The spectacular silver temple
Published/Last edited or updated: 24th August, 2017
Wat Sri Suphan’s claim to fame is its spectacular silverwork—the sheer volume makes you wonder how there’s any of the precious metal left to make anything else in Chiang Mai.
We’re not sure what quality the silver is, as 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 is the silver ubosot, or ordination hall.
We photographed the hall on a dull Chiang Mai day so it looked kind of grey but get the sun shining on it and it is spectacular. The interior is also all silver, with some finely crafted reliefs depicting scenes from Buddhist mythology.
Plenty of friendly monks wander around the complex and we assume some speak English since the temple holds a “monk chat”—we’re sure one of them would take great pleasure in explaining the depicted scenes. 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. This is rather a major drawback for approximately half of our readers; according to a sign, “Ladies may be deteriorated”. The outside of the hall is still impressive, and there’s plenty else to see without risking being deteriorated.
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 silverworking techniques.
You can wander the grounds with a frappuccino from the coffee shop. Consider a wander around this interesting spot while you’re waiting for the nearby Saturday Walking Market to get going.
If you’re coming from the moat end of Wualai Road, take the right turn after some 400 or 500 metres.
Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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