Wat Ban Den

12 Pagodas representing the Zodiac animal signs

Wat Ban Den temple in Chiang Mai
Wat Ban Den in Chiang Mai
Wat Ban Den
Founding date unknown
Completely renovated 1988 and beyond
Inthakin village, Mae Taeng district
Chiang Mai

The Wat Ban Den located North of the city is one of Chiang Mai’s most remarkable temples. It is also one of the largest temple complexes in Chiang Mai province. The complex contains a large number of structures including an ordination hall, a viharn, a meditation hall, the kuti or monks living quarters, a drum hall and several other buildings.

Although the structures of the Wat are relatively new, they are built in traditional architectural style.

When the Wat Ban Den got a new abbot in 1988 the temple was in poor condition. The new abbot named Kru Ba Tuang has managed to raise huge sums of money, donated by local people and Buddhists from across the country. Abbot Kru Ba Tuang has completely renovated the Wat Ban Den and added a number of impressive structures.

The wooden viharn and other structures

One of the more imposing structures of the Wat Ban Den is a very large Lanna style teak wood viharn with a three tiered roof. The viharn is an attractive building with its blue roof and golden barge boards, decorated with intricate wood carvings.

A number of very ornately decorated all wooden structures with a blue roof and golden chofah decorating the roof ends, some consisting of multiple floors are set on a white concrete platform. Several buildings contain detailed wood carvings in traditional style showing various animals and mythological creatures.

Many of the Wat’s structures are guarded by large mythical Naga serpents on each side of the stairs. All over the temple grounds are large white lion figures called Singha in Thai, acting as guardians.

The 12 chedis of the Zodiac animal signs

The temple complex holds 12 chedis or pagodas. According to ancient local belief when people die their spirit will stay in the chedi of their Zodiac animal sign. During their lifetime, everyone should make a pilgrimage to the temple of his Zodiac sign. Every Zodiac animal sign has an official temple in Thailand. Since some of these temples are far from Chiang Mai, abbot Kru Ba Tuang decided to build 12 pagodas in the Wat Ban Den, each one representing one of the Zodiac signs.

Although the temple complex is relatively new, it has already become an important place of worship for local people and Buddhists from all over Thailand.

Recently, during the celebration of Kru Ba Tuang’s birthday thousands of people came to the temple grounds and donated 39 “money trees” each containing 100,000 Thai Baht for the abbot’s 39th birthday. The Wat Ban Den is set in the beautiful rural area North of Chiang Mai city.

Naga snake at Wat Ban Den
Naga snake guarding temple
Ornate temple building at Wat Ban Den Chiang Mai
Ornate temple building

How to get to the Wat Ban Den

The Wat Ban Den is located in Inthakin village in Mae Taeng district some 45 kilometers North of Chiang Mai city.

The most comfortable way to get there is by taxi. Since it might be difficult to find a taxi at the Wat Ban Den for the way back to Chiang Mai, it is best to book a return trip. Most hotels in Chiang Mai will be able to book a taxi for you. Agree on the price before setting off.

Entrance fee & opening hours

The Wat Ban Den is open daily from 6 am until 5 pm. Admission is free. Donations for the upkeep of the temple are highly appreciated.