Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, Established in 1383 and perched on a hilltop overlooking the city, this magnificent temple is famous for its large gold-plated chedi, visible from the city on a good clear day. Although Wat Doi Suthep is the most recently built of the temples dating from the Lanna Thai period, it is the symbol of Chiang Mai. The site was selected by sending an elephant to roam at will up the mountainside. When it reached this spot, it trumpeted, circled three times, and knelt down - which was interpreted as a sign indicating an auspicious site. Entrance to the temple is free for those who wish to climb the 300-plus steps; alternatively, there's a cable car with a 50 baht fare for foreigners. Clearly marked songthaews to Doi Suthep leave from Pratu Chang Phuak, passing Chiang Mai University and the zoo on the way. Prices are fixed at 40 baht up and 30 baht down; the drivers wait until they have sufficient (up to 8) passengers before they depart. The trip takes about 30 minutes one way. Alternatively, the 12kms (often up hill) journey can be made by motorcycle.
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