A Day Off

A Day Off


Sunday was our first “free” day since arriving in Chiang Mai.  Rather than doing anything productive or relaxing we followed Benze, our Thai language instructor turned tour guide, on a songthaew roam around the North and successfully completed a whole 6 (six!!) activities.  I so thoroughly abused the word “incredible” over the course of the day that it had to be retired by sunset.

1. Doi Inthanon / Highest point in Thailand – Featuring a shrine with the remains of King Ithanon, this is likely the only place in Thailand that can reasonably be described as chilly.  They almost have a frost during the “winter” here!  They have coffee that isn’t Nescafe!  The locals were bundled up in puffed jackets, beanies and scarves which almost felt like home except that it was still 60 degrees.  This national park is part of the Cloud Forest (the name more than speaks for itself).
2. Phra Mahathat Napha Methanidon and Phra Mahathat Naphaphon Bhumisiri Pagodas – Built to honor the current King and Queen, these pagodas are also located on on Doi Ithananon mountain nestled among the clouds.  They contain relics of the Buddha and tell the story of the 4 important sites in the Buddha’s life (birth, enlightenment, first sermon, death).
3. Wachirathan Waterfall – Continuing our decent down the mountain, we stopped by this picturesque waterfall which features what appeared to be a permanent rainbow and took a mist bath on the viewing platforms.
4. Ganesh Himal – A temple dedicated to the Hindu elephant-headed God Ganesh.  The temple traced the history of the adoption of Ganesh by Thai Buddhists, documented his significance, and housed statues and images of all of the major deities of Hinduism.
5. The “Grand Canyon” – Benze described this man-made quarry by the American tourist site of the same name, though this version is not quite as …grand in scale; however it is a particularly beautiful sight at sunset and who can resist climbing all over rocks?
6. Ring Road Walking Market – A most impressive market, but I was too exhausted by this point to capture more photos (except for some food shots which will get their own post some day).  Thank you so much to Benze for taking us on a road less traveled, or at least one that we wouldn’t have traveled on our own!

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