A Pedacito of Temples in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Updated: Jun 7, 2021
Chiang, Mai is a magical city in northern Thailand. It's proximity to neighboring Myanmar and Laos provides influence and nuance to all aspects of culture, which is evident in the architecture of its many temples. Here's a collection of temples that I visited in just one morning in Chiang Mai. I arranged it the way any unorganized traveler would, by paying a taxi driver for several hours to be your private driver. This was on the morning that I was to depart Chiang Mai down to Bangkok before heading back to the U.S.A. I hope you enjoy the photos!
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Ratchaworawihan
The first stop was to a hillside monument with a beautiful temple complex at the top. There was a beautiful staircase built into the hill that you climbed to get to the complex. I got there super early and the staff was still preparing for the day; I think I may have gotten away with not paying because of that... This complex is beautiful! It is nestled into the hilltop, surrounded by lush jungle, and has an exceptional view of Chiang Mai. I didn't spend a ton of time here but I can just imagine how lovely it would be to take a slower pace, breathe in the atmosphere, and even meditate in a quiet corner.
Pha Lat Temple
We drove down the hillside a bit to our next stop which was another complex of temples, this time they were spread out along short hikes through the lush jungle; there was also a beautiful stream that trickled down the hill. I had trouble finding this place on Google Maps as it is very unassuming from the road and is covered with the thick green of the Thai jungle. There was next to no one there which made it quite serene. This location also offered really beautiful views of Chiang Mai.
Wat Umong Suan Putatham
Back down to the base of the hills where we've seen so far, this temple complex has one central bell-shaped tower (I believe it's called a Chedi) in a small open field surrounded by jungle. Below the Chedi is a series of tunnels that captivate your sense of adventure and curiosity. I really enjoyed this place because there was a sense of discovery with all those tunnels. It was very quiet and dim. I special place for self-reflection and stillness.
Wat Suan Dok
When we approached this complex, I thought it appeared a bit like a cemetery and didn't think there was much to see. The golden stupa at the center of several smaller white structures stood out from a distance and I began to explore. This felt more like a community temple than some of the others that I've visited, which cater highly to tourists. When I wandered over to the main temple space I was in awe of the scale and beauty of the structure.
Wat Sri Suphan
By the time we made it here, tourist operations were in full swing and I had to pay to enter this small complex, however, I don't mind paying entrance fees as I know it goes to keeping these places beautiful for the enjoyment of people like you and me. This complex contained a few buildings but the feature was definitely a silver-lined temple that was absolutely exquisite. There was also a small marketplace where locals sell handmade crafts, fresh fruits, or sweet treats.
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