We are a couple of days behind getting this out but our days have been full of fun site seeing and the hassle of getting this all set up and connected to the internet has moved it down the priority list. Better late than never!
It’s Friday and our first day that we’ve had a relaxing morning; we slept in, enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at our lovely boutique hotel, and scoped out the highlights of our last day in Chiang Mai before heading to the islands. We are touring the moated old city and visiting the important temples. We have really enjoyed this city and both agree we could have spent another couple of days beyond the site seeing to explore. We planned a late evening flight to Phuket so we took advantage of the time and didn’t loose too much to traveling.
The city has temples and scarttered throughout, more than you can count. Once we were out and about we wandered into our first temple grounds, well followed a monk in. Thinking it was a different, noted, temple we walked around and it felt so odd that we were the only ones there. The age of these places is really amazing, hundreds and hundreds of years old and still standing tall, just built around. Once we realized where we were we got back on track we made our way to the Three Kings Statue. The square was all set up for a Christmas party complete with an “ice” skating rink, huge snowmen made out of CDs, and christmas trees constructed out of plastic bottles – that’s one way to recycle.
We made it to the oldest temple in Chiang Mai, Wat Chiangmun, built by King Mangrai upon founding the city in 1296. Next we walked to the main civic temple, Wat Prasingh, that sits on a huge campus with several living quarters and a school for the blind. While there, we were approached by a man that gave us a little insight to the statue at the front and that people present inscence as a sign of respect before entering the temple. While talking to him we were a bit weirded out, he asked us where we were from and when we said the United States the only three things he said about the US was “oh, you from Denver? You know Lockheed Martin? and do you ski?” We were so surprised we could hardly respond. Then true to our western skeptical ways wondered how the hell he knew that. He brought his family from Bangkok to visit the temples after the flooding and get some new suits made since several of his were lost. He gave Chad a tip on a good tailor and we were disappointed we didn’t have enough time to have some tailoring done. He also said we must visit one additional temple that wasn’t on our list, the detail is quite amazing and needs to be seen. So we headed off, out of the moated city and off the beaten path. The tourist map we had was not very good and we were turned around several times throughout the day. We twisted and turned and finally walked through a school and stumbled upon Wat Srisupan, a beautiful silver and incredibly detailed temple. Women are not allowed to enter this temple as their entry could cause demise to the temple and to the woman. To round out the day we found our way to Wat Jediluang, home of the City Pillar and large Buddhist university. Here we were just in time for the evening chant with the students from the university.
As the sun set we wandered through a market as they were setting up and grabbed a snack before going back to the hotel for our ride to the airport. The food has been amazing so far but I still haven’t had my chicken on a stick yet.
We had a fairly uneventful flight to Phuket. It was delayed so it turned into another really long day and we exhausted when we finally arrived at our guesthouse. The Loveli Boutique Guesthouse was not that loveli and didn’t come close to Rimping Village in Chiang Mai, good thing it was just for a short overnight before heading south. Phuket was still going strong well after midnight but raging has not been our pace and decided we didn’t need that kind of experience.