April 19th 2019
Benz is working full time and completing her second Masters degree in Engineering, so she’s incredibly busy! Sadly, today was the final day she could travel with us. So… Today was her choice of activities in Chiang Mai.
We had vegetarian breakfast at Pun Pun on Wat grounds then we travelled by red Songthaews inside the walls of old Chiang Mai city to Wat Phra Singh.
Benz had passed this temple multiple times but never explored past the lion looking statues (unicorns?) at the entrance.
This is the oldest surviving original building using a northern Thai style wooden structure.
Toilets are usually a challenge to locate when walking around Thailand; especially at temples and when exploring ancient sites. But the washrooms at this temple were extremely noteworthy!
They were very clean, expected you to remove your shoes and wear their plastic shoes, and even had instructions explaining how to use a toilet!
After visiting this famous 14th Century temple we located an interesting place to eat lunch in the old city.
Chiang Mai, has a metropolitan area population of nearly 1 million people and claims to have over 300 Buddhist temples! It was founded in 1296 and the capital of the Lanna Kingdom until 1558. The Old City area still has sections with moats and walls. Two famous temples are 14th Century Wat Phra Singh and 15th Century Wat Chedi Luang.
After lunch we decided to exit the old city and return to the area near our accommodation to explore another famous Temple (Wat Suan Dok).
Wat Suan Dok is also known as Wat Buppharam. It is a Royal Temple of the Third class. It’s name translates to “flower garden temple”.
This is well suited to the newcomer as the temple is ornately decorated with colorful designs and including multiple flowers on the pillars inside.
In addition to its importance historically the grounds are always filled with monks, bus tours of dedicated Buddhist visitors, multiple dogs, birds and animals, in a peaceful, harmonious setting.
There is a visiting entrance fee of 20 Baht for non Thai visitors. There are lots of different types of fundraising you can contribute too—from orphanages, to sick, elderly, etc. We were able to sign our names on some new curtains that were being hung in the Wat soon.
There are also amazing programs we have experienced at this teaching temple. There is a Monk Chat time available as well as meditation training and retreats.
I participated in the Monk Chat last visit and learned lots about the life and experiences of monks during my previous visit to Chiang Mai. Next time we want to try the meditation retreat.
It was a wonderful last day with Benz. Tomorrow Mark, Alexander and I spend the day pampering Pachyderms!!!