Have to say, I really like this northern Thai city that’s found at the base of the Himalayan ranges. The terrain is flat and the walking is good. It’s also quite pretty with its many elaborate temples and grassy canals that come with fountains. And…it’s very green.
We arrived here on the night train from Ayutthaya. I’d booked second class sleepers online for the 11 hour trip. We boarded at 8 pm and within the hour our beds were made up for us. Nothing more to do but climb onto the top bunk (yes, my husband scored the bottom bunk!), read to my heart’s content and fall asleep. Love train travel. Don’t do it often enough.
On arrival in Chiang Mai, we made our way to our hotel with its spacious rooms and its very welcoming cafe where a good strong coffee worked its early morning magic.
If you’re a temple tragic like me, then you’ll be in your element – Chiang Mai is a treasure trove of wats. Some are simply beautiful. Thais are devoted Buddhists and justifiably proud of their temples. The main temples are home to an entire complex of buildings which include an ordination hall, an assembly hall, living quarters for monks – the list goes on. Getting ordained as a monk seems to be the norm for Thai males. This can be as short as a few days or as long as a year.
The temples often heave with elaborate decorations. Gold is used extensively. This photo is the mother of all temples Wat Phra That Doi Suthep which is set high on a mountain overlooking Chiang Mai.
It is a bit of a climb to get there but the ‘photo for money’ girls along the stairs make the going a bit easier.
The next lot of photos are of different wats I found on my very easy walks around the Old City.
A few years ago, I sat next to a Laotian monk on the short flight from Luang Prabang in Laos to Hanoi. He spoke perfect English, was on board with his Vietnamese wife and three bubbly kids and believe it or not, hailed from a farm in Western Australia where he grew ‘very straight’ cucumbers for Coles and Woolworths. Small world!
Every two years he makes his way to Laos to attend monk school for three weeks. I gained a most wonderful insight into his religion – his way of life really and couldn’t help but be impressed by his passion and commitment.
Some of the temples we visited had ‘Chat with a Monk’ booths set up where English speakers are encouraged to talk to the monks to help improve the monks’ English. It’s an excellent idea.
Chiang Mai’s Old City was once a walled city and remnants of the wall and gates from the 13th century are still on show. The moats, now called canals still surround the Old City and they are indeed pretty.
When it’s too far to walk, there’s always a songthaew or tuk tuk.
More green space – this time a public park.
Chiang Mai street scenes
Plenty of expats live here, so guess they too enjoy the easy going lifestyle that’s on offer.
Next stop Chiang Rai…
2 thoughts on “Thailand: Chiang Mai”
Don’t miss the White Temple outside Chang Rai if you are into temples
Don’t you just love mango and stick rice …
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Great photos Wendy
Enjoyed traveling with you and Tony
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