Wat Doi Kham is famous among local people

boy in front of huge gong in Wat Doi Kham

Those who have been in Thailand for a while, know that the Thai love to visit temples; not only out of religious beliefs but also to make fortune wishes to improve their lives. Wat Doi Kham is such a favorite place, located on a forested hill southwest of Chiang Mai, in the Mae Hia district, close to the Night Safari.

The most massive Sitting Buddha statue in Chiang Mai

17 meter giant Sitting Buddha at Wat Doi Kham near Chiang Mai

Wat Doi Kham is less frequented by tourists but is enormously famous to the locals. In front of the temple, there is a 17-meters high Sitting Buddha statue, the largest in the area of Chiang Mai. The oldest part of this place of worship, the chedi, dates from the 7th century; made of sandstone and covered with gold it is also known as the Golden Mountain Temple. As the golden chedi has similarities to the one at Doi Suthep, it is the sister-pagoda of the latter.

The temple contains a relic

The story goes that two giants were living on this hill. It seems that they were cannibals. But when the Buddha was traveling in this region, they gave up eating humans and converted to Buddhism. Because of that, the Buddha gave them a relic of his hair. And therefore the full name of the temple is Wat Phrathat Doi Kham; all temples in Thailand containing a Buddha relic carry Prathat in its name.

Fortune wishes to the Buddha of Success

making fortune wishes to the Buddha of Success at Wat Doi Kham

During history, the temple became somewhat deserted and even collapsed because of heavy rainfall in 1966. But as the villagers discovered some hidden, ancient Buddha images, the place revitalized from then onwards. The success of Wat Doi Kham nowadays mainly comes from making fortune wishes in front of the Luang Por Tan Jai Buddha, the Buddha of Success. Local people express – just – one wish in front of the statue, by offering jasmine flower garlands, which are bought at the foot of the hill.

Making just one wish offering jasmine flowers

Wat Phrathat Doi Kham fortune bells

While stating your wish, and mentioning your name, you promise to return with more jasmine flowers once your request has been granted. Fortune wishes can be about winning the lottery but also related to finding a good job or the recovery of an illness. According to the belief, your request will be fulfilled in 3 months. When this happens, you must offer at least 50 times more garlands than the amount you gave initially.

Panoramic viewpoint over Chiang Mai

sleeping Buddha at Wat Doi Kham viewpoint over Chiang Mai

After you made your fortune wishes and accompanying prayers, you can wander around the pagoda. At the back of the temple, there is an open floor where you can enjoy a panoramic scenery over Chiang Mai city, the Mae Hia district, and Doi Pui mountain. At the viewpoint, you will also find a staircase flanked by nagas to ascend or descend the complex. Most Thais though prefer to drive to the top of the hill. And on their way out, many of them stop to buy some lottery tickets in one of the many vendor stalls near the Sitting Buddha statue. After all, this is a worship place where your fortune wishes could become a reality.