5 Reasons to Visit Wat Pha Lat in Chiang Mai

Wat Pha Lat is a hidden gem located in the lush forest of Chiang Mai, Thailand. This temple is known for its serene and peaceful atmosphere, making it a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The trek to Wat Pha Lat is fairly easy and takes around 40 minutes. The hike can be a little tougher if the weather is hot, so it’s recommended to bring water and mosquito repellent. Once you reach the temple, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding forest and a sense of tranquility that is hard to find elsewhere.

Unlike other temples in Chiang Mai that are crowded with tourists, Wat Pha Lat offers a more intimate and authentic experience. It is a great place to meditate, reflect, and connect with nature. If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat in Chiang Mai, Wat Pha Lat is definitely worth a visit.

History of Wat Pha Lat

Wat Pha Lat, also known as the Monastery at the Sloping Rock, is a hidden gem located on the jungled slopes of Doi Suthep above Chiang Mai. It was built during the reign of King Kuena in 1355-1385. The temple was constructed after King Kuena’s white elephant died at the site of Wat Doi Suthep and he ordered construction of temples where it perished and where it rested. Wat Pha Lat was used as a resting point for people on their pilgrimage up to Doi Suthep. It is now still done once every year on Buddha’s birthday.

The temple was abandoned and forgotten for centuries until it was rediscovered in the early 2000s. It was then restored and has since become a popular destination for those seeking a peaceful and magical temple experience away from the crowds found in the city center.

Wat Pha Lat is now a serene and mostly unvisited temple, as it is typically overshadowed by the ever-popular Wat Doi Suthep. The temple is surrounded by verdant greenery, which all adds to its mystique and charm. Visitors can take a short but rewarding hike to get there and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding forest along the way.

Today, Wat Pha Lat is a unique Thai temple that radiates fairytale-like magic. It is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for an off-the-beaten-path temple experience in Chiang Mai.

Architecture and Design

Wat Pha Lat is a unique temple that stands out from the rest in Chiang Mai due to its distinctive architecture and design. The temple is situated on a sloping rock, and the buildings are built around the natural contours of the land, which gives it a unique and organic feel.

The temple is a mix of old and new buildings, with the newer buildings influenced by Burmese architecture. The main temple building is adorned with intricate carvings and features a beautiful golden Buddha statue.

One of the most interesting features of Wat Pha Lat is the small shrine dedicated to the white elephant that died on the site of Wat Doi Suthep, which led to the construction of the temple. The shrine is decorated with colorful flowers and offerings, and it’s a popular spot for visitors to take photos.

The temple complex also features a small waterfall and a peaceful meditation area. The lush greenery surrounding the temple adds to its charm and makes it a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

If you’re interested in architecture and design, Wat Pha Lat is a must-visit destination in Chiang Mai. The unique blend of traditional Thai and Burmese styles, combined with the natural surroundings, make it a truly special place to explore.

Religious Significance

Wat Pha Lat is a hidden gem nestled in the lush green mountains of Chiang Mai. The temple has a rich history and a significant religious meaning for the local community. It was originally used as a resting place for people on the pilgrimage up to worship at Doi Suthep temple before the surfaced road was built in 1935. The location then developed into a monks’ residence and named Wat Pha Lat, meaning “Monastery at the Sloping Rock”.

Today, Wat Pha Lat serves as a serene and peaceful place for monks to live and meditate. It is also a popular destination for tourists looking to experience the spiritual side of Chiang Mai. Visitors can witness the daily rituals and practices of the monks, such as chanting and meditation. The temple also offers Buddhism activities for those who want to learn more about the religion.

One of the most significant features of Wat Pha Lat is the trail that leads to the temple. The hike to the temple is a spiritual journey in itself, as visitors pass through lush forests and stunning waterfalls. The trail is known as the “Monk’s Trail” and is believed to have been used by monks for centuries as a way to reach Doi Suthep temple.

Visitors to Wat Pha Lat can also witness the beautiful architecture and intricate carvings and statues that adorn the temple. The temple’s main hall houses a golden Buddha statue, which is a significant religious symbol in Buddhism. The temple’s serene and peaceful surroundings make it an ideal place for visitors to reflect and find inner peace.

It is important to note that visitors should dress modestly when visiting Wat Pha Lat out of respect for the religious significance of the temple. Visitors should also remove their shoes before entering the temple and be mindful of their behavior while on the temple grounds.

Visiting Wat Pha Lat

Visiting Wat Pha Lat is an experience that you won’t forget. This hidden gem is located in the Doi Suthep National Park and is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Chiang Mai.

The best way to get to Wat Pha Lat is by hiking the Monks Trail. The trail is approximately 3 kilometers long and takes around 1-2 hours to complete. The trail is not too difficult, but it does involve some steep inclines, so it’s important to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water.

Once you arrive at Wat Pha Lat, you’ll be greeted by the serene beauty of the temple. The temple is surrounded by lush greenery and is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Take a moment to explore the temple and admire the intricate details of the architecture.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can climb up to the top of the temple and enjoy the stunning views of Chiang Mai. The climb is a bit steep, but the views are well worth it.

When visiting Wat Pha Lat, it’s important to remember to dress appropriately. The temple is a sacred place, so it’s important to dress modestly and remove your shoes before entering the temple. Also, make sure to bring insect repellent as the area is known for mosquitoes.

Overall, visiting Wat Pha Lat is a unique and memorable experience. It’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Chiang Mai and connect with nature and spirituality. Make sure to add it to your itinerary when visiting Chiang Mai.


Wat Pha Lat is truly a hidden gem in Chiang Mai, and it’s a must-visit for anyone who loves nature, history, and culture. The temple’s serene atmosphere, lush greenery, and stunning architecture will leave you feeling peaceful and inspired.

One of the best things about Wat Pha Lat is the hike to get there. It’s not too difficult, but it’s still a fun adventure that will take you through the jungle and up the mountain. Just make sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water and mosquito repellent.

Once you arrive at the temple, take your time exploring the grounds and admiring the intricate carvings and statues. Don’t forget to bring a sarong or scarf to cover up before entering the temple, as a sign of respect.

If you’re looking for a unique and memorable experience, consider visiting Wat Pha Lat during the annual pilgrimage to Doi Suthep on Buddha’s birthday. It’s a chance to see the temple in a whole new light and witness the local customs and traditions.

Overall, Wat Pha Lat is a must-see attraction in Chiang Mai, and it’s worth taking the time to visit. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or just looking for a peaceful escape from the city, this hidden temple will not disappoint.