Visiting Wat Doi Suthep on Songkran

Visiting Wat Doi Suthep during Songkran in Chiang Mai (Thai New Year) was one of the most spiritual experiences I had in Thailand, but it was also the most surreal, seeing pilgrims pray with their super soakers on their backs!

My visit to Wat Doi Suthep ended with a fall down the Naga stairs that resulted in my sprained ankle! Well, you gotta take the rough with the smooth!

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The Naga Stairs

Wat Doi Suthep — The Spiritual Pilgrimage of Chiang Mai

Wat Doi Suthep is one of the most spiritual places in Thailand, along with Wat Pho (Bangkok), Doi Inthanon and the temple caves of Krabi.

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Golden Buddha statue inside Wat Doi Suthep main temple

Buddhist Worship at Wat Doi Suthep

Remember that Wat Doi Suthep is a very holy place where many Buddhist pilgrims visit. Legend has it that a fragment of bone of the Buddha was placed on an elephant and the temple was built on the site where he died.

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Statue of the Elephant that ‘chose’ the temple site

A site was dug to contain the relic, and the golden Chedi (stupa) was built on top.

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Do remove your shoes before entering the temple. You are welcome to go into the shrines and Viharas (prayer halls) but sit silently and do not point your feet at Buddha as it is extremely disrespectful.

Inside the main temple, many Buddhists will be praying to Buddha, lighting incense and giving offerings.

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Praying to Buddha at Wat Doi Suthep
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Golden Chedi (Stupa) of Wat Doi Suthep

Circling the Chedi

Buddhists circle the Chedi three times in a clockwise direction holding a lotus flower to show respect for the relics of the Chedi and as a form of worship.

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Exploring the Temple Complex

Wat Doi Suthep is not one temple or shrine but many dotted around the temple complex. The views are stunning. Make sure that you walk around the external temple building to discover further treasures and shrines.

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Green Buddha Shrine outside Wat Doi Suthep

Explore the Temple Grounds

What Doi Suthep is a temple complex, rather than just one temple, as many in Thailand usually are. Walk around to the side and back of the temple and you will find many other Buddhas, outdoor shrines and smaller temple buildings.

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Outdoor Shrine

If you’re in Thailand, I highly recommend a visit to Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai. You might also be interested in this article on the best temples of South East Asia according to top travel bloggers.

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A Fish called Mom! Wat Doi Suthep
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The Best Temples Of Angkor Wat From Top Travel Bloggers

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About Me

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I did my degree in Religions and Theology at the University of Manchester, and loved every minute. Buddhism and Hinduism were my key areas of study. My favourite units were ‘Buddhism and Modernity’ with Francesca Torocco and Indian Philosophy with Jacqueline Southern-Hurst.

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Hi I’m Amy — travel blogger, dog lover, digital marketer. I write mainly about Europe, Middle East and Southeast Asia. Getting into drones!

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