The Top 10 Must-See Temples in Northern Thailand

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Northern Thailand is filled with temples. The city of Chiang Mai alone contains over 300 temples, and it would take months to visit them all! These are my top choices of must-see temples for when you visit. The Blue and White Temples (9 & 10) are located in the city of Chiang Rai, 3 hours from Chiang Mai. The Big Buddha (8) is located in the city of Pai, also located 3 hours from CM. Most people do day trips, but I suggest staying at least one night to be able to visit these temples early, as they get packed throughout the day with tour buses.    

Visit these temples early in the morning right when it opens to beat the crowds and for the best lighting!

Check out my Chiang Mai guide if you missed it! If you’re lucky enough to visit during the Lantern Festival, here’s a guide on what to expect!

1. Wat Suan Dok

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Hours: 6am – 5pm
Admission: Free

2. Wat Sri Suphan (The Silver Temple)

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Hours: 8am – 11pm
Admission: 50 THB

*Note: Women are not allowed inside this temple due to an ancient belief that the artifacts inside could deteriorate. We are still allowed to visit and take photos outside. It’s definitely worth the visit!

3. Wat Raja Montean

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Hours: I couldn’t find any information on the hours, but we visited at 4pm and the doors were closed so we took pictures outside.
Admission: Free

4. Wat Chedi Luang

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Hours: 6am – 5pm
Admission: 40 THB

*Note: We arrived close to 7am and we weren’t charged an entrance fee. If you visit this early, you can watch the morning ritual of the monks praying inside the main temple.

5. Wat Phra Singh

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Hours: 6am – 5pm
Admission: Free

6. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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Hours: 6am – 6pm
Admission: 20 THB

*Note: This temple sits on top of a mountain and is located about a 20-30 minute drive outside of the city. It’s an amazing place to see the incredible sunrise over the whole city of Chiang Mai. You will have to climb 309 steps to reach the top.

7. Wat Saen Fang

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Hours: 6am – 5pm
Admission: Free

8. Big Buddha (Pai)

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Hours: Open 24 hours
Admission: Free

*Note: A great place to watch the sunset! We visited at 8am though, with no one in sight! There are more than 300 steps to get to the top.

9. Wat Rong Khun (The White Temple, Chiang Rai)

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Hours: 8am – 5:30pm
Admission: 50 THB

*Note: This is the busiest place for crowds if you want a photo in front of the temple. We visited in the early morning and late afternoon. The best time to visit for photos is near closing from 4-5:30pm as all the day tour buses will have gone. Make sure to visit the gold structure behind the White Temple – we had no idea this was here as we hadn’t seen any photos on social, but it is absolutely beautiful.

10. Wat Rong Sear Tean (The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai)

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Hours: 8am – 8pm
Admission: Free

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