Visiting Doi Suthep National Park is one of the best day trips you can make around Chiang Mai, where you can see from the famous Wat Phrat Doi Suthep, to visiting tribal villages and admiring the views from Mount Doi Pui and Mount Suthep.
To help you organize this visit we have provided you with all the information about what to do and what to see in Doi Suthep and around Chiang Mai.
And if you prefer an organized tour, contact our partner El Norte de Talandia so that they can take you by the hand and in Spanish to every corner of this special place.
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CHIANG MAI, MEET THE DOI SUTHEP
To give you an idea of what you can see in the Doi Suthep we leave you the following information to know what to see and how to get there from Chiang Mai
WHAT TO DO AND SEE IN THE DOI SUTHEP
Wat Pha Lat: Located right at the entrance to the park, the Wat Pha Lat is ideal for making the first stop on the trail and getting an idea of what you will see next at Wat Phrat Doi Suthep. The temple is surrounded by a small waterfall that gives a cool atmosphere to its facilities and at its bottom there is a cave with a set of seated Buddhas.
Huay Kaew Waterfall: The Huay Kaew Waterfall is located just before the entrance to the park. This waterfall is ideal to end the day’s excursion. You will be refreshed in its waters before leaving for Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai View Point: Just past the entrance just before the Wat Phrat Doi Suthep this view point is ideal for taking some good pictures of the whole city of Chiang Mai.
Wat Phrat Doi Suthep: Without a doubt one of the most famous temples in the city and in all of Thailand and a must see when you travel to Chiang Mai and northern Thailand. Legend has it that a monk named Sumanaost found a bony relic in 1300 that he believed belonged to the Buddha himself. After taking it to the city his first installation was the Wat Suan Dok Maik where he continues to tell the legend that it broke into 2 parts and both recovered their shape again. In his miraculous belief King Kue Na decided to keep one in the temple and look for a location for the second piece. To choose it he made it climb on the back of a white elephant that after climbing Mount Doi Suthep sounded its trunk 3 times indicating that this was the chosen place. The temple is located at the top of Mount Doi Suthep and you will find a large staircase of about 350 steps flanked by two giant nagas or sacred snake of Buddhist mythology and symbol of protection. Once in the temple enclosure the first thing that will surprise us is the figure of the famous white elephant of the legend and the great golden pagoda of almost 20 m that dominates the site. In the surroundings of Wat Phrat Doi Suthep you will be able to observe several sets of statues and murals representing scenes from the life of Buddha and a small museum where they tell you the history of the construction of the temple and the legends. From Wat Phrat Doi Suthep you will also have incredible views of the city of Chiang Mai.
International Buddhist Center: Right next to the Wat Phrat Doi Suthep this Buddhist center offers courses and meditation retreats (Vipassana).
Monk Cave: Located in the lower part of the complex is famous for always housing a monk who cares for it.
Royal Winter Palace (Bhubing Palace): Built in 1961 it is located halfway between Mount Doi Suthep (8 km) and Mount Doi Pui. Nowadays it is little used by the royal family, being few occasions that some member visits it in winter.
Visit the Hmong tribal villages of Khun Chankian and Maeo Village: On the route between both mountains you will have the option to visit these 2 Hmong villages. Maeo is unfortunately a village practically created for the tourist, full of souvenir shops and stop of all the tours that come from Chiang Mai. Khun Chankian on the other hand is smaller, more authentic and there are few tours that visit it with what is more recommendable.
Sanku Ruins: Just before reaching the top of Doi Pui these ruins are the remains of an ancient Chedi built 700 years ago. Excavations have revealed archaeological remains dating back to the 13th century BC.
HOW TO GO TO THE DOI SUTHEP AND THE SURROUNDINGS OF CHIANG MAI
The best way to get to know the Doi Suthep is by motorcycle or, if you are a group, by taxi. Another option is to take the day trip from Chiang Mai. If you are going in a group, a very good option is to hire a private taxi and do the route at your own pace.
You can also go by van (collective taxi) or Songthaew from the stop on Manee Nopparat Road (north side of the wall) and it costs 40 bth.
The complex is open every day of the year from 8 am to 6 pm. The entrance to the whole complex is 30 bth per person.
As you can see visiting the Doi Suthep and the surroundings of Chiang Mai is a must in your visit to this area of Thailand.
Try to do the route to enjoy the Huay Kaew Waterfall at noon and refresh yourself a little.
Keep the dress code when you visit the Wat Phrat Doi Suthep.
Understand when you are visiting the Hmong tribal villages, which are not a fairground attraction. Treat their people with respect, and ask first if you can take pictures, especially of children and adults. Don’t tip children.
Enjoy the sunset watching Chiang Mai from Wat Phrat Doi Suthep.