Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chiang Mai Holiday

At the end of a business trip to Thailand, John had 2 days off for Chinese New Year.  We looked at the map and chose Chiang Mai, north and near the mountains.  With only 3 days total there, we chose only a few of the many tourist hot spots around there.  We found our hotel on the internet and we happy we had chosen the Singha(Lion) Montra, a nice cross between local Thai and upscale 4-5 star accommodation; exquisite Thai decor with local roosters waking us in the wee hours of dawn!

Everywhere in Thailand, this is how you are greeted:

The bedroom part of our suite and the outdoor whirlpool.  The pool was lovely but the air temp didn't really tempt us to put on the heat:

Our first adventure was to the old part of the city, a perfect square surrounded by an ancient wall.  The best means of transportation from the hotel was by tuk tuk:

We walked and walked, had dinner and visited the daily Night Market:
 Most of the stalls sold regular tourist selections of "thai" silk, copy purses, watches, shirts. but also beautiful jewelry and one-of-a kind fashions, locally made.  These ladies sell jewelry made my their mountain tribes (maybe made my them, maybe in a factory....but their presentation made you want to buy)

On Sunday there is an different market, called the Walking Street, where they actually shut down a big street and more local artists and craftspeople sell their wares.  I didn't bring my camera that night, but I bought beautiful handmade cards and jewelry.

Chiang Mai is filled with Buddhist temples, an amazing array of golden spires and stupas.  We had a tour guide take us to 3 of the important ones.  I still don't understand it all, but I learned a lot.

I loved these life-sized elephant statues that surround many of the stupas, which hold relics, bones, and ashes of the most revered monks. This one is the oldest in the city and was broken by an earthquake centuries ago. 

Sometimes the offerings are big, and sometimes they are small:

We happened upon a ceremony as 3 young men were becoming monks.  They, dressed in white, go around the temple complex 3 times, followed by their families who carry their robes, and articles they will need as a monk:

 Finally, inside, the many varied statues of Buddha:

And famous monks from this temple:

Money offerings hung from the ceiling and a beautiful offering made from banana leaves:

Most temples have monks available for blessings, advice, prayers or just a chat: 


Tomorrow:  a trip to the mountains

1 comment:

  1. chiangmai holiday Imagine falling asleep to the symphony of frogs and crickets, then waking up to the sounds of birds chirping. You find yourself cuddled up in the folds of white linen, in the centre of a majestic bed. Looking out the window, you see the sun peeking over the horizon, whilst the fog over the lake gradually rolls back to reveal the glimmering water's surface.