Along with a bunch of other worldschooling families, we had rented two songthaews for the day, and went up to one of the most famous temples in Chiang Mai, the Doi Suthep. As you can see from the picture, we weren’t alone! Infact, it was extremely crowded, which was the only downside to the visit, but this was to be expected of course, when you venture off to one of the most famous tourist attractions in the area 😉
Actually, the temple grounds are quite big, and to be fair it was only really the front part, where the entrance to the temple is that was overpopulated. As soon as you got out from the temple and started walking around the rest of the premises, it wasn’t that bad. When you first arrive, there’s a flight of stairs to walk up. It’s fairly long, but totally doable. We forgot to count, but I think I heard someone mention something about 306 steps! As it appears you can take a cable car too, but honestly not worth it if you ask me. Plus the stairs are fun, with the bannisters being one long dragon’s tail to each side. There’s a load of small shops along the first part of the stairs, selling everything from grilled maize to small replicas of temple bells. Once up, as a foreigner you have to buy your entrance ticket (30THB) after what you enter the temple grounds, where you take off your shoes.
The temple itself is covered in gold, literally. Is it all real, well, that’s another story, but the place is a cornucopia of golden things. There is so much your eyes almost hurt from looking at it in the glittering sun! We took the time to sit down in one of the statue rooms and just breathe in the beauty and majestic feeling of it all. An occasion for each of us to quietly reflect upon what we might be thankful for in our lives right now, which is always a good exercise 🙂
We learnt that there is a special position for Buddha for each day of the week, which you will see represented in different statues. The well known lotus-position is associated with Thursday.
The backside of the temple grounds is stunningly beautiful, with lots of trees and flowers, and of course, the famous viewpoint over Chiang Mai. From Doi Suthep (which is really the name of the entire mountain the temple is built on) you have a fabulous view over the city, though the quality of the sight apparently depends greatly on both weather conditions and how much smog you will have on any given day. I think we were fairly lucky today.
We might come back another time, and try to catch the sunset, which has to be amazing from here!!