When you have only one day to visit an entire city, where would you choose to go? And this is not a rethoric question, it’s reality. I was born a traveler and I will die like a traveler, that’s why, whenever I am in a new place, I am always open to add to my journey things I am attracted too. Chiang Mai had initialy two days on my itinerary, but something inside was telling me to go to the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai. I’ve seen some pictures of the surreal blue color this temple has and I suddenly decided to go there. And once you go in Chiang Rai to see the Blue Temple, you have to see The White Temple As well. But the story of this magic place can be found in the previous article “White Temple and Blue Temple, Two Wonders of the Modern World”.
So, that’s how I ended up in Chiang Rai traveling for 7 hours by bus and jumping from a temple to another to enrich my soul experience. And to be honest, that was the best choice of my trip to Chiang Mai.
Coming back to my question above. Usually, what I do when I have only one day to visit a new city, is to go in the city center, have a quick look, spot the most important places other people have apreciated and walking there using a map. On my way there, I always choose to take local rutes to see how the local people are living and what are their preocupations during the day. And before reaching the famous place apreciated by the tourists, I always enter two or three “normal” temples or curches, where the locals are going to pray, and have lunch where local people are eating. This is the fastest way for me to undestand the local culture, and this time I followed my routine and this is how the day looked like.
Once out from the hotel, I jumped into a local bus to reach the city center where I had breakfast in the Sailomjoy local restaurant. The people were smily and kind, and while I was eating, behind me was this altar where they lighted incenses and put some offrands. So, I felt somehow blessed as my day started a bit rough that morning.
With a smile on my face, I started my journey towards the temples. Chiang Mai is full of temples, so it is impossible to have a hard time finding things to see there. The first one, was poping up after less than 200 meters, Phan-Ohn Temple, a Buddhist temple full of messages written on small pieces of wood, hanged on the trees.
The next one found on the way to the highest temple of the city was Wat Phan Tao, made of wood.
After having a look inside, and seeing how a pagoda is built, I went directly to Wat Chedi Luang, built between 14 and 15 century, being at that time the highest temple in the region: 82 m hight and 54 m diameter on its fundation.
My way led me to the next objective of the day Wat Phra Singh temple. The main structure started to be built in 1345, and the temple itself buries the ashes of the Mangrai dinasty.
The last one was Wat Suan Dok meaning “flower garden temple”. The building of this temple started in 1370 and today is accomodating also the Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University.
This temple had a nice gift for me. While I was walking around taking pictures and analizing the architecture, I steped on a jad bracelet with an elephant in the middle. I took it from there and I was surprised to see the jad little stones and the elephant. The entire day I was “chasing” emerald Buddha statues and elephants as I am fascinated by this green color. And at the end of the day I found this bracelet. I cannot wear as my skin doesn’t tolerate any metal, but for 3 days I had it on my arm, till my skin started to scream.
I ended the day having dinner in a local restaurant with a great Phad Thai, a pancake directly on the street while I was waiting to jump into the bus heading to the airport.
Morale of the day: there is no “short time” or “too late” if you really want to enrich your life experience. You just have to take the first step and the others will follow naturally.
To be continued…