Wat Suan Dok is a stunning Buddhist temple located in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. The temple is also known as the “flower garden temple” due to its beautiful surroundings filled with flowers and trees. It is a Royal Temple of the Third Class, which is a prestigious designation in Thailand.
Visitors to Wat Suan Dok will be impressed by the temple’s intricate architecture and peaceful atmosphere. The temple is home to a number of important Buddhist relics, including the ashes of King Keu Na of Lanna, who founded the temple in the 14th century. The temple is also home to the Chiang Mai campus of the Buddhist Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, which is one of the most respected Buddhist universities in the world.
As a traveler, visiting Wat Suan Dok is a must-do activity when in Chiang Mai. The temple offers a unique insight into Thai culture and Buddhism, and is a great place to learn more about the country’s rich history. Whether you’re interested in architecture, religion, or simply want to experience the peacefulness of a Buddhist temple, Wat Suan Dok is a must-see attraction in Chiang Mai.
Wat Suan Dok is a Buddhist temple located in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The temple has a rich history dating back to the 14th century. Here’s a brief overview of its history:
The temple was founded in 1370 CE by King Kue Na of the Mangrai Dynasty for the monk Sumana Thera. It was built in the center of Wiang Suan Dok, a walled settlement of the Lawa people that was older than Chiang Mai itself. The temple was originally called Wat Buppharam, but it was later renamed to Wat Suan Dok.
During the Lanna Kingdom, the temple was used as a center for the study of religion and medicine. It was also a place of refuge for the royal family during times of war. The temple was expanded during this time, and many of the buildings that are still standing today were built during the Lanna period.
Wat Suan Dok has a special connection to the royal family of Thailand. In 1907, Princess Dara Rasmi, the consort of King Rama V, ordered the restoration of the temple. She also collected the ashes of the late rulers of Chiang Mai and other members of the royal family and stored them in the temple. Today, the ashes are kept in a special chedi (stupa) on the temple grounds.
The temple has undergone several renovations and restorations over the years. In 1935, the temple was renovated and expanded by the royal family. In 1995, a new ubosot (ordination hall) was built to replace the original one, which had been destroyed by fire.
Overall, Wat Suan Dok is a fascinating temple with a rich history that spans over 600 years. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in Chiang Mai.
Architecture and Design
Wat Suan Dok is a beautiful temple complex that boasts a unique blend of architectural styles. The temple was founded by King Kue Na of Lanna in 1370 CE and has undergone several renovations and additions over the centuries. The temple’s design is a blend of Lanna, Sukhothai, and Sri Lankan styles, making it a unique and fascinating destination for visitors.
Ubosot and Chedi
The temple’s main building is the Ubosot, which is the ordination hall. The Ubosot is a beautiful example of Lanna-style architecture, with a steeply sloping roof, intricate carvings, and a golden spire. The hall is used for important ceremonies and is considered the heart of the temple.
The temple’s Chedi is another impressive structure that stands at 48 meters tall. The bell-shaped Chedi is a blend of Sukhothai and Sri Lankan styles and is covered in gold leaf. The Chedi was built in 1373 and houses a relic of the Buddha.
Viharn and Wihan
The Viharn is another important building in the temple complex and is used for religious ceremonies. The Viharn is a beautiful example of Lanna-style architecture and features intricate carvings and a steeply sloping roof. The temple’s Wihan is another impressive building that houses a large Buddha statue. The Wihan is a blend of Sukhothai and Sri Lankan styles and is covered in gold leaf.
The temple’s bell-shaped Chedi is one of the most impressive structures in the complex. The Chedi is a blend of Sukhothai and Sri Lankan styles and is covered in gold leaf. The Chedi was built in 1373 and houses a relic of the Buddha. The narrow bell style stands 48 meters tall and is a blend of Sukhothai and Sri Lankan architecture.
Sala Kan Prian
The Sala Kan Prian is a unique building in the temple complex that is used for meditation and prayer. The building is open on all sides and features intricate carvings and a steeply sloping roof. The Sala Kan Prian is a beautiful example of Lanna-style architecture and is a peaceful place to relax and reflect.
Overall, Wat Suan Dok is a fascinating temple complex that is well worth a visit. The temple’s unique blend of architectural styles makes it a unique and beautiful destination for travelers. Whether you are interested in history, religion, or architecture, Wat Suan Dok is sure to impress.
Relics and Buddha Images
Wat Suan Dok is known for its rich history and collection of relics and Buddha images. The temple houses several important relics and Buddha images that are worth seeing.
Reliquaries and Cremated Remains
Wat Suan Dok has several reliquaries that contain the cremated remains of important monks and members of the royal family. These reliquaries are made of gold, silver, and other precious materials and are intricately decorated with precious stones and gems.
Buddha Relic and Buddha’s Relics
The temple also houses an important Buddha relic, which is said to be a bone fragment from the Buddha’s shoulder. The Buddha relic is enshrined in a golden chedi and is considered to be one of the most important relics in Thailand. In addition to the Buddha relic, the temple also has several other Buddha’s relics, including teeth and bones.
