Chiang Mai Walking Tour


CHIANG MAI

WALKING TOUR

Embark on a captivating walking tour of Chiang Mai, exploring its ancient temples, bustling markets, and historic sites. Discover the charm of Thailand’s northern jewel as you delve into its rich cultural heritage and vibrant street life, making unforgettable memories in this enchanting city.

Start at Tha Pae Gate:

Tha Pae Gate is one of the most famous landmarks in Chiang Mai, serving as the main entrance to the old city. Originally built in the 13th century as part of the fortified wall, the gate was restored in the 1980s and is now a popular spot for tourists and a venue for many local festivals. It’s a great place to watch pigeons and people, especially in the early evening.

History: Tha Pae Gate, erected in the late 13th century, stands as a significant remnant of Chiang Mai’s ancient fortifications. Originally built to fortify the city against potential invasions, it symbolizes the historical and cultural heritage of northern Thailand. Over the centuries, it has witnessed the ebb and flow of Chiang Mai’s history, from battles to royal processions. Despite modernization, it remains a revered landmark, drawing visitors to its imposing structure and serving as a gateway to the vibrant life within the Old City. Today, it stands as a testament to Chiang Mai’s enduring legacy and proud identity

Wat Chedi Luang

Constructed in the 14th century, Wat Chedi Luang once housed the Emerald Buddha, Thailand’s most sacred religious relic. The massive chedi (pagoda) stands impressively at the temple center, even in its damaged state caused by the 16th-century earthquake. The temple also hosts monk chats, where visitors can speak with monks to learn more about Buddhism and daily temple life.

History: Wat Chedi Luang, a majestic temple in the heart of Chiang Mai, was originally constructed in the 14th century during the reign of King Saen Muang Ma. Intended to house the ashes of the king’s father, the temple’s construction continued for several decades. The chedi, once reaching a height of nearly 90 meters, was the largest structure in ancient Lanna. However, a significant earthquake in 1545 toppled much of its upper structure, reducing its grandeur but not its significance. Throughout its history, it even briefly housed the revered Emerald Buddha, now in Bangkok. Today, Wat Chedi Luang remains a central site of worship and a historical landmark, reflecting the architectural and religious heritage of the Lanna kingdom.

Thailand Chiang Mai

Three Kings Monument

This iconic statue in the centre of Chiang Mai honors the founders of the city: King Mengrai, King Ramkhamhaeng, and King Ngam Muang. Situated in a small public square, it’s a common gathering place for locals during festivals. The surrounding area is full of quaint cafes and small shops, perfect for exploring local crafts.

History: The Three Kings Monument commemorates three historical figures significant to the region: King Mengrai, the founder of Chiang Rai and the Lanna Kingdom; King Ramkhamhaeng of Sukhothai; and King Ngam Muang of Phayao. These leaders are celebrated for their alliance and collaboration in the founding and establishment of the area during the 13th century. Sculpted by Thai artist Sa-Nguan Sillapasart, the monument was erected in 1984 in front of the old Provincial Hall, which now serves as the Chiang Rai Cultural and Arts Center. The site is a focal point for cultural celebrations and a symbol of unity and heritage among the people of Chiang Rai.

Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre

Housed in an old colonial building that was once the provincial hall, this museum offers a deep dive into the history of Chiang Mai and the surrounding region through well-curated exhibits that include traditional clothing, tools, and artworks. The museum helps visitors connect the dots between the past and present of Northern Thailand.

 

 

Lunch at a Local Market or Restaurant

For an authentic dining experience, visit the Warorot Market, a favorite among locals for its variety of traditional Thai food, fresh fruit, and exotic snacks. Alternatively, you might choose a restaurant like Huen Phen, known for its excellent Northern Thai cuisine served in a rustic, Lanna-style setting.

Wat Chiang Man

As the oldest temple, Wat Chiang Man features two important Buddha images: the Crystal Buddha and the Marble Buddha. The temple complex is less crowded than others, offering a peaceful atmosphere to appreciate the exquisite Lanna architecture and fine carvings that reflect the temple’s historical importance and artistry.

History: Wat Chiang Man, the oldest temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand, holds a rich history dating back to the 13th century. Constructed by King Mengrai, the founder of the Lanna Kingdom, it served as his residence while overseeing the city’s construction. The temple is renowned for its unique architecture, blending Lanna and Sukhothai styles. Within its grounds lies the Crystal Buddha, a revered image believed to have protective powers. Over centuries, Wat Chiang Man has been restored and expanded, preserving its cultural significance. 

Wat Phra Singh

Located within the city walls, Wat Phra Singh dates back to 1345 and is home to the Phra Singh Buddha, a highly venerated figure brought from Ceylon. This temple is a hub of activity during the Songkran festival when locals come to bathe the Buddha statue. The temple’s grounds are also a tranquil place to escape the city’s hustle and bustle.

History: Wat Phra Singh, located in Chiang Mai, Thailand, was founded in 1345 under King Phayu of the Lanna Kingdom. This temple is one of the most important cultural and religious sites in northern Thailand. It houses the Phra Singh Buddha, a highly revered statue brought from Sri Lanka, which gives the temple its name, meaning “Temple of the Lion Buddha.” Architecturally, Wat Phra Singh is a prime example of classic Lanna style, with intricate wood carvings and gold-plated Lanna stupas. Over the centuries, it has been expanded and renovated numerous times, retaining its significance as a center for religious ceremonies and Songkran festival celebrations.

Thai Pae Walking Street

Open every Sunday from 4 PM, this market transforms the streets into a lively festival of crafts, clothing, art, and food. The Walking Street is an excellent opportunity to sample local specialties like Khao Soi (curry noodles) and Sai Oua (Chiang Mai sausage), watch street performances, and browse handmade goods by local artisans.