It’s our last day in Chiang Mai, and we could either spend half the day at the hotel, swimming and relaxing by the pool, or we could visit a temple just before our flight.
We are still debating because the last days have been hectic; we spent the previous week forgetting what sleep feels like. From the moment we took the night train to Chiang Mai, to attending the Lantern Festival, partying with the locals and attending a full moon ceremony on a mountain somewhere in northern Thailand.
The whole week felt unreal, it went by so slowly and quickly at the same time, and we just wanted to stop the time to be able to explore more and get some proper sleep. But what is rest for a thirsty traveler?
That being said, we decided to visit the Wat Chedi Luang Temple just a couple of hours before our departure.
How to get to the Wat Chedi Luang
The temple is located in the city center, so it was very easy to get to the location. We ordered a Grab and arrived at the temple in less than 10 minutes from our hotel.
The controversy around Wat Chedi Luang
If you ever visited the northern part of Thailand, you must have heard the term the Lanna Kingdom, or Lana Culture, simply because this region has a different history and culture compared to the rest of Thailand. Since the 13th century, the city of Chaing Mai was part of the so-called Lanna Kingdom.
The construction of Wat Chedi Luang started in 1391; however, the temple was reconstructed in early 1990, after being financed by Unesco and by the Japanese government. The reconstruction has new elements in Central Thai style that do not correspond to the Lanna style. The new complex includes several temples, including a smaller replica of the reclining Buddha.
Women can’t enter
This was the first Buddhist temple I visited where women weren’t allowed to enter the temple. Chiang Mai’s pillar is located in the temple, and women are not allowed here, as the interior is considered sacred.
“Chiang Mai’s city pillar is located in Wat Chedi Luang and is now enshrined underground. It is a sacred place and worshiped by Thai people, especially those from Chiang Mai. It is the pillar of the city” Women are prohibited to enter because they menstruate. It is believed that it humiliates and ruins the sanctity of the city pillar. Besides, men who dress inappropriately are not allowed to walk in. it is believed that any disobeying of the rules will cause social instability.”
There is also a rigorous dress code at this temple, I had a dress that covered my knees, but they asked me to cover my arms and legs fully. At least they allowed you to borrow long scarves for free.
Despite being annoyed that I’m not allowed inside, I would totally recommend visiting this place, especially if you are pressured by time. Since it is located in the center of Chiang Mai, it is easily accessible, and you’ll save a lot of time.
What other temples are worth visiting in Chiang Mai?