Monday, September 13, 2010

A wonderful weekend in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand, after Bangkok. After rediscovering Chiang Mai in my previous visits to Thailand ... Many tourists have already discovered Chiang Mai, and many of them come back several times as there is always more to see and do in Thailand's " Rose of the North ".  I prefer to always stay longer in Chiang Mai rather than Bangkok. Things are cheaper there, the people are friendlier, the pace of life is less hectic than Bangkok and there are a lot of photo opportunities in Chiang Mai.... and lastly.... the traffic situation in Chiang Mai is a hundred times better than Bangkok.

Chiang Mai is a very walkable city for those willing and able. But there are many transportation options as well. Public transportations include tuk tuks and taxis. Tuk tuks are very noisy, and the passengers are breathing exhaust fumes from the tuk tuk itself and the traffic the whole time... These tuk tuks are fun for short trips around Chiang Mai. Their taxis are also cute. They look like little trucks and the passenger sits at the back. The tuk tuk and taxis do not have meters, therefore you should agree on the amount to be paid beforehand. A typical tuk tuk ride is about 60 Baht for in town transportation, and the taxis charge around 120 Baht.

Among the many attractions in Chiang Mai, one can't ignore the decorative temples that adorn the city. There are 350 temples in Chiang Mai, some of them are as old as the city. I enjoy visiting many  temples every time I am in Chiang Mai. Even though there are many similarities, each one of them is unique in many ways.

Since this was our last day in Chiang Mai.... I decided to do another set of temples with Oskie.


This temple was built in 1371 by the king of Lanna. Suan Dok means " Garden of Flowers ". The temple of Wat Suan Dok was built on the site of what had been a Royal botanical garden. Today, Wat Suan Dok houses a Buddhist University, the MAHA CHULALONGKORN. On certain days of the week it is possible to talk with some of the Buddhist monks who enjoy the chance to practice their english.

All the white tombs at Wat Suan Dok contain the remains of several generations of the Chiang Mai Royal Family which had been collected from all over Thailand and interred there in 1909.

The largest Chedi contains a Buddha relic. As in most temple compounds you will find several Bodhi trees which is a symbol of enlightenment.

While you are here, don't forget to look up and enjoy the sunset. Wat Suan Dok reputedly is one of the best places to see the sun setting over the Doi Suthep Mountain.


This temple was built on the mountain top about 10 kilometers from the city. It is surrounded by trees just like Wat Doi Suthep. Doi Kham means " Golden Mountain " --- and it has been a place of worship for more than 1300 years.


Wat Chedi Liam stands in the ruined ancient city of Waing Kum Kam which served as King Mengral's Capital City. The original name of Wat Chedi Liam was Wat Ku Kam. It is about 30 kilometers from Chiang Mai.

This temple was built in 1286... the main feature of the temple is a " haripunchal " style of Chedi with 5 tiers. Haripunchai was a kingdom in northern Thailand around the 11th century. The Buddha images are placed in niches of each tier.

The best way to see Wat Chedi Liam and all the main ruins of the ancient city is by riding a horse drawn carriage available for hire at the temple. This trip takes about an hour and costs about 300 Baht per person.

I probably will be back in Chiang Mai again before the year ends.... I have discovered another exciting adventure to do while you are in Chiang Mai.... Meanwhile..... These are the wonderful memories I had of a Thai destination that could just be my NEW BANGKOK!!

I have fallen in love with this city... and definitely return to Chiang Mai.


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