Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep –
To get to this temple, you must drive up a winding mountain road. The location is so peaceful- you are literally in a cloud!
The legend says that the King put a Buddha relic on a white elephant’s back. The elephant went to this spot on the mountain and died. This was interpreted as a sign to build the temple there.
Temples of Chiang Mai
Visiting temples is pretty much what you do here in Chiang Mai! Two of the first and most interesting I saw were Wat Umong and Wat Chedi Luang.
Wat Chedi Luang - Right in the middle of Chiang Mai is the temple and even more impressive, the chedi. A Chedi, also known as a stupa, is often used in Buddhism to hold ashes and Buddha relics. Chedi Luang was built to hold the ashes of the 14th century king of Thailand.
Wat Umong - Surrounded by acres of woods, this 700 year old temple is comprised of tunnels to explore.
The Grand Palace
Inside its walls, there is not actually one palace, but many buildings, courtyards, gardens and structures. Additions from kings over the past 200 years make it a pleasure to explore the different styles and the intricate, colorful, and beautiful details the palace is known for.
Also inside the palace walls is the Queen’s textile museum. My favorite was the gold embroidered jumpsuit by Pierre Balmain and the hallway draped with colorful panels and hanging flowers.
This was the view from the window in the OEG office where I had orientation yesterday. Amazing.
And the orientation was amazing! I feel better with a few contacts to help me and some lessons in Thai language, culture, home life, and travel in the country. I’ll be making some exciting trips around Thailand this month! :)
Temple of the Reclining Buddha -
Origin of traditional Thai massage and home of a 160 ft long golden Buddha.
It was fascinating to walk around the Wat and see all the beautiful details of its architecture.
After a day of sightseeing, I’ve learned many Bangkok natives on the street want to help you see their city… but they want your help (and money) too. When they see tourists, they constantly offer advice when really, they are trying to pick you up in their tuk-tuk.
I’ve learned you have to a do a lot of bargaining every day in Bangkok. And telling people to go away, politely of course.
The tuk-tuk driver I had did take me to a “Thai factory,” but also to this beautiful Wat, mainly used for locals and monks.
So that is my rant about tourist traps and transportation in Bangkok.
I’ve arrived! Bangkok is a little overwhelming for a solo traveler, but it feels great to finally be here at the place I’ve been wanting to see for years!!
I spent my first jet-lagged day at the Chatuchak Weekend Market. They have everything there: food, clothes, flowers, antiques, arts & crafts- even dogs, cats and other pets.
I really liked one stall- it was full of treasures from Afghanistan such as textiles and jewelry. The Thai ladies running it were so sweet!
After the market, I was in bed by 5pm. I’m going to be getting used to this 12 hour time difference!