Monday, February 29, 2016


This morning we set out to explore a few of Chiang Mai's Buddhist temples. The two temples that we visited are the two that are said to house the two relics of the Buddha. The first, Wat Suan Dok, was my favorite. With its perfectly white washed mausoleums housing the ashes of Chiang Mai's royal family and the breathtaking golden chedi, this temple stole my heart.

As Kadison and I wandered its grounds and throughout the ubosot, we felt dwarfed by the enormous statues of Buddha. We quietly admired the intricate details as monks meditated nearby and tip-toed back out into the garden to rejoin our group, humbled by Wat Suan Dok's beauty.

We cruised around the gorgeous Chiang Mai University campus before heading up the mountain to the second temple we were to visit, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. This temple is the most famous temple in Chiang Mai named after the mountain on which it was built. According to legend, the second relic of Buddha was placed on the back of a white elephant and was released into the jungle. The elephant climbed Doi Suthep, stopped, trumpeted three times and then dropped dead. This was considered an omen and the temple was built at this site.

We climbed the 306 step staircase to the temple and waited for the rest of our group (who opted to take the cable car to the top.) This temple, though beautiful, was crawling with tourists. We saw a million different Buddha statues, had our fortunes told, and visited a jade factory and showroom before we headed back to the hostel for our usual lunch of Pad Thai and a cheeseburger and fries.

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