Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Chaing Mai, Thailand
In the northwest of Thailand far away from the postcard picture beaches is Chaing Mai. The city is huge, bustling, packed densely with scooters and has a large ex-pat community of westerners. We left downtown via scooter, dodging and weaving traffic for the 15km ride up the side of a mountain to the 14th century temple, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.
Riding to the temple is a blast, and I can’t stress renting scooters enough. Do not take a tuk tuk or cab. At the base of the temple are a plethora of small shop and vendors selling everything from food to clothing and scarves.
What follows next isn’t fun, but well worth it. Climb 309 stairs (or take a tram if you’re lazy) and lay your eyes on one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand. It’s also one of the most popular and heavily packed with tourists, so be patient.
Given the number of people flowing through the temple, I remember being in awe of how quiet it was there. This is a place to really reflect, even if you’re not religious.
Matt found himself the subject of some photos by Japanese tourists, who were impressed with his tattoos; Kimberly signed our names to a prayer flag that was to be wrapped around a monument later in the month.
The very last photo is also one of my favorite from the trip. While seemingly out of place with this collection of images, it was the massage parlor across the street from where we at dinner in the city of Chaing Mai after spending the afternoon at Doi Suthep. Everyone, dogs included, are real laid back in Thailand.