My Inner Peace

Visiting Chiang Mai in one day

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.

Chiang Rai, Bus station Terminal 1, Thailand, 2019

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.

Chiang Mai City Pillar, Thailand, 2019

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.

Chiang Mai local bus, Thailand, 2019
Sailomjoy Restaurant, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Sailomjoy Restaurant, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

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.

Wat Phan-Ohn, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phan-Ohn, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phan-Ohn, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phan-Ohn, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

The next one found on the way to the highest temple of the city was Wat Phan Tao, made of wood.

Wat Phan Tao, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phan Tao, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phan Tao, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phan Tao, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phan Tao, Pagoda schelethon, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

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.

Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

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.

Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2919
Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

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.

Wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

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.

Wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

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.

Local restaurant in Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Delicios pancake on the streets of Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

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.

Wat Phan-Ohn, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

To be continued…

White Temple and Blue Temple, Two Wonders of the Modern World

Coming to Thailand and not visiting some cities from the northern part of the country to better understand the culture, it’s like missing an internal organ from the body. That’s why, I booked the flights for Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and the bus to reach Chiang Rai.

Chiang Rai it’s famous now for Wat Rong Khun, known as “The White Temple”, a big modern white structure built by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a faimous Thai visual artist. The actual version of the temple was built on the old fundation of Wat Rong Khun and it’s not finished yet, the due date being settled for 2027. The artist choice for white color, was to reflect the purity of the Buddha, and for glass, to reflect the Buddha’s wisdom and teachings.

Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple (back side), Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

The structure itself it’s a modern representation of the current temptations of the world represented by sculptures and paintings of Superheroes like Batman, Hell Boy, Iron Man, etc., and the salvation that mankind can find taking the Buddha’s path towards the Buddhism teachings. But beyond the modern art promoted by Chalermchai Kositpipat, the temple it’s a place for Buddhism teachings and meditation, open to anyone willing to follow this path.

Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple (temptations), Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Khun – White Temple (museum building), Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple (museum building), Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

The next temple I had to see, was Wat Rong Suea Ten, known as The Blue Temple. This one is less famous because the main structure was completed in 2016. However, the energy one can feel inside, is really special. Similar to the White Temple, The Blue Temple was built on the ruin of an abandoned temple, and it’s not finished yet , except for the main building and the Pagoda behind it.

Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple (front side), Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple (back side), Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019

The temple is dominated by the huge white Buddha statue representing his purity, and highlighted by the blue color used for both the interior and the exterior of the temple. Inside, the contrast between white and blue gives you a surrealistic image. It’s like the peace of the entire universe takes shape in the Buddha’s statues and becomes part of you. It’s like you finally found a materialization of your inner being and have an unique chance to look in its eyes.

Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019

The feelings I had in this temple are unique and difficult to be explained. One must see it and experience it in her / his own body and consciousnesses to be able to understand what I am trying to say. So, if I would have the chance to go back to Chiang Rai, I would definitely spend some days in this temple.

Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019

Both temples are amazing and I recommend to anyone going to Thailand to jump in a car from Chiang Mai, travel for 7 hours to Chiang Rai and back, and see both structures. The difference between them is that The White Temple looks more touristic and the visitors are so many, while The Blue Temple is more like a home for your Soul.

Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019

Morale of the day: sometimes worth to do an effort like traveling for 7 hours with the bus, then jump in a local bus just to experience something you don’t see in your daily life, and you might not have a second chance to go there in this life.

Chiang Rai public transportation to White Temple, Thailand, 2019

To be continued…

Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019