A Temple Tour of Chiang Mai

We left Ko Samui on July 31 from its adorable, superbly landscaped, hut-based airport. It’s really very charming. We flew through Bangkok to Chiang Mai, where we rode in the back of a pickup truck, also known as a songthaew here, to our hotel — Your House Guest House — where we got a nice, big room with a big bathroom, air conditioning and a balcony for about $21. The only drawback is that we’re right next to 2 bars, which play competing loud music until 1 or 2 a.m.

Our first order of business was getting lunch, and we went over to Aum vegetarian restaurant and used book shop for our best meal in Thailand so far — eggplant, mushroom and tofu stir fry, and khao Soi, a peanutty noodle dish that’s a northern Thai specialty. Yum!

A temple in Chiang Mai

Then, we wandered to the river, where we were hoping to catch a boat. The boat was broken, though, so we turned back and explored some of the temples that were on our way. They all had elaborate dragon banisters, lots of gold Buddhas and plenty of colorful and shiny decor.

Temple ruins, Chiang Mai

We continued our temple tour the next day, with some of the larger temples in the city center — an area surrounded by a square moat and some old and crumbling defensive walls. Once again, there were lots of big Buddhas, dragon ornaments and red and and gold decor. We even got to see some young monks chanting in the main temple, then go on a procession around the buildings carrying flowers.

Royal relic tombs, Chiang Mai

We also visited a temple out of the city center that had a royal graveyard (or at least tombs for royal relics), which consisted of a lawn full of white structures that looked like a play palace complex.

Since it looked like it’d start raining (and it did soon after), we headed to the mall to go see The Dark Night, which we’d been meaning to see for a while. The tickets? 180 Baht for the 2 of us (about $5). Thankfully, there was no intermission, though we did have to stand for the national anthem before the movie started.

It was still pouring when we got out of the movies, so we hired a tuk tuk, a three-wheeled motor cab, to take us to the night bazaar. We shopped, ate and marveled at the expansiveness of the nighttime-only stores that sell everything from toys to clothes to dried fruits and more.

While walking home, though we got the surprise of the day — we saw a baby elephant and some people (its owner?) just hanging around outside of a convenience store. We didn’t go over to gawk or ask to touch it.

See more Thailand photos in Evan’s Facebook album.

2 Responses to “A Temple Tour of Chiang Mai”

  1. Bravo, Francine! I love Chiang Mai, too. I would love to take a long holiday there. I am truly sorry to hear about your experience at the Your House Guest House. Coincidentially, I work for the travel industry. I am a frugal person; however, I am also a very resourceful person. I am very fortunate to be affiliated with a travel network, which afford me with the opportunity to avoid questionable hotels and lodging establishments. Regarding my taking a temple (wat) tour in “the Rose of the North.” I love Chiang Mai, the Thai culture, and the Thai people.

    Take care, Francine. Thank you very much for sharing. You are very kind.

  2. Francine says:

    Hi Ian, I know our experience at Your House wasn’t ideal because of the noise, but for two young travelers, it was a concession we didn’t mind making. We would certainly recommend the place and even stay there again because of the very kind and helpful staff, and nicely appointed, clean rooms that fell into a very fair range of prices. The staff did warn us about the noise before we took the room, as well, so it didn’t come as any surprise. Thankfully, it would stop by 1 or 2 am and be nice and peaceful the rest of the night, which is more than we can say for some places we stayed on busy streets where the noise never ceased and we weren’t warned ahead of time.

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