Wat Phra That Doi Kham – The Famous 1300-year-old Temple

When traveling to Chiang Mai, you can see the distinctive golden Wat Phra That Doi Kham, even from very far away. It also serves as a waypoint for planes of Thai Airways as they descend to land at Chiang Mai Airport, as well as being a sacred place with over a thousand years of history since the days of Haripuñjaya Kingdom. So let’s see what exciting legends and stories this famous temple offers.

A Bird'S Eye View Of The Wat Doi Kham Temple

Wat Doi Kham is situated on a small hill in the area of Doi Kham mountain, about 200 meters above sea level, in Tambon Mae Hia, Mueang Chiang Mai District. It is a significant ancient temple that has lasted over 1,300 years since the age of the Haripuñjaya Kingdom. It is where Phra That Doi Kham chedi is located. It contains Buddha relics, making the Phra That a sacred place of Chiang Mai that many tourists and Buddhists like to visit to pay their respects and receive blessings.

History of Wat Phra That Doi Kham

Wat Doi Kham (Temple of Golden Mountain), as we know it in the present, has been through several renovations, so the temple as a whole still has a pristine condition. Initially, the temple was called Wat Suwan Banphot. It was constructed in 687 by Mahantayot and Anantayot, sons of Queen Camadevi – the first ruler and queen of Haripuñjaya Kingdom.

Wat Phra That Doi Kham Buddha Statue

Within the temple is a sermon hall, as well as two enshrined significant Buddha images, which are Phra Rod Luang (a large gilded sandstone Buddha image) and Phra Sam Mor (a clay Buddha image) that was was found and dug up by local villagers in the year 1966 and brought to be enshrined at the temple to bring fortune.

Legend of Wat Phra That Doi Kham: Pu Sae and Ya Sae

In addition to Phra That Doi Kham, Phra Rod Luang, and Phra Sam Mor, there are two statues of giants with a history tied with Phra That Doi Kham. Legend has it that Doi Kham used to be the dwelling of two giants that are husband and wife named Jita and Takeaw, but the locals often refer to them as Pu Sae and Ya Sae, respectively. One day, the angels brought a Buddha head relic to be given to Pu Sae and Ya Sae for safekeeping on Doi Kham, where a stupa was constructed atop it.

Flowers And Offerings In Front Of Images Of The Buddha

Later on, in the year 687, the two sons of Queen Jamadevi found the stupa and commissioned the construction of a chedi to cover the stupa within. It became one of the sacred places of Chiang Mai alongside Phra That Doi Suthep, which is not very far to the north of Wat Phra That Doi Kham.

The Atmosphere Around Wat Phra That Doi Kham

As the temple is situated on a small forested hill, the area around Wat Phra That Doi Kham is surrounded by nature and forests. There is also a scenic viewpoint on a balcony within the temple, displaying a clear view of the city of Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai City View

Visit around the beginning of winter or within the winter season. You can experience cool and relaxing fresh air, perfect for those who have come to pay their respects and receive blessings to achieve peace of mind.

What Doi Kham And Surrounding Nature

Map & Direction

YT Review

Nicest temple of Chiang Mai

Pay attention to the number of people. It can get really crowded during the day. But that’s not surprising because more than 150,000 people visit this temple yearly. The best time to visit the temple is either before noon or in the afternoon after 4 pm.

Flying a drone around the temple

The bird’s-eye view is delightful and impressive. I think hang gliding would be in demand among tourists.


Absolutely! Wat Phra That Doi Kham is a beautiful temple with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. It’s also home to a number of important Buddhist relics, making it an important pilgrimage site for many Buddhists.

The easiest way to get there is by car or taxi. Alternatively, you can take a bus from the city center to the temple.

The entrance fee for tourists is 30 Baht. Because Wat Phra That Doi Kham is a sacred temple, tourists must dress appropriately before visiting this site.

The temple is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily.

Check out our prices for renting automatic scooters and maxi-scooters, semi-automatic motorbikes, and motorcycles with manual gear. If you rent a motorbike in Chiang Mai from our rental shop, then you must have a Category A driver’s license.

If you prefer to travel by car, be sure to read our guide on how you can save up to half the cost of a rental car in Chiang Mai. For a complete list of our travel guides, see our Northern Thailand Routes and Travel Notes section.

If you find inaccuracies in the text or want to add interesting information for our readers, feel free to message us at any time.


Cat Motors Team

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