No doubt about it, the Buddhist temples (wats) in Chiang Mai are beautiful. And plentiful. There are so many that it is nearly impossible for me to tell them apart or use them as landmarks. I’ve started to give them my own names, like the one with the golden leaves and the one with the green dragons, but with over 200 wats in Chiang Mai I am going to run out of names soon.
|300 steps lead up to the temple|
The most well known temple is the holy Wat Phra That on Doi Suthep about 15 km outside of Chiang Mai. Built as a Buddhist monastery in 1383, it is still a working monastery today. My favorite part of this temple were the hundreds of small bells that people buy at the base of the stairs and hang in various places around the temple for good luck.
|Offerings for the Emerald Buddha|
|The golden spire|
Just over the mountain from Doi Suthep is Doi Pui, a small Hmong village surrounded by lush mountains, but besides an inordinate number of tourist shops there isn’t much to see. I visited the tiny and very basic Hill Tribe museum, well worth the 30 cent admission. The hard part of this visit was seeing ivory for sale at numerous shops, which brought tears to my eyes and I left this village with no desire to return.
|Wood mortar and pestle for grinding herbs|
|Hand woven baskets|
|Mountain goat skull|
|This was hard for me to stomach|