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A journey by foot

In other words: A walkabout, a walk, a constitutional, an excursion, an exploration, a ramble, a tour, a traipse, a tramp, an adventure.

Stage 1. Sevensuns to Wat Phra Singh (Temple of the Lion Buddha)

Turn left outside the SevenSuns residence (A on the Map) and head towards the Montain.You will pass BP Hotel on the right not far from the Traffic Lights. At the first traffic lights turn right and in 2 minutes you will pass the Phra Singh Post Office on your right, and another 3 or 4 minutes you will arrive opposite the entrance to Wat Pra Singh, home to one of Thailand's most revered, and apparently most copied, Buddha images.

Look for the Pedestrian Crossing and cross to the other side of the road watching for traffic both ways. Remember, many drivers do not know they should stop for people on a pedestrian crossing, so be careful.

Wat Phra Singh - Temple of the Lion Buddha, (B on the map) is an important Buddhist monastery and temple on the west side of Chiang Mai, it houses two medieval Buddha statues. Built in 1345 by King Pha Yu for the ashes of his faher, King Kham Fu. It may have been the first monastery to house the Emerald Buddha, which later resided in Wat Chedi Luang and is now enshrined in Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok. The temple is named for the Buddha image it housed in 1367, the Phra Singh (Lion Buddha).

The temple-monastery fell into disrepair as Chiang Mai's population declined in the 18th century, but restoration began in the early 19th century under Chao Kawila. The work continued under his successor, Chao Thammalangka, who commissioned the murals in Viharn Lai Kham.

King Ananda Mahidol, the older brother of the present King Bhumibol Adulyadej, bestowed it the status of Royal temple of the first grade in 1935
Animated slideshow for part 1 of the Old City Chiang Mai walking tour

Animated slideshow for part 2 of the Old City of Chiang Mai walking tour Stage 2. Wat Phra Singh to the Chiang Mai Architectural Historical Society (Corner of Ratchadamnoen Road and Phrapokloa Road)

When you have finished looking around Wat Phra Singh, exit at the entrance where you arrived and and go back to the Pedestrian Crossing. Cross back over to the other side and turn left towards the T Junction right in front of you. You are going turn right and walk away from the mountain, so you will be heading east. This road goes all the way to Thappae Gate but we are going to turn off before Thappae Gate (you will see Thappae Gate later on the way back to SevenSuns Residence).

Not far down this road, you will walk past Wat Si Koed (C on the Map) on the right. Wat Sri Gerd, also written Wat Si Goet and Wat Si Koet, is an old monastery on the south side of Ratchadamnoen Road, a short distance from Wat Phra Singh. It was first mentioned in the Khlong Nirat Hari Punchai chronicle, in which Prince Damrong documented that it must have been built in 1638. Inside Wat Si Loed is its principal Buddha image, called the Phra Chao Khaeng Khom.

Keep walking just a little further you will see Central Chiang Mai Police Station (D on the Map) on the right. Locally known as Rong Phak Kong Mueang. This is the 3rd Police Station to have been built here since the first was built around 1904. There is a statue of a Policeman carrying a fallen boy standing in front. There are also stories of Ghostly happenings during WWII when a Ghost was seen with its legs hanging down from the toilet ceiling. The Ghost was sure fierce and daring (quote), and grabbed the Captains head and wouldn't let go.

Keep heading down Ratchadamnoen Road and in the next block, you will see a large Motor Electricians business on the right and immediately opposite, you will see Wat Chai Phrakiat (E on the map). Pop in if you want to see another Old City Temple. The main hall contains a beautiful Buddha image named Chai Phra Kiat. An image with Burmese, Mon and Thai trilingual inscriptions indicating the excellent artistic climate of the so-called "Golden Age of Lanna". (the number 15 in the picture refers to it's number during the Songkran procession).

As you head on down the road, try to spot the Museum of Insects and Natural Wonders also watch for the small tailor shop squeezed between Le Bateau and two small cafe / restaurants on your right. If you spot the Tailor Shop, award yourself 5 stars. Well Done.

Theres plenty of places to stop and have a drink or snack before you get to the Ratchadamnoen Road traffic lights and more when you turn left into Phrapokloa Road. You know you're at the right traffic lights when you see the coffee shop outside Parasol Inn on the right corner with a Big Green K-Bank sign above.

On the left corner of the intersection is an old house now used as a gallery for the Chiang Mai Architectural Historical Society (F on the Map). Well worth your while to check if its open.

Once you get to the first traffic lights on Ratchadamnoen Road, its time to turn left onto Phrapokloa Road and head for the Three Kings.

Stage 3. Corner of Ratchadamnoen Road and Phrapokloa Road to the 3 Kings Monumennt (Chiang Mai City Art & Cultural Center)

Turn left and head north along Phrapokloa Road away from the Ratchadamnoen Road intersection.

