There’s a saying in Chiang Mai – “If you haven’t seen Doi Suthep, you haven’t been to Chiang Mai”. That being said, if there is one thing you should not miss in Chiang Mai it’s Doi Suthep.
Chiang Mai is surrounded by never-ending mountains, and Doi Suthep Pui National Park is one of the closest mountains from the city center. If you are considering visiting Doi Suthep, allotting 4~6 hours would be enough as it only takes 30 mins to get to the mountain from the city.
Many people only visit Doi Suthep Temple (Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep) when they go to Doi Suthep Pui National Park. But there are a few more spots around the mountain that you don’t want to miss! If you are planning to visit Doi Suthep soon, make sure to read this guide before you go! 😉
1. Doi Suthep Pui National Park Overview
50 THB per person (If you join a tour, it’s usually included).
2) When to go there:
It is open 6am-6pm every day. If you have a choice, visit on a clear day for a better view. Also, if you arrive a bit earlier before sunset, the views and light on the temple are especially beautiful.
3) How to get there:
There are several ways to get from Chiang Mai city to Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. You can either take a Songthaew, hire a driver for the entire day, or join a tour.
Taking a Songthaew is the cheapest way to get there, but the roads are very winding and the ride is not comfortable. If that concerns you, you should consider hiring a taxi for the day or joining a tour. It’ll definitely make transportation easy.
4) What to bring:
- a couple of water bottles
- mosquito repellent / sunblock
- an extra sweatshirt or jacket
- comfortable walking shoes
*Tip: Your attire should be respectful when you visit temples. Don’t wear short pants or skirts, otherwise, you’ll have to rent clothes at the entry of the temples to cover yourself up.
+) For those who actually want to hit the hiking trail of the mountain, here is a perfect Doi Suthep-Pui National Park Trekking tour.
Doi Suthep-Pui National Park is the 4th highest mountain in Thailand, and the hike is totally worth it. It is a relatively short hike compared to Doi Inthanon (which is the highest mountain in Thailand), but still, you will go pretty far up the mountain, thus be sure to gear up before you go.
2. Doi Suthep Temple
To go up to the Doi Suthep Temple, you need to climb up 300 steps staircase. The climb can be tough for some people. But don’t panic! There’s an elevator you can take to the top at a cost of 30 baht.
Once you pass those staircases, you will see this majestic golden temple that you will never see elsewhere.
Tip: You are not allowed to have any shoes at the temple so bring socks if you don’t want to go barefoot.
There’s an interesting story in how this temple came to be. According to the Thai legend, there was a sacred white elephant who was carrying Buddha’s relics. The elephant is said to have climbed up Doi Suthep, stopped, trumpeted three times, then dropped dead. After that, Thai King at the time immediately ordered the construction of a temple at the site.
Also, before you go down, be sure to go to the viewpoint of the temple and capture the panoramic view of Chiang Mai.
3. Hmong Hill Tribe Village
If you drive to the Doi Pui direction for about 20 mins from the Doi Suthep temple, you will get to the Doi Pui Hmong hill tribe village. If you visit Doi Suthep Pui National Park, we really recommend taking the time to visit a hill tribe and learn more about the people here.
Some people are not big fans of seeing people as a tourist attraction as they think it is artificial. But in Hmong hill tribe village, tourism is not the sole or main income, and you can still experience their rustic lifestyle that is not so contrived. They are not people sitting around in clothes from hundreds of years ago, pretending to live a life that doesn’t reflect a present reality. They are very proud of their heritage, keen to share their lives with the world.
Plus, you can buy some handmade souvenirs made by the local Hmong, and there is no hard sell of anything.
4. Bhubing Palace
Bhubing Palace is located only 15 mins drive from Doi Suthep. At Bhubing Palace, you can learn how northern Thai architecture looks, as the buildings sit on stilts. It was a royal residence during state visits to Chiang Mai, and they have a special feature of the rose gardens.
5. Ton Payom Market
Ton Payom Market is located next to Chiang Mai University, which means it makes a perfect pit stop as it is located between Chiang Mai city center and Doi Suthep Pui National Park. If you visit there on the weekdays, this market might be busy and crowded with Chiang Mai students.
This market is very popular with both Thai locals and travelers with its cheap price. They have all kinds of stuff from fruits, street foods to souvenirs, and the market is well organized and clean.
For more travel tips and ideas for your next trip to Thailand, make sure you visit Trazy.com, Asia’s #1 Travel Shop!