The Wat Pha Lat is one of those corners of Chiang Mai that are worth seeing when you are visiting the city and its surroundings. Located at the foot of Mount Doi Suthep, the Wat Pha Lat or Wat Palad as it is also known is a small temple surrounded by woods, where one can relax and soak up the spirituality of the place.
VISIT THE WAT PHA LAT
The origin of the temple is to be found alongside the Wat Doi Suthep as it was built to commemorate the site where the famous white elephant carrying the Buddha’s relics decided to sound its trunk 3 times and served from that moment on as a rest and meditation area for the pilgrims who climbed to the top of the Doi Suthep to visit the temple.
Apart from the temple itself as the main site, there is also a small cave full of Buddha images and a small spring of fresh water that tradition says served to refresh the pilgrims and has medicinal properties.
In all the surroundings the thick vegetation stands out mainly because it is not necessary to forget that the Wat Pha Lat is known in a colloquial way as the temple of the jungle.
HOW TO GO TO THE WAT PHA LAT
Because of its proximity to Chiang Mai, it is very easy to reach Wat Pha Lat independently, either by motorcycle, taxi, truck or by climbing up to the temple for a short trek.
Walking up – trekking:
Undoubtedly the best option because the path or the ascent will allow us to enjoy the views and the environment. For this we must go to the Chiang Mai Zoo and from there take Suthep Road where we will find the trail. The path is easy to follow as it is indicated in a very curious way… the trees are marked with orange strips. This path also called Monks Trails allows you to walk through the jungle surrounding the temple. The route is completed in about 45 min – 1 hour. It is still very common to come across monks going up to the temple.
Rented car or motorbike:
If we go on our own by motorcycle we must first go to the area of the university and from there we take the road that leads directly to the temple.
Private taxi and collective taxi:
If you don’t have the option to go on your own by motorcycle you can always go by taxi especially this option is good if you are a group of people as the cost of the trip will be minimal. If you are travelling alone or with a partner, another option is to take a collective van (songthaew) These vans leave from the Chiang Mai University area (60 bth) in the direction of the WaT Doi Shutep .
WAT PHA LAT SCHEDULE
The Wat Pha Lat is open from 6 am to 5 pm and admission is free.
A visit to the Wat Pha Lat is ideal for combining the day trip with a visit to the Doi Suthep and also to the Wat Umong. Many people walk up to the Wat Pha Lat and from the temple itself continue by truck (40 bth (to the top of the Doi Suthep). You could also walk but it is a harder walk that takes about 2 hours.
Avoid going on weekends, the influx of tourists is much higher.
If you take the option to walk up, wear comfortable shoes, light raincoat and it would not be bad to take mosquito repellent, especially for the time of the descent if it coincides with the afternoon.