Photo: Wat Pha Daeng: Some work required.

Lost chedis of Chiang Mai

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If you spend any time in Chiang Mai you won't help but notice the ubiquitous brick chedis, or stupas, liberally scattered around the city.

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We don’t mean the ones within existing temple complexes, but rather the solitary towers you see out of the corner of your eye, by the side of a back lane, at the far end of a car park, or stuck on a piece of otherwise empty ground. Some are crumbling and others, particularly those on the grounds of government buildings for instance, are well maintained.

At Wat Suan Dok. Photo taken in or around Lost chedis of Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai, Thailand by Mark Ord.

At Wat Suan Dok. Photo: Mark Ord

Examples of the latter are the one at the moat corner of Suan Dok Road, another in the grounds of the Arts and Culture Museum and a recently restored one in the car park of Imperial Mae Ping Hotel. Good examples of the former are the ruin down an alley to the side of Chiang Mai Ram Hospital and one on Changlor, the south moat road, near the turn-off for Wualai.

Many of these sadly overlooked ruins are historically significant sites dating back to the 14th century and generally represent the site of long-abandoned temples. The Chiang Mai Ram one for instance is all that’s left of Wat Pan Sat while the Mae Ping car park chedi indicates the location of forgotten Wat Chongkhong. It’s a bit like the Angkor syndrome where there are so many spectacular old ruins, the smaller ones get forgotten about. But some of Chiang Mai’s 700 year old piles of bricks could be tourist attractions in their own right in a different context.

At the base of Chedi Nom Long. Photo taken in or around Lost chedis of Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai, Thailand by Mark Ord.

At the base of Chedi Nom Long. Photo: Mark Ord

What impresses is the extent and sheer volume of these locations, giving an indication in turn of the extent of the ancient city and the number of its religious sites. Obviously in the 14th and 15th centuries, Chiang Mai had both a far smaller population and a far greater number ... Travelfish members only (Around 300 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Popular attractions in Chiang Mai

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Chiang Mai.

Best places to stay in Chiang Mai

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Chiang Mai.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Chiang Mai.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Chiang Mai.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Chiang Mai.
 Read up on how to get to Chiang Mai, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Chiang Mai? Please read this.
 Buy a SIM card for Thailand—pick it up at the airport when you arrive.
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