Photo: They were not kidding about silver.

Wat Sri Suphan

3.5 1

With its convenient location next to the Saturday Walking Street Market, Wat Sri Suphan is an easy—and worthwhile—addition to your temple touring.

With Wualai being Chiang Mai’s traditional silver-making district, Wat Sri Suphan’s claim to fame is unsurprisingly its spectacular silverwork. The sheer volume is impressive and makes you wonder how there’s any of that precious metal left over to make anything else.

Silver Ganesh. Photo taken in or around Wat Sri Suphan, Chiang Mai, Thailand by Mark Ord.

Silver Ganesh. Photo: Mark Ord

Now we’re not sure what quality the silver is—some of it is clearly silver plating or even silver paint—but a whole lot of silver there certainly is at Wat Sri Suphan. The main feature—and if you’re on Wualai Road the temple is signposted as such—is the silver ubosot, or ordination hall. (If you’re coming from the moat end of the road take the right turn after some 400 or 500 metres.)

We photographed the hall on a dull Chiang Mai day so it looked kind of grey but get the sunning shining on it and it is spectacular. The interior is also all silver with some finely crafted reliefs depicting scenes from Buddhist mythology.

Silver scenes. Photo taken in or around Wat Sri Suphan, Chiang Mai, Thailand by Mark Ord.

Silver scenes. Photo: Mark Ord

Plenty of friendly monks wander around the site though and we assume some speak English since the temple holds a “monk chat”, so we’re sure one of them would take great pleasure in explaining the depicted scenes. These meet the monks; get some inside info and let them practice their English with or without a temple donation affairs used to be a de rigeur feature of all popular Chiang Mai temples but seem to have fallen off a bit of late. Sri Suphan’s monk chat plus meditation is on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays.

The only drawback with the silver ubosot is that, as with several other Chiang Mai wats, women are not allowed inside the main ordination hall. Obviously rather a major drawback for approximately 50% of our readers but according to a sign; “Ladies may be deteriorated”. Regardless of this, the outside of the hall is still impressive and there’s plenty else to see without risking being deteriorated.

A silver contrast. Photo taken in or around Wat Sri Suphan, Chiang Mai, Thailand by Mark Ord.

A silver contrast. Photo: Mark Ord

Check out the silver workshop, for example, which is open to visitors—follow the signs to the right of the entrance. Here you can see the craftsmen creating these elaborate high relief friezes, while the temple precinct is full of the usual eclectic collection of statues, images and random objects that most Thai temples hold, although in this case they’re all supposedly silver. There is a small exhibition hall on the grounds explaining silver working techniques.

You can wander the grounds with a frappuccino from the coffee shop, which also seems a popular sideline in many of Chiang Mai’s wats these days and this is certainly an interesting spot to while away half an hour or so while you’re waiting for the Saturday Market to get going.

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Wat Sri Suphan

Wualai Soi 3, Hai Ya

Location map for Wat Sri Suphan

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