About Wat Pratat Doi Suthep
Wat Pratat Doi Suthep is a Buddhist Theravada temple and sacred site in Thailand. The exact origins of this ornate temple are uncertain, although several legends testify to its beginnings.
Otherwise, it is generally believed to date back to 1383 when the first stupa was built there, and has since been expanded over time.
Wat Pratat Doi Suthep history
According to legend, a monk had a dream that led him to find the magical shoulder bone of Buddha. Kings vied for the relic, and in 1368 while one half of the shoulder bone was sent to a temple in northern Thailand, the second half was given to a white elephant who took it into the jungle and up the Doi Suthep mountain.
Unfortunately, the elephant dropped dead, and this was seen as an omen. King Nu Naone immediately ordered a temple built on the site.
Wat Pratat Doi Suthep today
Today, Wat Pratat Doi Suthep is a sumptuously decorated temple reached by a climb up 309 steps. Don’t worry if you are not keen on the climb, as a tram will also take you up to the pagodas. Standing at the site is also a large white elephant statue commemorating the founding myth.
However, the main attraction is undoubtedly the incredible golden spire – a chedi – towering 79 feet high. Once inside the temple grounds, visitors must dress respectfully.
Getting to Wat Pratat Doi Suthep
Wat Pratat Doi Suthep can be reach along the road from Chiang Mai and there is a car park at the base of the temple stairs.
From the sumptuous Temple of the Reclining Buddha to the iconic Kwai River Bridge, explore the riches of Thailand's history through our guide to the 10 best historic Thai landmarks and monuments.