A lovely Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai
Wat Pha Lat is a little gem, hidden among the trees, looking out over the city of Chiang Mai.
Most visitors to Chiang Mai will almost certainly visit Doi Suthep Wat Phra That Temple at some point during their stay, it was one of the first places we went to when we arrived here.
Doi Suthep is one of Chiang Mai’s most visited sites and popular with tourists and locals alike.
However nestled out of sight, within the forest and just a few kilometres below is the much less visited Buddhist temple of Wat Pha Lat.
Compared to the heaving crowds at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, pausing for the person in front of you as they navigate their way up the hundreds of steps on the Naga staircase, and the rows of shops and market stalls snaking their way right up to the temple.
Wat Pha Lat has none.
There are no shops, no tourist stalls, no crowds.
Just the peacefulness of a Buddhist Temple complete with stunning views and a waterfall.
The walk up to Wat Pha Lat starts at the top of Suthep Road just after Chiang Mai university, turning right at the cross roads and goes up past the back entrance of Chiang Mai zoo.
Suthep Road, after Chiang Mai University
Take a right at this junction
Go past the back of Chiang Mai Zoo, take the left fork
The start of the forest trail to Wat Pha Lat
I recommend that you wear proper footwear as the natural terrain is rocky in places and unpaved. The walk is on a mild incline the whole way and some degree of fitness could be required if you are not used to walking up hill.
Mosquito repellent is a good idea to carry with you, as soon as we were in the forested area, the creatures descended upon us and we both got bitten within seconds.
Nothing an extra spray of our jungle formula couldn’t sort out though!
Bare in mind that at the end of the walk you are entering a Buddhist temple and so suitable clothing needs to be worn. Even if you hike up in a vest and shorts, carry something to cover up with when you get there. Although the Monks will soon supply you with some material to shroud your modesty if you do forget.
The walk up to Wat Pha Lat took us 40 mins from Suthep Road, it is pleasant and quite picturesque with orange robes wrapped around the trees to mark the path up to the temple.
Trees wrapped with material
Buddha statues perched on a rock in the forest
I was in my element taking photographs and getting glimpses of the city through the trees the higher up we went.
On arriving, I was very impressed with the temple and the first word I said to J, WOW!
For me, it was like seeing something out of a film and the peacefulness and tranquillity of the place took my breath away.
We were greeted by some barking dogs, but people wise, there were only a handful to speak of.
There is a waterfall running through the temple grounds and an amazing view out over Chiang Mai.
Wat Pha Lat was originally used as a resting place for people on the pilgrimage up to worship at Doi Suthep temple before the surfaced road was built in 1935.
The location then developed into a Monks residence and named Wat Pha Lat, meaning ‘Monastery at the Sloping Rock’
Wat Pha Lat is now, after just one visit, a firm favourite of mine, I almost didn’t want to give away the secret of this enchanting place, yet I was taught to share and so here I am!
Details of Wat Pha Lat
If you wish to continue with the walk, you can go all the way up to Doi Suthep, just carry on walking along side the waterfall and the path carries on, further into the forest.
Words of Wisdom
Wat Pha Lat Temple
There is a restaurant near the bottom of the hill, near Suthep Road called Galae, which is on a lake and has a great outdoor area, perfect for stopping at on your return from the Temple.
Our Google Map to the start of the Walking Trail
View Wat Pha Lat Walking Trail, Chiang Mai in a larger map
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