Wat Phra Kaew was originally called Wat Pa Yia (Bamboo Forest Monastery) in the local dialect, this is the city’s most revered Buddhist temple. The main prayer is a well-preserved wooden structure. There is an octagonal chedi behind it that dates from the late 14th century and is in Lanna style. The adjacent two-storey wooden building is a museum housing various Lanna artefacts.
Legend has it that in 1434 lightning struck the temple’s chedi, which fell apart to reveal the Phra Kaew Morakot, or Emerald Buddha (actually made of jade). After a long journey that included a lengthy stopover in Vientiane, Laos, this national talisman is now ensconced in the temple of the same name in Bangkok.