The Wat Phra Singh temple and monastery is one of the oldest in Chiang Mai, founded in 1345. Since then other structures have been added around the complex, most notably the striking golden Phrathatluang.
The monastery is home to around 700 monks who live on-site. Be careful where you wander, I almost caused an incident straying into the monk parts. The look I got from the affronted monk was not one of enlightened acceptance.
The original temple was built to house the ashes of King Kham Fu, however the name of the temple is derived from another resident. Although mystery surrounds the tale, a statue of Buddha, known as the Phra Singh (Lion Buddha) appeared at the temple around 1360 and has been housed in the old temple since then. It is still the original statue, except for the head, which was stolen in 1922.
The complex also includes a dragon temple, dedicated to people born in the year of the dragon – 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, and 2012.
Entry is free and there are inspirational quotes scattered through the complex which add to the interest, but there is very little other information provided in English.