Keep on going and you will eventually arrive at the impressive outdoor plaza area which now forms part of the old provincial administration buildings (the Old City Hall) on your left (G on the map).

Here we are roughly at the center of the walled city, in the district where the former rulers of Chiang Mai built their palaces. In an outdoor plaza on the left as you walk down Phrapokloa Road stands the monument to the 'Three Kings' -- King Mengrai, the founder of Chiang Mai; his contemporary and reportedly good friend King Ramkamhaeng of Sukothai; and King Ngam Muang of Payao.

The Statues stands in front of the old provincial administration building, which now houses the Chiang Mai City Art & Cultural Center. Be warned that when you enter you are ushered into a room for the obligatory promotional film on the history of Chiang Mai, before you can wander around. The 1st floor has engaging displays on religious and cultural elements of northern Thailand. The 2nd floor rooms have been converted into historic settings: there's an early Lanna village, a temple and a train display. From the 2nd floor you can see more of the beauty of this postcolonial building, Chiang Mai's former Provincial Hall, originally built in 1924. It was awarded a Royal Society of Siamese Architects award in 1999 for its faithful architectural restoration (Engaging comment thanks to Lonely Planet).

When you have finished looking around, the next stage of our walking tour will take you into the heart of the old city. A mix of old residential and new with an old city difference.
Animated slideshow of part 3 of Old City of Chiang Mai Walking Tour

Stage 4 Alternative Route (Thai Airways Offices to ChangPhuek Gate, and then to Wat Chiang Man - joining the rest of the walk from Wat Chiang Man in Stage 4 as below) Everything the same as Stage 4 below, but, instead of turning right at the Surani School of Music, continue straight past and instead keep going straight. This alternative route is colored Blue on the Map.

Stay on Phrapokloa Road until you arrive at Changpuek Gate (on the Moat). You should be able to have a look around this small City Gate beforeturning right along Sanmakila Road (the traffic will be coming towards you) and head east along the side of the moat or Sanmakila Road. You should be heading towards the next Moat Road U-Turn where you are going to turn right back into the Old City towards Wat Chiang Man.

This is Ratpakinai Road. Keep going across Ratchaphakinai 1, and just a couple of minutes more and you will arrive at Wat Chiang Man.

You can continue the rest of the walk by picking up the walking guide instructions below at Wat Chiang Man heading for Wat Lamchang.

Animated slideshow of part 4 of Old City of Chiang Mai Walking Tour Stage 4. The 3 Kings Monument to Somphet Market via Wat Chiang Man and Wat Lamchang

Leaving the Three Kings, turn left and keep going along Phrapokloa Road. Past the large school situated on the opposite corner , and after around 5 - 6mns walk and you will see the Thai Airways Administration office on your right on the corner of Soi Phra Pok Lao 13. A soi is the Thai word for lane / street.

Keep going past Thai Airways and in just a couple of minutes you will see the Bin Ca Va Guesthouse, then the Bangkok Post Shop and just before the corner you should see the Surani Music School. Turn right at Music School corner and head into an older traditional area of back streets and our next stop which is Wat Chiang Man.

When you turn right, head down Soi Ratchaphanikai 1. After about 7 or 8 mns you will come to a small cross road. Theres quite a pretty old Thai Teak House at the corner where youturn right.

Watch for the small weather beaten white sign that points down the lane saying: Pokklaonda Lane.

Just past the small Thai Teak House you will see the temple walls and Wat Chiang Man itself on your left. Keep going to the T Junction and turn left keeping the Temple walls to your left. You are walking down Soi (Lane) Phra Pok Lao 13. Keep walking (go past what looks like a side entrance) until you arrive at the Junction with Ratpakinai Road. At the junction, you will see a small Temple to the right on the other side of the road. This is Wat Lamchang which we will come back to after visiting Wat Chiang Man.

Turn left again onto Ratpakinai Road and keep going for another couple of minutes when you will see the main entrance to Wat Chiang Man on your left. (H on the Map). This is where Stage 4 Alternatiive (in Blue) re-joins this stage of our walkabout.

The Wat Chiang Man temple was built in 1297 at the site of the camp King Mangrai used when he supervised the building of Chiang Mai. It was the first temple to be built in Chiang Mai and contains several very old artifacts. The oldest structure is the Chang Lom chedi, which is in a style that could have originated from Sri Lanka via Sukhothai, or from Pagan. Fifteen elephants represent a sea of unformed matter upon which the cosmos of the chedi floats.

Stage 5. Somphet Matket to Wat Chedhi Luang including Thappae Gate (and return to the SevenSuns Residence.

After coming back out of Wat Chiang Man, turn right back to the Junction of Ratpakinai Road and Phra Pok Lao 13 (where you turned left to come to Wat Chiang Man). Cross over the junction (staying on Ratpakinai Road) and head for that little Temple on the far side of the Junction. This is Wat Laem Chang. (I in the map).

