The Wat Phan On is one of the smaller temples in the old walled city of Chiang Mai. It was built in 1501 during the reign of the Lanna King Mueang Kaeo.
The temple complex consists of a large viharn, a golden chedi and the kuti or monks living quarters. The Wat Phan On temple holds one of the most beautiful chedis in Chiang Mai.
The chedi was built in 2007 and named the Sareerikkatartsirirak Pagoda, named by the King of Thailand, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). The chedi contains red niches on all of its four sides in which Buddha images are enshrined. Next to the chedi is a very large gong.
Large, two story viharn
The viharn of the Wat Phan On is a large two story building with a three tiered roof with chofahs decorating the roofs ends. Large thevada figures are placed between the heavily decorated windows of its side walls. The doors and windows are richly decorated with finely made wood carvings depicting mythological creatures. The bodies and heads of Naga serpents make up the arches of the windows.
This viharn contains a large sitting Buddha image in front of the wall facing the entrance. The image in the subduing Mara posture is a copy of the famous Phra Chinnarat Buddha of the Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat temple in Phitsanulok. In front of the image is another, smaller Buddha statue.
Large square columns decorated with intricate motifs support the structure. The walls contain several murals, including one of the Buddha’s first sermon at the deer park in Sarnath, India.
The temple courtyard
In the temple’s courtyard is a big tree under which a number of Buddha images are placed with umbrellas sheltering them. The large number of bells around the temple complex can be rung by Buddhists and tourists alike. Several large trees provide welcome shade. There are picnic tables around the grounds, and drinks and food are available from a small shop.
Every Sunday the Ratchadamnoen Road where the temple is located on becomes the scene of the Sunday evening walking street, which starts around 4 pm and lasts until midnight. During this market where mainly locally made handicrafts and food are sold, the Ratchadamnoen Road as well as the temple grounds can get very crowded.
How to get to the Wat Phan On
The Wat Phan On is located inside the old walled part of Chiang Mai close to the Eastern Tha Phae gate. From the gate follow the Ratchadamnoen Road towards the West. You will find the temple at the intersection with Ratchadamnoen Road Soi 4.
Within the old city you can get there by tuk tuk (negotiate a price before setting off) or drive there yourself on a rented bicycle.
Entrance fee & opening hours
The temple grounds are open daily from 6 am until 6 pm. Admission is free. There are several donation boxes across the grounds, a donation is highly appreciated. During the Sunday’s walking streets market the temple grounds can get very busy.