Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is a Theravada Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai Province, Thailand. The temple is often referred to as "Doi Suthep" although this is actually the name of the mountain it is located on. The temple is located 15 km from the city of Chiang Mai and is a sacred site to many Thai people. From the temple impressive views of Chiang Mai can be seen and it remains a popular destination of foreign visitors.
The original founding of the temple remains a legend and there are a few varied versions. The temple is said to have been founded in 1383 when the first chedi was built. Over time, the temple has expanded, and been made to look more extravagant with many more holy shrines added. A road to the temple was first built in 1935.
White Elephant Legend
According to legend, a monk named Sumanathera from Sukhothai had a dream; in this vision he was told to go to Pang Cha and look for a relic. Sumanathera ventured to Pang Cha and is said to have found a bone, which many claim was Buddha's shoulder bone. The relic displayed magical powers; it glowed, it was able to vanish, it could move itself and replicate itself. Sumanathera took the relic to King Dharmmaraja who ruled the Sukhothai.
Wat Doi Suthep
The wat can be reached by road from Chiang Mai. From the car park, at the temple base visitors can climb 309 steps for free to reach the pagodas or there is a tram. Entry to the temple on the tram costs 30 Thai baht for foreigners (or 50 baht if you would like a two-way tram ticket included) and is free for Thai nationals.