Three Things Thursday

I’m slap bang in the middle of intensive Delta hell, but also slap-bang in the middle of north Thailand heaven. With time being very much money if I don’t complete all my coursework and pass this course, this month I bring you a minimalist three…

…Wats you can visit in Chiang Mai.

I deliberately gave myself a two week grace period before the course started to find my feet in Chiang Mai, my place of abode until the end of the course and the dreaded Module One Exam. It’s a good job that I did, because I haven’t been anywhere other than my house and the school for the last four and a half weeks, and my eyes are turning square from staring at my computer screen.

Happily, I was able to see a few of the sights in that initial period, and here are the main things I saw.

Thing 1 ~ Wat Prathap Doi Suthep

On a prominent shoulder of the mountain that sits to the west of the city (and means I can always tell which direction I’m travelling in if I get lost) sits the Wat with surely the best vantage point a Wat can have. From the terrace around the main temple, there’s a fantastic view which extends across the whole of the city and out over the lush greenery for miles beyond. It is a hive of tourist activity, but still very much a working temple, with monks conversing with visitors both local and international. The regular worshippers seemed undisturbed by the day trippers.

It’s an 11km ride out from the old town (commonly referred to as ‘the Square’ due to its extremely regular shape, delineated by a calming moat) and up a hill which becomes steeper the closer you get to the Wat. The motor of our little rental scooter pootled down to a point where I was concerned it may conk out altogether, but it held in there. I was very impressed by the ranks of cyclists we passed valiantly making their way up. Apparently over 1000 cyclists are going to make the trip on December 6th for the King’s birthday.

Thing 2 ~ Wat Chediliem

This ivory pyramid tantalised me by night from across the river. Exquisitely lit, it was an handy beacon close to my new lodgings. I then discovered it hosts an afternoon market on Fridays, so I had to go over and check it out. It’s beautiful during the day, but spectacular by night.

Inside Wat Chediliem

Inside Wat Chediliem

Thing 3 ~ Wiang Kum Kam

The ancient seat of the Lan Na kingdom dating back to 1286 (Wikipedia) includes Wat Chediliem (above), the only working temple, as a part of a complex of up to twenty ruins of Wats from centuries past. Sitting next to the Ping river, the site was abandoned as the capital shortly after it was built due to flooding. The capital moved 3 kilometres north west and across the river to the perfect square which is today’s Chiang Mai city centre. However, Wiang Kum Kam flourished as a town until the 16th century.

Wat ThatKhao

Wat ThatKhao

Centuries of conflict, presumably some more flooding, and political manoeuvering left the old capital gently falling into ruin, until people moved back to the area in the 20th century. It wasn’t until 1984 that remnants of this venerable city were discovered and restoration began (Wikipedia).

In saffron and sun

In saffron and sun

Wat Pupia

Wat Pupia, Wiang Kum Kam

Wat favourite historical sites have you visited recently?

File:Map-of-southeast-asia 1300 CE.png

Map of Southeast Asia 1300 CE

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dad
    Nov 06, 2015 @ 19:52:01

    Fantastic pictures

    Like

    Reply

    • Pieces of 8
      Nov 07, 2015 @ 13:32:26

      Thank you! If you zoom in to the one inside the temple there is a gorgeous jade Buddha just to the left and in front of the big golden Buddha.
      There’s so much to see here! Thailand is a treat for the eyes.

      Like

      Reply

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