Chiang Mai, Thailand; Day 22

We visited one of the most famous Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai called Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. The legend of this temple is fascinating and worth a five minute read here.

It was a school day today so the kids were positioned to look, listen, and learn.

This temple is named for the mountain that it sits upon. To get to the temple terrace all pilgrims climb 300+ stairs. These stairs have been restored several times but are among some of the original 14th century structures on site. In addition to the grandeur of the stairs, they are framed all the way to the top by a pair of Naga for protection.

After reaching the top of the stairs our shoes were left behind to show respect while we visited the temple terrace.

A golden chedi surrounded by four golden parasols greeted us upon emerging into the inner temple terrace.

The art and architecture surrounding the central temple complex was amazing. These are just some of the images that we captured.

There weren’t nearly as many tourists as would typically be found here. The Pandemic has prevented the Chinese from visiting (usually about half of the foreign tourists to Chiang Mai) and there were few other Westerners on site.

Doi Suthep is a major tourist attraction for all Thai nationals and that was the majority of the visitors that we encountered. It is a must-see destination for anyone coming to Chiang Mai simply for the spectacular views of the city from the temple grounds.

In fact, we were able to see where we are staying relative to the temple and mountain.

There were collection boxes for ‘merit’ in front of many of the Buddha statues. Each Buddha would represent a different set of blessings to those that donated. In one specific spot was a different collection box. CreeperPuppy made a 5 baht merit to the erection of a new temple in Longkukum.

After about 90 minutes of wandering the grounds, we headed back down the stairs and grabbed a bite to eat and did a little shopping.

The kids were livid after learning on the way home that there was an elevator option but Mom & Dad were set on the pious climb.

After lunch, fortune immediately shined on CreeperPuppy as he was able to negotiate with a vendor to drive the price for this colorful metal bracelet from 400 baht down to 100.

Apparently he was brave enough to pull off the “walk away” stategy not once but TWICE to secure the vendor’s best and final offer. Plus, after leaving her stall and walking a short distance away, the vendor came up to us and gave CreeperPuppy this second bracelet.

Apparently there is a Thai superstition Praderm which relates to the first good customer of the day. The idea is that a good first customer will result in more customers that spend more money. So vendors are always gracious with the first good customer and even more so since he’s a child.

On an adjacent mountain to Doi Suthep is Doi Pui where a Hmong tribal village sits. This was our next stop. The Hmong are one of six major hill tribes in Thailand. They aren’t indigenous but migrated centuries ago from Laos/China and today continue many of the same ways of life in the hills of Northern Thailand.

The town is heavily promoted for tourism so it was less authentic than others further north, but we got to see many traditional handcrafts and weaving and interact with some of the townspeople. The town itself is built into the slope of the mountain and is beautiful. It has some lovely waterfalls and a well-tended garden can be found.

After a full day of exploring the kids got to pick out a treat. They chose grape Fanta…with enthusiasm. It’s their favorite but hasn’t been seen in Thailand before today.

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