Wat Thaton

Although not actually in Chiang Mai, it is in Chiang Mai Province and anyone visiting will probably start from Chiang Mai city.

Also called The Temple of the Magnificent Crystal Pagoda, Wat Thaton is a large temple complex in a very attractive setting just a few kilometers fro the Myanmar boarder.  It is built on a hill overlooking Ban Thaton Village and the Maekok River and covers several levels of a forested hill.

At the first level is a statue of Guanyin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy.  Also at the first level is the office and a Buddhist school.  One of the oldest structures is the chedi which is used to enshrine relics of The Buddha, Kings, and very important monks.

At level 2 is the ubosot and at level 3 there is a large white Buddha image sitting in the subduing Mara posture.

The Phra Nakprok building with the Vipassana Meditation Center are at level 4.  The roof has a huge seated Buddha image with a 7 headed Naga serpent.  The next level is the meditation hall and accommodations for the students.

The obvious and most striking structure is the newly built Chedi Kaew or Crystal Buddha which can be seen from miles away.  This colorful structure has a large greenish spire on top and both sides of the entrance are decorated with golden colored Theawada figures on a red background.

Over the richly decorated entrance is a depiction of the Buddha in front of a Dhamma wheel.  A very tall golden Buddha image standing over 10 meters and holding an alms bowl is overlooking the area.

Getting to Wat Thaton is a journey.  It is about 175 km north of Chiang Mai near the village of Ban Thaton and about 50 km northwest of Chiang Rai.