Only 24-hours in Chiang Mai Guide
1 hide detailAn important Temple perched at the top of Doi Suthep
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- Tambon Suthep
- Amper Muang
One of Chiang Mai's most popular tourist destinations is Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep - a Buddhist temple located at the top of Doi Suthep, the 1676 meter mountain that towers grandly above Chiang Mai. Wat Phrathat is locally referred to simply as Doi Suthep, the name of the actual mountain itself. Located 15km up a windy road to the apex of Doi Suthep, Wat Phrathat greets you with an impressively steep and fierce-looking dragon staircase (16th-century Naga)that is definitely not for the weak of heart - there are about 300 steps. Wat Phrathat is a sacred site to many Thai people and should be respected as such, try and wear appropriate clothing (no singlets, flip flops and shorts). It features a beautiful golden Chedi (pagoda) and golden umbrella on the site where legend suggests a white elephant delivered a magical bone of the Buddha himself (see below). On a clear day Wat Phrathat offers wonderful views over Chiang Mai and the religious significance of the site can be felt through the reverential behavior of those pilgrims who visit it daily. For those travelers who can't tackle the dragon staircase, don't worry there is a funicular railway. But if you can resist the urge to take it, tackle the stairs, you will enjoy a sense of relief and achievement when you reach the top. Once inside, you can purchase a bunch of flowers, joss sticks and candles for 20 baht and prey for some good luck. The idea here is that you hold the offerings you have purchased while walking in a clockwise direction around the golden pagoda three times. Once completed, head for a praying area of your choosing, light up the joss sticks and candles and offer the bouquet to Buddha in return for blessings. If you are in desperately in need of some good luck, you can also ring some bronze bells around the side of the temple or be personally blessed by a monk inside a small room to the side of the Chedi.
The Legend of the White Elephant
According to legend, a monk named Sumanathera from Sukhothai had a dream in which Buddha told him to go to Pang Cha and look for a relic. Once there, he discovered a bone, which displayed magical powers - it vanished, reappeared, glowed and could move itself and reproduce itself. Many believed it was the shoulder bone of Buddha himself. Evidently, the relic apparently split in two with the smaller piece enshrined at a temple in Suandok. The other piece was placed by King Nu Naone (of the Lanna Kingdom) on the back of a white elephant, which was then released into the jungle. The elephant is said to have climbed Doi Suthep, trumpeted three times before dying on the spot. It was interpreted as a sign and King Nu Naone ordered the construction of a temple at the site.
Best to go early in the morning. Be sure to read my post about exploring Chiang Mai under$5 with a visit to Doi Suthep here http://su.pr/31DLIl
2 hide detailA non-profit cafe that supports the Thai Freedom House; 100%!
Thai Freedom House's mission is to provide opportunities for displaced peoples that have slipped through the cracks of society; living almost invisibly around us.
They are Refugees from war torn countries, Indigenous People who have been denied basic human rights and those who are impoverished and crushed by their societies' demands.
We educate, train, nurture and inspire them to make the most of their circumstances in life by showing them how to locate and use the resources available to them, within themselves and their communities.Taken from Thaifreedomhouse.org
3 hide detailJust What You Were Looking For
Tucked around behind the Monk Chat building at Wat Suan Dok, Pun Pun offers a variety of Thai and Western dishes from the Pun Pun Organic Farm outside Chiang Mai city. The menu is 100% vegetarian, but don't let that deter any meat eaters. Pun Pun's excellent food often puts a unique spin on traditional Thai dishes. The restaurant itself consists of umbrella shaded tables around a large tree in the center of a patio. The menu somewhat accurately labels Pun Pun as "slow food" so come in before or after major meal times to avoid this joke becoming too true to be funny anymore. Foreigners coming from or on their way to meditation retreats are frequent customers here so ask around if interested. -Scott Johnson
You could also try out Monk Chat at Wat Suan Dok and organic lunch/dinner at Pun Pun if you fancy INSTEAD of FreeBird. But both are great!