Chiang Mai’s 15 foot high defensive wall protected the Old City for centuries. It was torn down for its bricks when the Japanese occupied Thailand during World War II. In the late 70s the city rebuilt the corners of the wall, and 5 of the gates, using old photographs.
We experienced the wall with a quick look at Chang Phuak Gate, and by just driving around the wall and moat in order to leave and enter the 1-square mile Old City. Some parts of the wall, such as the Fort of Hua-Lin, look to be worth exploring more closely, so I’ll make a point of doing that next time.
Wat Kun Kha Ma, the Horse Temple, is just a few blocks from Chang Phuak Gate.
The story of this temple, as I recall, is simple; once stables, it was made a temple to memorialize a beloved departed horse.
This is a small temple complex, attractive but with few remarkable features other than the horse focus.
Wat Kun Kha Ma does have a Buddha with an animated LED halo, with a sort of spider web above it.
Wat Rajamontean, the Dragon Temple, is a short distance further along Sri Poom Road.
Dragons are unusual at Thai temples, but they’re not what first catches the eye when approaching Wat Rajamontean from the street.
Most or all of the dragons flank the steps up from the street.
The Phaya Naga that decorate the roof are done in stained glass.
Most temples seem to be surrounded by other buildings, but I saw no way to access anything outside of Wat Rajamontean, other than by returning to the street.
There are temple spaces on two levels, each with its own white Buddha.
We went for the dragons, but we stayed for a beautifully detailed temple.
To reach Wat Lok Moli we crossed one of the pedestrian bridges over the moat, leaving the Old City. Wat Lok Moli is just north of it.
The view from across the street promised good things.
Red and green yaksha guard the gate.
Wat Lok Moli was built some time before its first known mention in a 1367 charter.
inside the gate are a pair of white elephants and trees with gold and silver leaves.
The phutthawat (temple complex) is crowded with statues of many faced and/or many-armed entities that reveal their Hindu connections. Phra Phrom, below, is the Thai representation of the Hindu god Brahma.
Below is Phra Mae Kuan Im, the East Asian “Goddess of Mercy“. In Thailand she is often depicted with a mere 2 arms.
The wihan and chedi were built in 1527 by King Ket.
The wihan appears to be built from teak, but the outside eschews the usual gold trim.
The inside is more reminiscent of other Chiang Mai Old City temples.
The exposed brick of the chedi looks its age, but it’s in pretty great shape.
Across from the chedi is a display that appears to feature replicas of chedis of other temples.
I was drawn across the street to an attractive Phra Phikanet, or Ganesha.
How could I resist the general surrounded by an army of roosters? My little Tukata’s explanation: the general loved roosters. I guess so!
That was enough temples for one day, so we took a tuk tuk (my first) back to the hotel.
Please enjoy the full gallery of 51 pictures below.