Academic and Religious Institutions in Chiang Mai

Academic and Religious Institutions in Chiang Mai

As the largest city in northern Thailand and one of the country’s most important cities, Chiang Mai is an important center of learning, both secular and spiritual.

Chiang Mai University (CMU), founded by royal charter in 1964, was the first university established outside of Bangkok. It is considered one of Thailand’s most prestigious institutions of higher education with some 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students. CMU currently boasts a total of 253 programs: including undergraduate, postgraduate and graduate diploma programs. It also offers English language undergraduate, masters and doctoral programs. Its main campus is located at the foot of Doi Suthep.

Chiang Mai also has a large number of international schools that cater to both local and foreign students including Prem Tinsulanonda International School, Grace International School, Chiang Mai International School, American Pacific International School (formerly Ake Panya International School), and Lanna International School.


Chiang Mai is the center of Buddhism in northern Thailand. The city’s founder, King Meng Rai, was a very religious man and built many of the city’s temples, which are still in use today.

Wat Chom Tong, Tambon Ban Luang, Amphoe Chom Tong (about 60 km south-west of the city) +66 53-826869 / +66 53-826180 is the home temple of the meditation master Achan Tong, and offers residential courses in Vipassana Meditation on an on-going basis.

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep offers short and long courses in Buddhist meditation. (

Wat Ram Poeng, Tambon Suthep, Amphoe Muang (4 miles south-west of the city) +66 53-278620 offers facilities for retreats and meditation instruction. (

Wat Umong, Tambon Suthep, Amphoe Muang (3 and a half miles out of town) +66 53-277248 (08:30-16:00) offers meditation courses and Dharma instruction in English every Sunday 15:00-18:00. (