Wat Pan Tao is not one of Chiang Mai’s most famous wats but this small temple with its attractive teak viharn is well worth a peek, and since it’s conveniently located right next door to the prestigious Wat Chedi Luang it wouldn’t be going far out of your way to drop by.
Wat Pan Tao was originally built as an ancillary temple to the royal temple, Chedi Luang, next door. Thus it has a similar late 14th century date to it, making it one of the oldest sites in Chiang Mai town.
Apparently the current viharn was constructed at the end of the 19th century out of recycled wood from the nearby royal palace. A new king coming to the throne generally preferred to build his own, new palace so predecessors’ pads were knocked down, leaving a lot of teak lying around.
The small temple grounds are free of monk chats, massages, coffee shops and souvenir stalls (this isn’t one of the city’s most prestigious wats), but does have an attractive, albeit tiny garden that the monks have obviously put a lot of work into.
There’s a famous peacock carving over the main door and a large seated Buddha image in the viharn but what we found most interesting, and photogenic, were some of the temple accessories, so to speak, scattered around the edge of the complex: the attractive old monks’ quarters, 200-year-old boddhi tree and array of old bells.
Wat Pan Tao is located at the junction of Ratchadamnoen (Sunday Walking Street) and Phrapopklao Roads, immediately to the north of Chedi Luang.
How to get there
Wat Pan Tao is located at the junction of Ratchadamnoen (Sunday Walking Street) and Phrapopklao Roads, immediately north of Wat Chedi Luang.
By Mark Ord
Last updated on 20th September, 2013.