Wat Laem Chang is a small but quite delightful Temple with a long history. In the time that King Mengrai was building Chiang Mai, this was a large wooded area where the elephants used to transport the King into the city were kept. Some time later, a Temple was built there and was named Wat Lam Chang. The name Lam Chang means "shackled elephants"

Today, a large elephant statue stands guard over the Temple and there are many other elephants all around the temple including a statue of Ganesh, The Elephant Headed God.The remains of the original Chedi can still be seen.

After coming out of this Temple, turn left along Ratpakinai Road and keep going past the first turning on the left and continue to the end of the next block. Watch for the Miracle Coffee Garden and the small Blue Road Sign saying Moon Mueang Soi 6. Turn left into this very small Soi. Walk all the way down this small Soi, past CM Blue House on the left (Yes lots of Blue), and keep going past any junctions with other small Soi's. This area is a mix of old and new homes, shop houses and cafe's. Eventually (actually its not that far), you will see in the distance the area known as Somphet Market (J on the map)

Sompet Market is one of several fresh markets within the walls. You can do some shopping for fruit and vegetables here. When you eventually exit onto the moat road, turn right.

This road is called Moon Mueang and will lead you to Thappae Gate (about 10mns walk along the moat). There is a crossing a few metres along the road where you can cross over to the moat. You can walk along the banks of the moat back to Thappae Gate. Watch out for the major U-Turn system that gets in the way as you walk along the moat. As always, take great care whgen using crossings or roads. Look left (we drive on the left here) and right (some also drive on the right).

When you see some fountains in the moat, you will also see the Thappae Gate Old city Walls not too far away. You can walk inside the walls (its safer there) and in a couple of minutes you will see the famous Thappae Gate itself (K on the map)
Animated Slideshow of part 5 of Old City of Chiang Mai Walking Tour

Animated Slideshow of Old City of Chiang Mai walking tour Stage 6 Thappae Gate to Wat Chedhi Luang and back to SevenSuns

Most tours of the old city usually start or end at the Tapae Gate near the center of the eastern side of the old city walls. For us, its almost the end of our walking tour.

Pronounced "Tah Pae" or "Pratu Tah Pae.""Pratu" is the Thai word for Door or Gate. The present Thapae gate was reconstructed in B.E. 2528-2529 based on evidence from history and archaeology. The models of this gate come from a photo taken in B.E. 2442. (This year is B.E. 2555, so now you can work out how long ago this gate was re-built. 27 years ago to be exact. But we know that Thappae Gate has existed for many centuries before this gate was rebuilt and the area pedestrianised. The photo on which the gate was modeled is 113 years old to be exact).

Thapae Gate is Chiangmai's main entrance to the old walled city. In days gone by it was the gate through which traders, diplomats and visiting monks passed when they had business in the city proper. As the main entry route to Chiangmai was from the Mae Ping River and down Thapae Road to the gate. This was the main thoroughfare of Chiangmai.

Today, the buildings and growth around the old moated wall have grown and Chiang Mai is a much larger city with much more business conducted on the outside of the wall than on the inside, but Thapae Road is still the main thoroughfare and Thapae Gate is still the main entrance to the old walled city.

And Thappae Gate to-day it is still the main center of Chiang Mai's public city activities and festivals.

Exit Thappae Gate and cross over Moon Muang Road onto Ratchadamnoen Road (now heading west back towards the mountain). This is the other end of the road where we walked along past the Central Chiang Mai Police Station.

Keep walking up Ratchadamnoen Road, past the Honda distributor on the left, past the next road junction where you will see Wawee Coffee on the opposite corner and a Mitsubishi Dealer on the right.

Keep on going to the next crossing which is the corner with Phrapokloa Road where you headed south to the 3 Kings. Turn left and just around the corner on Phrapokloa Road is the small but beautiful temple of Wat Pan Tao (L on the map) and its much larger neighbor, Wat Chedi Luang (M on the map).

Just before the Chedi Luang is the stunning Viharn of Wat Pan Tao made from ancient teak.

After having a look at Way Pan Tao, next door is the Chedi Luang, the last stop on our walking tour around Chiang Mai.

All thats left is to wend our way back to SevenSuns Residence (back to A on the map).and a well deserved rest.

Turn right out of the Chedi Luang and head towards the traffic lights just down the road. This is Ratchadamnoen Road on which the SevenSuns Residence is located. At the traffic lights, turn right and head back towards the Mountain and home.

You can break this walking trip into sections and undertake each stage on different days, or, pick the stage you especially want to walk around. To help you, below are a downloadable Map and the full Guide in PDF Format.

1. Click here to download the complete walking tour (with photos and instructions)

2. Click here to download the walking tour map (with significant places and route displayed)

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