The Wat Phrathat Doi Kham temple is situated on top of a mountain in Mae Hia sub district of Chiang Mai. It is not a typical tourist stop, more of a reason to add it to your list. This temple is popular with the local residence and will give you insight the local way of life.
Wat Phrathat Doi Kham aka ‘The Golden Mountain Temple’ is perched on the slopes of Doi Kham (Mount Kham). This beautiful temple is only 10 minutes from our apartment and is slowly becoming a regular hiking spot for us. It is home to some of the most spectacular views across Chiang Mai.
To begin the hike we recommend driving or getting a Grab/ tuktuk to Cup Fine Day Cafe (Mae Hia, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand). Follow the signs that will guide you through the forest. The path is a well maintained, and primarily composed of steps carved into the hill. The trail through the forest is typically very quiet and you’ll rarely pass others. This temple can also be reached by car and there is a car park at the top of the hill. Most visitors opt for this.
After hiking for about 15 minutes you will come to a massive stairwell lined with undulating golden nagas, the mythical serpents found everywhere in Thai architecture. This is the final hurdle between you and the stunning views at the top of the mountain.
Once you get to the top you will be greeted by a terrace filled with pavilions, small stands and colourful statues. As you reach the terrace, directly in front of you will see the temple entrance. To your right you will see a large reclining buddha and to your left you will see a tall gold standing buddha. Take a few minutes to enjoy the views of the surrounding city and countryside. They are truly magnificent! There are lots of benches dotted around to take a quick water break and catch your breath before you begin exploring the temple.
The entrance to the temple is guarded by two statues of an elephants head on a birds body. Enter the temple for a true local experience. Watch as the locals bring their offerings to the temple, light their incense and kneel in prayer.
As you walk through the temple you will come to another terrace. Here you will find more colourful statues, and an enormous seated Buddha statue. This statue is the largest in Chiang Mai standing at 17 meters tall. Here you will also find public toilets, and vendors selling everything from coffee to hand crafted goods.
If you are looking for a truly local experience in Chiang Mai away from the hustle and bustle of the well known tourist spots then we highly recommend you check out Wat Phrathat Doi Kham. Entrance is free but do remember to dress modestly (both male and female), remember this is a local place of worship.
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