Wat Pha Lat – The Monk’s Trail Hike

Wat Pha Lat, Chiang Mai

Want to follow in the footsteps of monks from years gone by, then hiking the Monk’s Trail to Wat Pha Lat is the way to do it.

It’ll also take you away from the hustle and bustle of Chiang Mai, and offer serene jungle views over and above the city.

Only a short hike, but it was one of the most rewarding.

Make sure the hike to Wat Pha Lat is on your list if you’re in Chiang Mai. Even if you’re short on time, it’s well worth the trip up to see this incredible temple on the sloping hillside above Chiang Mai.

The Beatiful Wat Pha Lat

Quick Facts about Wat Pha Lat, Chiang Mai

  • Distance: Less than 2km out and back
  • Time from Chiang Mai: Not too long of a hike, 1-2 hours.
  • Time needed: Could be done in a 2 hours from Chiang Mai
  • Best travel time: Early morning, or late afternoon to beat the grounds.
  • Difficulty: 150m ish of elevation gain along a nice trail.
  • Cost: Free
Doi Suthep

High Points of the Wat Pha Lat, Chiang Mai

  • Follow the trail that the monk’s have used for years.
  • Beautiful waterfalls around the temples.
  • Super quiet and peaceful.
  • Incredible view over Chiang Mai outside of burning season!

Low Points of the Wat Pha Lat, Chiang Mai

  • Make sure you start early in the day if you’re going in the high temperatures, as it can get warm.

How to get to the Monk’s Trail to Wat Pha Lat

Located not too far from Chiang Mai itself, the trailhead is relatively straightforward to get to and is easily accessible.

I would personally recommend hiring a scooter for your time in Chiang Mai, as this and many other trips in and around Chiang Mai become super accessible.

You can get a grab here, which will cost around 200 THB from the center of the old town.

Or you can grab a red bus that’ll cost you between 50-100 THB.

Getting the scooter yourself and parking at the bottom means you won’t have to wait for either at the bottom and can go straight when you’ve finished the hike!

Peacock in the temple grounds

My Experience of Monk’s Trail to Wat Pha Lat

This was one of my first hikes in Chiang Mai, and I am so glad I did it.

The hike itself is through dense jungle, weaving its way through the trees, and following a small river.

Whilst also following orange rags off of monks that are tied on along the route to mark the way.

Once you reach the temple after a short, but rewarding hike, you can see why this is the most popular hike in Chiang Mai.

With incredibly beautiful grounds, serene waterfalls, and some incredible culture whilst overlooking Thailand’s second-biggest city. It’s a wonderful contrast.

The Monk’s trail

What to do after Wat Pha Lat

After you’ve spent some time exploring the temples, taking in the beauty, and following the waterfalls, you have a few options for what you can do.

You could continue the hike up from here towards Doi Suthep and Wat Phra That. This is a lot harder of a hike than the initial hike to Wat Pha Lat, so be warned. It’s another 600m of elevation gain and the path is steep all the way to the top.

Alternatively, you could go up towards the road, grab a red taxi or road walk back down to the start.

Or you can just hike back the way you came in, refollowing the monk’s trail back to the trailhead.

Whilst you’re in Chiang Mai don’t forget to visit more incredible spots like these below:

Mae Ya Waterfall – Thailand’s most impressive waterfall!
Wachirathan Waterfall – a HUGE set of falls in Doi Inthanon!
Sirithan Waterfall – A quiet, but seriously cool waterfall

If you’ve any questions about Wat Pha Lat, Chiang Mai then drop them in the comments below and I’ll be happy to help.

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