Photo: Oh so pretty chedi.

Wat Pansao

Our rating:

The tiny but very attractive and photogenic Wat Pansao sees very few foreign visitors. It also happens to have some interesting legends attached to it.

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Outside of certain religious festivals, Wat Pansao doesn’t even receive locals and most of the time you’ll have the entire place to yourself. Admittedly it is rather tucked away, situated down a quiet lane to the south side of Chiang Mai Ram Hospital, so you’re not likely to just pass by. Nevertheless, it's worth a look.

Just chill. Photo taken in or around Wat Pansao, Chiang Mai, Thailand by Mark Ord.

Just chill. Photo: Mark Ord

Wat Pansao has all the elements of a temple worth visiting: a pleasant garden, a classic Lanna-style main worshipping hall, a crumbling old brick chedi and a couple of interesting legends. The chedi is actually hollow, which makes it, at least to our amateur eye, perhaps Burmese influenced, seeing as how most Chiang Mai chedis aren’t, and most chedis we saw at, for example, Bagan are.

According to local legend, if you align yourself correctly with a gap in the partially ruined chedi wall, then the spirit inhabiting the interior—this is pure animism and nothing to do with Buddhism—will be able to see you and maybe, if you catch it on a good day, be inclined to grant a wish that you make while looking at the crack in the bricks.

Make a wish. Photo taken in or around Wat Pansao, Chiang Mai, Thailand by Mark Ord.

Make a wish. Photo: Mark Ord

Aside the grand old chedi, the temple garden also houses an interesting Ganesh sculpture. The Hindu elephant god is a frequent feature of local wats (indeed, check out our Mae Wang Ganesha Museum review—another example of not letting theological details stand in the way of a good bit of mythology). The small temple is otherwise surrounded by wooden and bamboo stalls and during certain significant dates in the Buddhist calendar the wat can get very busy with local worshippers, with the additional following legend being no doubt ... Travelfish members only (Around 500 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
Walk south from Chiang Mai Ram or the intersection of the moat road and Kad Suan Kaew and it’s the second turning on the right after some 500 metres. You’ll find yourself down a leafy lane and the wat is immediately in the right.

Wat Pansao
Just off Boonrueang Rit Rd, Suthep

Location map for Wat Pansao

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