pokklao. Wat Phan Tao, whose teak hall is particularly interesting, is on the right. Walk through the wall behind this temple to find Wat Chedi Luang, once the home of the famous Emerald Buddha, today housed in Wat Phra Kaew, in Bangkok.
Exit onto Pokklao Road heading south, and turn right onto Thanon Ratchamankha. When you reach Thanon Samlan, turn left. Wat Phuak Hong, with its unusual design, is on the right.
Now, reverse direction on Thanon Samlan and walk north. Look to the left when you reach Thanon Ratchadamnoen to find Wat Phra Singh, one of the city’s most important shrines. It houses the Lion Buddha and dates to the late 14th century.
After your visit, walk eastward on Thanon Ratchadamnoen. Wat Chai Phra Kiat, on your left, contains a large, bronze Buddha. Continue east, and then turn left onto Thanon Ratchaphakhinai. Ahead, on the left, in the northwestern corner of the Old City, is Wat Chiang Mai and the location of two famous Buddhas, the White Emerald Buddha and the Phra Sila Buddha.
Reverse your steps back to Thanon Ratchadamnoen. On your way, notice Wat Lan Chong, on your left, then turn left to return to Pratu Tha Phae, where your walk began.
To extend the walk, continue east on Thanon Tha Phae to find Wat Mahawan, on your right, Wat Chetawan, on the left, and Wat Bupparam, on the right. After your exploration of these three interesting and ornate temples, return to your starting location by reversing direction.