Bronze Buddha Image
Wat Suan Dok also has an impressive bronze Buddha image that is over 500 years old. The image is seated in the Mara posture and is considered to be one of the most beautiful Buddha images in Thailand. The image is also surrounded by several smaller Buddha images, which are made of bronze and other precious materials.
Overall, Wat Suan Dok is a must-visit destination for those interested in Buddhism and Thai history. The temple’s collection of relics and Buddha images is truly impressive and is sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors.
Culture and Activities
Meditation and Monk Chat
Wat Suan Dok is not only a beautiful temple but also a great place to learn about Buddhism and meditation. The temple offers meditation classes and monk chat sessions for visitors who are interested in learning more about the religion and its practices. The meditation classes are usually held in the morning and are led by experienced monks who guide participants through the practice of mindfulness. The monk chat sessions are an opportunity for visitors to ask questions about Buddhism and the daily life of a monk. The sessions are held in the afternoon and are conducted in English.
Flower Garden and Field of Flowers
In addition to its spiritual offerings, Wat Suan Dok is also known for its stunning flower garden and field of flowers. The garden is located on the temple grounds and features a variety of colorful flowers and plants. The field of flowers is located just outside the temple and is a popular spot for taking photos. The flowers in the field change depending on the season, so visitors can expect to see different blooms throughout the year.
Opening Hours and Entrance Fee
Wat Suan Dok is open to visitors every day from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm. The entrance fee is 50 baht for foreigners and 20 baht for Thai nationals. Visitors are asked to dress appropriately when visiting the temple, which means covering their shoulders and knees. Sarongs and shawls are available for rent at the entrance for those who need them.
In conclusion, Wat Suan Dok is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Buddhism, meditation, or simply enjoying the beauty of nature. With its meditation classes, monk chat sessions, flower garden, and field of flowers, there is something for everyone to enjoy at this temple.
Location and Accessibility
If you’re planning to visit Wat Suan Dok, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s located in a convenient area of Chiang Mai. The temple is situated on Suthep Road, approximately one kilometer west of Suan Dok gate at the west side of the moat.
Suthep Mountain and Doi Suthep
Wat Suan Dok is located near Suthep Mountain and Doi Suthep, which are popular tourist attractions in Northern Thailand. If you’re interested in hiking or exploring nature, you can take a trip to the top of the mountain and enjoy the beautiful views of the city.
Old City and City Wall
The temple is also located near the Old City and City Wall, which are some of the most historic and cultural parts of Chiang Mai. You can explore the ancient city and learn about the rich history of the Sukhothai Kingdom that once ruled this area.
Suthep Road and Red Truck
Suthep Road is a major thoroughfare in Chiang Mai, and it’s easy to get to Wat Suan Dok by taking a red truck or tuk-tuk. These are the most common modes of transportation in the city, and they are affordable and convenient.
If you’re traveling from Chiang Mai University or Lamphun, you can take a bus or a taxi to get to Wat Suan Dok. The temple is also accessible from Chiang Saen and Sukhothai Kingdom.
Other nearby temples that you might want to visit include Wat Buppharam, Wat Phra Yuen, and Wat Buppharam Dok Mai. These temples are all located within a short distance of Wat Suan Dok, and they offer a unique glimpse into the religious and cultural traditions of Northern Thailand.
Overall, Wat Suan Dok is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Chiang Mai. With its convenient location, rich history, and beautiful architecture, the temple is sure to leave a lasting impression on any traveler.
Maintenance and Management
Wat Suan Dok is a well-maintained and well-managed temple. The temple management takes great care to ensure that the temple is clean, safe, and accessible to visitors. The temple is open daily from 6 am to 9 pm, and there is no entrance fee. However, a donation for the maintenance of the temple is highly appreciated.
Water and Hot
One of the most impressive features of Wat Suan Dok is the hot spring that runs through the temple grounds. The hot spring is a natural source of hot water that is used for various purposes, including bathing and cooking. The water from the hot spring is believed to have healing properties and is often used for therapeutic purposes. The temple management takes great care to ensure that the hot spring is clean and safe for visitors to use.
Mausoleums and Cemeteries
Wat Suan Dok is home to several mausoleums and cemeteries that are the final resting places of many prominent members of the Lanna royal family. The mausoleums and cemeteries are well-maintained and are open to visitors. Visitors are asked to show respect for the deceased when visiting these areas.
Michael Freeman, a well-known photographer and author, has a close association with Wat Suan Dok. Freeman has written extensively about the temple and its history and has published several books on the subject. Visitors to the temple can learn more about Freeman’s work and his association with the temple by visiting the temple’s bookstore.
Wat Suan Dok is also home to a Buddhist university that offers courses in Buddhist studies. The university is open to both Thai and foreign students and provides a unique opportunity to learn about Buddhism from a traditional Thai perspective. Visitors to the temple can learn more about the university by visiting the university’s website or by speaking with the temple’s management.
In summary, Wat Suan Dok is a well-maintained and well-managed temple that offers visitors a unique insight into Thai culture and history. The temple’s hot spring, mausoleums, and cemeteries, Michael Freeman’s association with the temple, and the Buddhist university are just a few of the many reasons to visit this historic and fascinating temple.