Wat Suan Dok

Chiang Mai

Built on a former flower garden in 1373, this important monastery enshrines one half of a sacred Buddha relic; the other half was transported by white elephant to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. The main chedi is a gilded, bell-shaped structure that rises above a sea of white memorial chedi honouring the Thai royal family, with the ridge of Doi Suthep soaring behind.

The hangar-like main wí·hăhn (sanctuary) contains a huge standing Buddha statue that almost touches the ceiling. Take some time to wander the memorial garden of whitewashed chedi in front of the monastery, which contain the ashes of generations of Lanna royalty.

Mahachulalongkorn Buddhist University is located on the same grounds and foreigners often join the popular Monk Chat and English-language meditation retreats.

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