When I think of Thailand, I used to only imagine Bangkok, or Phuket, or Krabi Island. It never occurred to me to visit Chiang Mai all the way up in the north. It’s hours away from the beach, but definitely a center for culture and history. The people are so warm and friendly (shout out to Boom, who toured us around!) and the food was just 👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻. This city instantly made me understand why Thailand is the tourist capital of the world. There is so much uniqueness and culture everywhere you look.
Heading to Chiang Mai was a tough one, or so I thought. We had to catch 3 flights to reach our destination. Cebu-HongKong; Hongkong-Bangkok; Bangkok-ChiangMai. But it turned out to be quite pleasant because…
Cathay Pacific turned our business class tickets into first class ones! That just made me wish the flight was longer!
Our first agenda was to visit the Organic Farmers Market. It’s not just your typical market either. In the photo above, you’ll see the guy selling coffee aka “The Freedom Drink” with a sign that says Pay as you Like. You get to set the price of your own drink! I’m also having a super fun moment (with the crowd looking at me) because I bought a fruit shake and had to ride the bike to get the blender to work. So cool! The drink wasn’t bad either.
I took home a bunch of things including the famous Thai Sticky Rice, and some yummy Thai Tea.
We then had lunch at The Ginger House. They serve super delish Thai fusion food, and I highly recommend getting the Thai Iced Tea as well. 👌🏻👍🏼
We then drove up the mountain to visit the MUST SEE temple: Doi Suthep. Right outside, you’ll find a row of stalls selling trinkets and souvenirs. I know they were probably over priced, but I couldn’t resist buying a few hand woven sling bags for my nieces. They also sell clothes and scarves, just in case you need to go inside the temple, but you’re not so appropriately dressed.
We were taught a lot about the history of the temple. Legend has it that a monk named Sumanathera from the Sukhothai Kingdom had a dream. “In this vision he was told to go to Pang Cha and look for a relic. Sumanathera ventured to Pang Cha and found a bone. Many claim it was Gautama Buddha‘s shoulder bone. The relic displayed magical powers: it glowed, it was able to vanish, it could move and replicate itself. Sumanathera took the relic to King Dhammaraja, who ruled Sukhothai. The eager Dhammaraja made offerings and hosted a ceremony when Sumanathera arrived… In 1368, Sumanathera took the relic to what is now Lamphun, in northern Thailand. Once there, the relic broke into two pieces. The smaller piece was enshrined at a temple in Suandok. The other piece was placed by the king on the back of a white elephant which was released into the jungle. The elephant is said to have climbed up Doi Suthep, at that time called Doi Aoy Chang (Sugar Elephant Mountain), stopped, trumpeted three times, then dropped dead. This was interpreted as an omen. King Nu Naone immediately ordered the construction of a temple at the site.”
Slater and I took off our shoes (as a sign of respect) and observed the people praying at the temple. It was such a cool experience to see everyone so dedicated to the buddha and his teachings. Of all the temples in Chiang Mai, this is the one you definitely need to make time for.
More about Chiang Mai real soon!