What a day!! After breakfast we called Rachata to drive us to a couple sights outside the city. The roads were full of cars, mopeds, tuktuks, bicycles, pedestrians and dogs, and were narrow and windy up in the foothills outside Chiang Mai, and I was very glad it was Rachata driving and not me.
First we went to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a sacred temple established in 1383. The location was chosen by placing a Buddha relic on the back of a white elephant, which wandered the mountain until it died at the ‘chosen’ spot. To reach the temple one must climb 306 steps, intended as an act of meditation. Once within the monastery compound we saw beautiful, ornate Buddhas, a glorious golden chedi that enshrines the relic, and a golden umbrella honoring the city’s independence from Burma. Shannon and I participated in the line of people who walked around the chedi in quiet mediation, then the three of us took in views of the city from high above.
Next we went to the Phra Tamnak Bhu Bhing, the royal family’s winter palace. It had been raining all day and did not let up here, and as we walks the grounds the clouds became a must all around us. The weren’t many other visitors, and my favorite point was being alone at the reservoir gifted to a queen for her 72nd birthday, which was surrounded by intricate landscaping, had dancing fountains within, had soft music playing, and was overall quite magical. Then Bradford fell in front of the tallest bamboo we’ve ever seen and we went on our way.
Back in the city I had my suits altered, we ate at Lemongrass (recommended by our hotel friend and owned by the guy who owns Lemongrass in Fairbanks! Small world), and then, the festivals!! So very fantastic, but that will have to wait. Off to care for elephants. Thanks for reading!