Exploring the popular temples of Chiang Mai

Travel Buddies

Travel Buddies

During my first few weeks while in Chiang Mai, I met other travelers that were interested in getting a group together to go explore the popular temples of Chiang Mai. There were four of us in total to explore the Chiang Mai temples.

We were able to negotiate a taxi ride with a songtao (taxi), local red trucks that have been redesigned to accommodate people in the bed of the truck inside a modified camper shell.

Fortunately, one of the other travelers from Germany had impressive negotiating skills that she had  perfected while living in Bangkok, Thailand.

She was able to negotiate a total price of 600 BHT or $20 USD to drive the four of us to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. A temple that is located near the top of the local mountain called, “Suthep.”

[google-map-v3 shortcodeid=”89719aa9″ width=”600″ height=”350″ zoom=”12″ maptype=”roadmap” mapalign=”center” directionhint=”false” language=”default” poweredby=”false” maptypecontrol=”true” pancontrol=”true” zoomcontrol=”true” scalecontrol=”true” streetviewcontrol=”true” scrollwheelcontrol=”false” draggable=”true” tiltfourtyfive=”false” enablegeolocationmarker=”false” enablemarkerclustering=”false” addmarkermashup=”false” addmarkermashupbubble=”false” addmarkerlist=”18.804896,98.9217818{}castle-2.png” bubbleautopan=”true” distanceunits=”miles” showbike=”false” showtraffic=”false” showpanoramio=”false”]

 

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is  roughly a 20-40 minute drive from the old city of Chiang Mai, depending on how fast you are driving or your taxi is driving. The road starts to climb in elevation after passing, Chiang Mai University, towards the end of Huai Kaeo road.

The road is windy and newly paved. It is also a popular climb for local road cyclists. I hope that I have the opportunity to climb the road by bicycle soon!

The taxi ride is slightly nauseating since there are many turns on the road. Fortunately, the Songtao has an open back door which allows for good ventilation and fresh air.

Once we reached the end of the road, we got out of the Songtao and started to walk up stairs. The stairs lead to the main temple, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. There are also other shrines to look at along the way.

Suthep_1

Statue

Statue

Stairs

Stairs

Since the temple attracts many tourists, there are many vendors selling food and traditional Thai handicrafts. Once you get past all the vendors, you will reach the base of the stairs that lead to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.

Take your time climbing the stairs so that you do not sweat profusely by the time that you make it to the top.

Once you reach the top you need to pay 30 BHT or 1 USD to enter the temple. In addition, you need to be conservatively clothed and take-off your shoes or sandals. Some temples will not allow you to enter if your shoulders are not covered and/or your legs are not covered down to your knees.

Although, this dress code is not synchronous with your average traveler/backpacker it is a good idea to be appropriately clothed when visiting a temple or religious site.

After I reached the top of the stairs and was able to enter the temple, there were droves of visitors, mesmerized as I was, starring and the gold plated temple.  Surrounding the temple was various statues of Buddha and other significant religious statues.

Beware of slippery floor

Beware of slippery floor

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Buddist Dog

Buddist Dog

Although, I do not associate with any particular religion, I do find the historic and cultural importance of these sites very interesting. When I walk around a temple with immaculate statues, monks, and religious ceremonies it grabs my attention and is very engaging.

After walking around the temple, taking photos, and gazing at the immaculate detail oriented statues; the group gathers back together and heads back down the long stairs to the songtao.

Prior to entering the temple, you must remove your shoes. It is important to not lose track of where you placed your shoes when you return as there are pairs laying everywhere at the entrance. Bam! “There they are!” It would have been a bummer to continue the tour without my shoes…

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep steps

The group makes it back down the stairs to the vendors of food and handicrafts. I get some awesome waffles with strawberry sauce and admire the variety of handicrafts.

We are able to find our songtao driver, load up the bed of the truck and descend the mountain back into town. Next stop is Wat Chedi Luang Worawihan, located in the old city.

[google-map-v3 shortcodeid=”717871f6″ width=”600″ height=”350″ zoom=”12″ maptype=”roadmap” mapalign=”center” directionhint=”false” language=”default” poweredby=”false” maptypecontrol=”true” pancontrol=”true” zoomcontrol=”true” scalecontrol=”true” streetviewcontrol=”true” scrollwheelcontrol=”false” draggable=”true” tiltfourtyfive=”false” enablegeolocationmarker=”false” enablemarkerclustering=”false” addmarkermashup=”false” addmarkermashupbubble=”false” addmarkerlist=”Wat Chedi Luang Worawihan{}castle-2.png” bubbleautopan=”true” distanceunits=”miles” showbike=”false” showtraffic=”false” showpanoramio=”false”]

 

We arrive to the temple and get out. After traveling in Thailand for a while, many of the temples are similar and start to look the same. But then there are several temples that are very unique and are worth a visit for their architectural significance in addition to the statues and general ambiance.

Wat Chedi Luang Worawihan is definitely a temple that  sticks out from the rest and is worth checking out! If you walk to the back of the 1st temple there is an amazing pyramid looking structure that is built out of bricks and has concrete elephants protruding from the side. There are no words that can adequately describe the architectural details of the temple. Well, I guess you will just have to visit and see for yourself!

In all, this day was fantastic visiting two of the temples in Chiang Mai. Keep in mind that there are many more that you can visit. I will have to save those for another day! Till then!

Wat Chedi Luang Worawihan

Wat Chedi Luang Worawihan

Suthep_21

Wat Chedi Luang Worawihan

Wat Chedi Luang Worawihan

Suthep_25

Suthep_26

Suthep_27

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.