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:
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