Chiang Mai: The first of many temples

By Cubie - December 02, 2012

I woke up to a good weather day in my first morning in Chiang Mai. I was rather worry that it would rain through the whole 4 days I was there given the unfortunate event in Hamilton Island. I was glad that it was an unfounded worry. The weather was great, despite a little too scorching hot.
I helped myself to the complimentary toast and a cup of coffee for breakkie. I was later joined by a German traveller who "communicated" to me in sign language in locating the toaster, as well as the spreader knife which was either non existence, or neither of us could find it. He was going on a hike tour that day, while I had a temple visiting day planned.
There are a lot of temples in Chiang Mai. So many of them that you'll arrive to one even if you don't plan to. In fact, you will arrived at one at every street you turn into. However, the one temple that most people go to is Doi Suthep.
Wat Phra That / Doi Suthep, วัดพระธาตุดอยสุเทพ
Truth to be told, I am not thrill about haggling for transportation.. cos I am terrible at it. I usually try to find out the approximate price, just so I know I'm not being fleeced or asking for too low a price. I don't remember where I saw but if I just made up the figure but there were some who commented it was 30 THB one way and you'll need to find other means of transport for your way done. There was also comment that they paid 200 THB including waiting time of an hour. Those were about a couple of years back as well.
Anyway, I paid 100 THB for a return trip to Doi Suthep via a songthaew. The fare included a 90 minutes waiting time for us to walk around. There were six of us in the songthaew. I am pretty sure the rest of the passengers who spoke in Thai was charged lesser, as the driver seem to give them some change, though I can't say for sure how much they paid the driver.
It was probably not the smartest thing to do but I handed over 100 THB for a return trip, despite there was no way I could confirmed that the songthaew will still be there for the second leg. A Caucasian couple got on the songthaew but refused to pay the 100 THB, insisting that they would only pay the remaining 50 THB on the way back but was scolded by the driver, ended up with the driver asking them to get off the songthaew. On hindsight, it was a smart move by them of not paying the return fare just yet. There wasn't much I could do as I had already parted with the 100 THB, and I guessed I was betting on a little more faith. ;)
I read that one could get a songthaew to Doi Suthep from the small market area at the corner of Manneenopparat and Chotana Roads, just outside the Changpuak Gate (outside main gate of CM Uni to Doi Suthep). I tried to flag down a couple of songthaew as I walked towards Changpuak Gate from hostel. Those songthaew quote me a price of 500THB, to which I have politely declined and they went on their way. This songthaew which I took was parked in front of the market area, as said above.

View from songthaew
Doi Suthep is the said must see temple in Chiang Mai. In actual, the temple is called Wat Phra That, but it is simply referred as Doi Suthep by most people due to it's location near the top of Doi Suthep (Mount Suthep). One can take a tuk tuk or songthaew up the winding road  to Doi Suthep is about 15km.
Built as a Buddhist monastery in 1383, it is still a working monastery today. The songthaew driver dropped us off at the entrance of Doi Suthep, the staircase entrance. Actually, I did not realise the lift up to the temple till after I walked around the temple.
There are many food and souvenirs stalls at the bottom of the temple. The couple who rides in the same songthaew as me bought and enjoyed some deep fried chicken while waiting for the driver, smelled so good that I was tempted to try some.

A carved mythical Naga Serpent Staircase can be found at the start of the stairs. I could never get a picture of the serpent without anyone standing in front of it, so I ended up just taking the side view of it.
There is an entrance fee of 30 THB for foreigners, but nobody seems to check the tickets though.

I suspect the other reason to the fame of this temple was it's location on top of a mountain. It also doubles as a lookout point to Chiang Mai city. Hazy view for me though. Grin.

An hour and fifteen minutes later, the driver sent us back downhill to Chang Puak Gate. A Thai traveller hopped off and I followed suit.
Chang Puak Gate
I continued on my temple day itinerary and to tick off Khao Sui off my 'to eat' list. From Chang Puak Gate, I walked towards Phapokklao Road and reached the 3 Kings Monument.
I coincidentally met the Thai traveller who shared the songthaew earlier with me. This moat area can't be that big eh. I also got lucky with my Khao Sui :)
Heaps of condiments, no such luxury in Australia...
That, was my pork Khao Sui lunch (35 THB), with iced black coffee (20 THB).

Side note: Best way to finish up Greek yoghurt? Pear and banana smoothie ^_^

  • Share:

You Might Also Like