Chiang Mai Phra Singh Temple
Address: 2 Samlarn Rd, Phra Sing, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50280, Thailand
Reasons to visit: Phra Singh Temple is one of the most representative Lanna-style temples in Chiang Mai, and also the home of one of the most beautiful Buddha statues in Thailand.
Ticket: 20 bhat per person
Opening hours: Every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Wat Phra Singh is one of the oldest, most famous, and most beautiful Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, and also a national-level historical site. It is located in the southwest corner of Chiang Mai Old City, covering an area of about 6.5 hectares. It was built in 1345 AD and has a history of nearly 700 years. It was the royal temple of the Chiang Mai Lanna Kingdom, and also the center of Buddhist culture and art in northern Thailand.
Phra Singh Temple is located in the west of Chiang Mai Old City, and is one of the largest and highest-ranking Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai. It is also known as one of the "Three Great Temples of Chiang Mai" along with Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Chiang Man. Phra Singh Temple was built in 1345 by King Pha Yu of Lanna to commemorate his father and to enshrine his father's ashes. It was expanded and repaired several times to form its current scale and appearance. The name of Phra Singh Temple comes from the awe-inspiring Phra Singh Buddha statue that is enshrined in the temple. This Buddha statue is considered to be one of the most beautiful Buddha statues in Thailand, and also the national treasure of the Lanna Kingdom.
What to see in Phra Singh Temple?
The architectural style of Phra Singh Temple typically reflects the characteristics of the Lanna Kingdom, using wood and gold foil as the main materials, and decorated with exquisite carvings and paintings. The main hall (Wihan Luang) of Phra Singh Temple is the core building of the temple, which houses a 1.5-meter-high Shakyamuni Buddha statue (Phra Buddha Sihing), which is said to have come from Sri Lanka, and is very sacred and precious. The lecture hall (Wihan Lai Kham) of Phra Singh Temple is another important building of the temple, which houses a 2-meter-high Maitreya Buddha statue (Phra Chao Thong Tip), as well as murals and wood carvings, showing the life scenes and Buddhist stories of the Lanna Kingdom.
Phra Singh Temple also has a scripture hall (Ho Trai), which is one of the most beautiful scripture halls in Thailand, and contains thousands of handwritten Buddhist scriptures (Palm-leaf manuscripts), recording the history and culture of the Lanna Kingdom. In addition, Phra Singh Temple also has a pagoda (Chedi), which is the iconic building of the temple. The pagoda is conical, about 40 meters high, with four arches at the bottom, each with a Buddha statue inside. The surface of the pagoda is covered with gold foil, shining in the sun. The top of the pagoda has a golden umbrella-shaped decoration, symbolizing the authority and dignity of Buddhism.
Phra Singh Temple is not only a famous attraction in Chiang Mai, but also one of the important places for the Songkran Festival in Thailand. Every mid-April, Thai people celebrate the Songkran Festival, which is the New Year's festival in Thailand, and also a festival to pray for peace and happiness. During this festival, people will sprinkle perfume or clear water on others, expressing blessings and respect. And at Phra Singh Temple, people will lift the Phra Singh Buddha statue from the main hall, put it on a flower cart, and parade along the Chiang Mai Old City. Along the way, people will water the Buddha statue, expressing their reverence and gratitude to the Buddha. This is a very solemn and sacred ceremony, as well as a very joyful and lively activity.
Visiting Phra Singh Temple can take about 1 to 2 hours, depending on your own interests and time arrangements. It is recommended to start from the main hall, then go to the lecture hall, scripture hall and other buildings, and finally go to the garden and courtyard to enjoy the scenery and sculptures.
Dress code: When visiting the temple, you should dress appropriately, and do not wear shorts, skirts, vests or other exposed clothes. Take off your shoes when entering the hall, do not point at the Buddha or the monks, do not make noise.
How to get there: From Chiang Mai city, you can take a Songthaew or a Tuk Tuk to Phra Singh Temple, the fare is about 20-40 baht. You can also rent a bicycle or a motorcycle to go there, the journey takes about 10-15 minutes.