Chiang Mai Life & Legends
You will start the day with a visit to Wat Doi Suthep, which is outside Chiang Mai. This famous mountain temple was built in 1383 as a shrine to house a Buddha relic. Your driver will take you up the winding mountain road, and then the temple is reached by either a steep 306-step staircase or a tram. As well as admiring the temple, visitors can also enjoy the panoramic views over Chiang Mai and the lush surrounding countryside.
On the way back to Chiang Mai you will stop at Wat Umong. This temple is over 700 years old, and is tucked away in tranquil woodlands. This forest setting and the 13th century tunnels that wind beneath the Chedi give the site an air of mystery - particularly as no one is completely sure as to why the tunnels were built or what they were for.
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, where you can try northern Thai specialties. After lunch you will continue to Wiang Kum Kam. Located in the outskirts of the city by the Ping River, this extensive archaeological site pre-dates Chiang Mai and features many beautiful ruins. If you would prefer not to walk it is also possible to travel around the site by horse-drawn cart.
Back in the center of Chiang Mai, you will visit Wat Chedi Luang. This was originally one of the tallest buildings in ancient Chiang Mai, however it took significant damage either in an earthquake or from cannon-fire. Whilst it no longer boasts a towering spire, there has been extensive restoration work to the exterior, including new Buddha images, nagas and elephant statues. The temple was also the previous home of the Emerald Buddha, currently in Bangkok, and visitors can now see a jade replica, which was given as a royal gift in 1995 to celebrate the 700th anniversary of Chiang Mai.
Finish the tour with a stroll through some of the charming streets of the old city.
Please note that as you will be visiting religious sites, you will need to cover shoulders and knees. You will also need to remove your shoes at certain parts of the temples. This tour is very flexible, and so if you would prefer to make some tweaks, do just speak to your guide on the day.