Wat Phra Singh was built inside the old city walls at a time when Chiang Mai was the capital of the northern Thai Lanna or Lan Na kingdom.
The wat was originally built in 1345. It may have simply been a stupa erected by a king (and descendant of the great Mangrai) to honour his father. The stupa still stands, but most of the buildings you see on the site today are of much more recent vintage. Originally called Wat Li Chiang Phra, the name was changed to Wat Phra Singh when the Phra Singh Buddha image was first housed there in 1367. Phra Singh is a cast Buddha image of Chiang Sean Period
Wat Phra Singh is not an unusual name for a Thai temple: wat means Buddhist temple, phra is used to refer to a Buddha image or a monk, while singh is a mythical lion-like animal. The Chiang Mai Wat Phra Singh is probably the most famous of all the Wat Phra Singh temples in Thailand
There are three main buildings, namely the Stupa, Viharn Lai Kam, and Haw Trai.