30 Jul 2014

Monks and Buddahs at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Being in Chiang Mai, we decided to do something uber cultural and headed to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (I know its a real mouthful!), a beautiful temple in the heights of Chiang Mai.

The journey to the top was an adventure to say the least and i probably wouldn't recommend to those who don't like being in cars/trucks (especially without travel sickness pills!), but the views en route were incredible and made it totally worthwhile.

As we drove up the winding roads, every now and again we would pass a moped, with some having up to three passengers on. We even passed several cyclists crawling up the mountain, we predicted a good few hours before they made it to the top and saluted them for their incredible motivation (rather them than me)!

On our way up we regularly got a glimpse of the view over Chiang Mai.

When we finally got to the top, a few people looking a little grey in the face, we were ushered by our driver out of the truck and headed to a hefty flight of stairs!

 309 steps on the Naga staircase await you before you reach the temple itself.

We managed to break it up with some photo taking.......with monks!!

It escilated rather quickly!! We had be warned that you should never speak to the monks or step in the way of their path, so as you can imagine we were very excited when they asked to have a picture with us!

And we got a little excited.....

Anyway....as we were 'foreigners', we purchased our tickets and began to wander around the perimeters of the mountain top temple.

Overlooking the city from its mountain throne, Wat Suthep is one of the north's most sacred temples and as you can imagine the views are just incredible. The photos don't quite do it justice!

To seek blessing, people make offerings with flowers and candles, which can be purchased on your arrival at the temple. You then walk three clockwise circles around the Chedi bare foot while saying a prayer and making a wish.  

Once you have made your wish you then place a burning candle to cement your prayer.

We met a man who had previously come to make a wish that had come true and had come back to show his thanks.

The decor around the temple was so beautiful and full of golds and rich colours.

We passed several temples during our time in Chiang Mai, but Doi Suthep was without a doubt the most impressive and incredible temple, not only decor wise but also because of the calm atmosphere.

Considering it is one of the greatest tourist attractions in Chiang Mai, it didn't give off that feeling at all, as we had locals approaching us to inform us on the traditions of the candles and flowers.

After making our way back down the 309 steps, we had a quick meander around the market before hopping back in the Red Sangthaew to head back to the city. 

TripAdvisor ranks Doi Suthep as #3 on their list of top things to do in Chiang Mai and I can't say they are wrong!