Wiang Chet Lin: Ancient Chiang Mai’s Lost City of the Lawa

travel guide

Complete travel guide to the ruins and ancient temples of Wiang Chet Lin, a historic city that stood at the foot Chiang Mai’s sacred Doi Suthep mountain.

The Story of Wiang Chet Lin

Mentions of an ancient city straddling the foot of Doi Suthep go back through the records of three different cultures throughout the region’s history. Artifacts and even physical traces of this city’s wall surfaced throughout the centuries.  Despite this, actual archaeological evidence of that city was not actively sought out until a survey done in 1986. These archaeological excavations proved conclusively that there was a city long-predating Chiang Mai in these forests.

This city is referenced by several names and spellings depending on the source. These include Misankorn and Chetthaburi as its original name, as well as various transliterations of its later Thai name of Wiang Chet Lin. Translated from Thai, Wiang Chet Lin means “walled city of 7 streams” (“wiang” meaning walled city” and ‘chetlin” referring to water sources), the name can which can also be found written as Chedlin, Jedlin, Jed Rin, etc. due to their not being a standardized transliteration of Thai.

Adding to the confusion surrounding these varying names is the fact that two distinct legends claim the founding of a city here. While the excavations done since 1986 has served to reconcile and clarify some of these details — in particular proving the city was much older than the later legend claims — there are still many unclear and details springing from these early accounts.

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Posted by Paths Unwritten

My name is Ben. I’m a native Michigander with a passion for human culture and new places, and more than that, new experiences. I have degrees in writing and anthropology and have no idea what I want to do with them. For now, I’m content with an unbound lifestyle; going where I want and doing what I can, and hopefully gaining some interesting stories along the way.

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