This royal monastery is one of the most famous in the city of Chiang Mai and has a large Buddhist community that keeps it bustling. Located in the city centre, in the moat that marks the old part of town, it is a regular stopover for travellers to the area.
Opening hours: 08h00 – 17h00
Wat Phra Sing was founded in 1345 by King Pha Yu in honour of his father, King Kam Fu, as a shrine to house his ashes.
The community that lives here today has a school and a centre for Buddhist studies, so when you visit it, you may be lucky to watch some kind of ceremony or educational activity.
It is important to emphasize that traditionally the religious and social life of the populations has revolved for centuries around the monasteries.
Among other activities taking place here, laypeople celebrated their meetings in the vihaan or assembly hall, where they discussed common issues of everyday life. Travellers are even allowed to spend the night here on certain occasions.
Life in the cities accelerate the change of habits and customs, but even today the link between the Thai people and Buddhist monasteries is very intense.
This monastery has two assembly halls (vihaan). The small one –called the Lai Kahm– is a magnificent example of the Lanna architecture typical of Chiang Mai, with low walls and slightly curved, three-tiered roofs.
The ends of the gables are embellished with various gilded figures depicting the head and part of the body of a bird, and an elephant’s trunk. Apart from being decorative, these details have the symbolic function of protecting the building from evil spirits.
Inside the vihan is a revered Buddha called Phra Buddha Sihing.