On my first full day in Chiang Mai I decided to go visit some of the temples in town. Some are in walking distance to my hotel but others are a bit further.
The key is to hire a songthaew or red pickup truck for the day to take you around or to catch it like a taxi around town. I didn’t have the confidence yet to negotiate a rate so I decided to go with a grab car instead (south east asia version of uber/lyft).
Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham
My first stop is the Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham temple, a buddhist temple known for its monks and tunnels.
The temple is fun to walk around inside with all its little alcoves. Also on the grounds you can find signs with inspirational phrases. Finally on the grounds is a meditation pond with lots of birds. You can hear so many birds in the trees (waiting to poop on you, lol).
I didn’t arrange for a ride back therefore I had no way to get back into town. The red trucks in the parking lot are already paid to wait for existing visitors and I couldn’t get a grab to come out to get me as far as I am. I decided to just try to walk back to the main tourist area. It is a hot 45 minute to 1 hour walk but what choice did I have? I wandered through some neighborhoods and got to see a bit of local life. Maps.me and google maps seemed to be a bit loopy so I am sure I am not given a direct route.
I walk by a few temples viewed from the outside.
Soon there is a college campus in my way. I can’t find a good way to cut through. When I finally do find a cut through I end up walking through a learning mortuary. I keep hoping I won’t be presented with dead bodies during this stretch.
Finally I make it to the tourist area. The first temple I end up visiting is Wat Chedi Luang (Elephant Temple).
Wat Chedi Luang (Elephant Temple)
Wat Chedi Luang is fun due to all the elephants on the sides of the old temple.
All the temples require conservative dress. Additionally some you not able to visit if you are on your period (women) and for some women are not allowed at all (men only temples). I want to be respectful of culture norms but I would be lying if I said this didn’t upset me just a little bit.
Wat Phra Singh (Gold Temple)
Lastly for the day is a visit to the gold temple Wat Phra Singh, another buddhist temple.
Hot and tired I walk back toward my hotel. I have a craving for the fried chicken next door to my hotel so I order myself the best frozen mango drink and plate of fried chicken and I don’t regret it one bit. It is off to bed early because tomorrow is my day at the Elephant Sanctuary.