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The Road Less Traveled

1 November: Temples... Feel the Spirits of the Past

THAILAND | Wednesday, 1 November 2017 | Views [405]

Chedi Luang

Chedi Luang

Today was our first full day in Chiang Mai.  We started our day by eating some breakfast at Sailomjoy Restaurant – yes, I ate Khao Soi again today. It was delicious yet again.

After breakfast, it was temple time. Starting off on foot, we were walking the “Old City” of Chiang Mai exploring the many temples here (without seeing them all yet). Of all the places I have been in Thailand, Chiang Mai has more Thai temples per square kilometer than any other town or city – Bangkok included. The Lanna Kingdom – or “Kingdom of a thousand rice fields,” was big on temples back in the day. There are literally temples right next door to or across the street from another temple. And the temples here have such history. Many of them date back to when the Lanna Kingdom here in the north of Thailand was in its glory days. If you’re keeping score at home kids, that’s in the neighborhood of 500-700 years ago. The life of that kingdom was even greater – from 1292 until about the time Paul Revere was on horseback warning that “The British are coming,” in 1775.  Perspective.

I won’t go into every temple we saw today – there were 7 of them, I believe. They were all so different. The photo I chose to go with this journal post is of the ruins at Wat Chedi Luang. I love old temple ruins. You can feel spirits of the past and imagine what the local people thought back in the day as they stood in front of what must have been some of the most majestic structures. Incredible.

We had a driver part of the day that took us to a couple of temples outside of the old city that we would not have thought to go to.  These were two sights to be seen.  Wat Suan Dok was built by the King of the Lanna Kingdom around 1373 AD and houses a piece of the remains of the original Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. The remains of the King, Queen, and numerous other royals are interred on the grounds here all in their own monumental chedis. A beautiful open-air (on four sides) temple also adorns the grounds.

After our temple tours, we had a simple dinner at a local favorite up the road from the hotel just a bit. We have been planning our next few days which includes tours to hill tribes as well as a trip to Chiang Rai and the “White Temple” to the north of us near the Burmese border.  But before that, we have an adventure tomorrow…. Elephants!! 

Look into an elephant’s eyes and you are looking through a window into its soul. They are such beautiful and majestic beings. I always cherish the opportunity to get up close and get to know them. Maybe we will see the one from last year – her name was Lumyai. I’ll know her when I see her. I’ll bet she’ll remember me and the wife too…. They never forget!

I hope you enjoyed today’s journal. Cheers.

Tags: chedi luang, chiang mai, temples, thailand

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