The “Wat Phra That Doi Suthep” temple is a must see. If you only visit one temple in Chiang Mai, this should be it.
According to the legend, the temple was constructed to enshrine a magical relic. In order to find the correct location for the temple the king placed the relic on the back of a white elephant, which set off to “Doi Suthep “mountain. In the spot where said elephant died , is where they decided to build the temple.
A good way to get there is taking a red taxi to the Chiang Mai Zoo, which will cost you around 30-40 Baht. Once there you will see many more red taxis waiting to get filled up to take people all the way up to the temple and back after about an hour and a half. This will cost you 80 Baht as opposed to paying 600 baht for a taxi to take just you all the way from downtown Chiang Mai.
A lot of people opt for renting a scooter while in Chiang Mai. This would’ve been my way to go as well, if I knew how to ride one and wasn’t afraid of driving on the other side of the road (in Thailand they drive on the left side of the road, England style). If you get a scooter, you will get the chance to stop along the way to the temple in some view points and I was also told there were some waterfalls.
Once at the footsteps of the temple you pay a 30 baht fee and begin your climb up 309 steps to reach the pagodas. If you are not down for that you can take the funicular, but really you should take the stairs.
I remember me and my friend were just in awe of just how beautiful all the colors looked. The orange from the pagodas roofs, the clear blue skies and the gold from the stupa came together perfectly. I can’t really describe how amazing it looked, so I will just let the pictures do the talking.
An hour and a half gives you enough time to walk around at a slow pace, snap pictures and enjoy the view of Chiang Mai from the top. Also like everywhere, you will find plenty of souvenir shops and food. We just got some strawberries and corn to munch on the way back to town.