My favorite Wat in Chiang Mai is Wat Jetlin
There’s rarely a buddhist temple in Thailand that doesn’t have more than one name. Wat Jetlin is also known as Wat Jet Lin, Wat Chedlin and Wat Nong Chalin. I’m going to call it by the name outside the main gates: Wat Jetlin.
Located on Prapokkloa Road the 16th century Wat Jetlin is often overlooked in the touristy old walled city of Chiang Mai.
Truth be told, I’m kinda glad it’s overlooked too. It only adds to one of the reasons I like coming here so much.
Entrance to Wat Jetlin
As you enter in to the temple complex you’ll see the side of the main viharn (wat/temple) building to your right. Running alongside the viharn are several large black metal gongs. You can use the soft mallets to gently hit the gongs and they’ll emanate a wonderful tone.
Just past the gongs on the right are some steps leading up and inside the viharn.
Inside Wat Jetlin
If you’re not accustomed to the inside of Thai buddhist temples the inside of Wat Jetlin might surprise you a little.
It’s quite bare but still filled with red painted columns, seats around the edges, a tiled floor, a pink carpet at the center lined with soft mats for kneeling on and a large golden buddha at the top.
It’s all quite ornate in a clash of evocative colors way.
Stone buddha head and some large stone balls
Back outside and there’s a little outbuilding that houses a sizable old stone buddha head along with several smaller ornate statues. Among these are large dark stone balls. I’m told that stone balls are often placed under Thai temples in each of the four corners and in cardinal points.
I’m not quite sure why these cannon ball like stones are not inside or under the temple. But their proximity to the old stone head suggests that perhaps they were from a previous temple.
Wat Jetlin’s chedi
At the rear of the viharn is tall stone chedi. Temple enthusiasts might like to know that this chedi is in the Mondop style which is quite common among large chedis like this in Thailand. Each of the four sides has a niche about half way up with a buddha statue inside.
To the rear of Wat Jetlin and a quaint little bridge
Walk past the Chedi until you get to a lovely ornate little bridge. This is my favourite area of Wat Jetlin. Crossing over the bridge you’ll find a couple of nice seating areas. Below the still lilly filled water has tortoises, carp and slew of birdlife living around it.
If you fully cross over the bridge you’ll end up in the monks quarters. It’s probably not so polite to just wander on in. There’s not much here either aside from some saffron robes drying out in the breeze.
Take a coffee break at Wat Chedlin
Yes, I changed the name to Chedlin. I did that as my favorite part of this Wat is the little coffee shop back on the other side of the bridge to the right. It’s secluded and different from other temples in Chiang Mai. They serve “organic” coffee in the forms of espresso, americano, lattes and mochas. I personally stick with the espressos here. Nice and nutty with a golden froth.
To the left of the coffee shop is a small seating area under the shade. This is where it’s blissful to sit back and enjoy the bridge, chedi, wat and pond. A perfect setting for some book reading and relaxation.
The best part here is that few tourists come this far. And those that do are usually happy to enjoy a peaceful coffee too. I’ve met all sorts of nice folk here that are simply enjoying the cultural side of Chiang Mai.
Directions to Wat Jetlin/Chedlin in Chiang Mai
Map of Wat Jetlin:
Address/ directions: Wat is Jetlin is located in the southeastern corner inside the old city walls of Chiang Mai along the southern end of Prapokkloa road.
Entrance fee: zero
Cost of a coffee: about USD $1.50
Opening hours: 04.00 – 18.00 everyday
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