We did so much the day before that we wanted to take it easy on day two and we assumed that meant doing the things that I wanted to do, which was visit the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of the most revered Buddhist shrines in Northern Thailand, it is located on a mountain that overlooks the city of Chiang Mai.
Wats serve many purposes in Thailand. They function as a community center, temple and a buddhist monastery. In Thailand you can find 30,000 of them, but what makes certain ones of noted interest are if they were founded by royalty or if they house revered objects, such as bones of Buddha, as Doi Suthep does.
Legend has it that Doi Suthep was created 600 years ago so high atop the mountain because the king used his own royal white elephant to find where the chedi (sacred pagoda) would be built to house the important relic, a shoulder bone from the Buddha himself. The elephant continued up the mountain where the chedi and temple were built. It took him three days to reach the spot where the wat was built and he died shortly thereafter. To commemorate his important contribution they built a monument in his honor that is left of the temple once you reach the top of the stairs.
Outside the walls of the temple are many bells, people are allowed to ring these for good luck (softly) and should not push them, the hooks that hold them up are old and breaking a bell would be very bad. They also had some etiquette rules up here that we were sure to abide, we couldn’t wear shoes in the temple, women had to have covered arms and knees (they had skirts and shawls available for those not dressed properly), no public displays of affection, and you had to maintain a lower demeanor to the monks of the temple.
The temple is amazing.
This was definitely another highlight place for me and a great calves workout. Squire and I also were able to get blessed by Buddhist monks they did a mantra for luck and tied string around wrist. We were told to leave it on for seven days at least.
Next stop was the zoo. This zoo was amazing.
All the animals were closer than what I’m used to and there weren’t many enclosed displays so we could get some great pictures. It was also the hardest zoo I’ve been to. It was hot and hilly. I felt gross and after the temple my legs where already tired. On it’s own this would have been exercise heaven but with another leg workout stop it was HARD.
And to finish it off we visited the panda exhibit. All three of them were up and about when we made it over and I took way too many pictures but here’s a few.
Every zoo has something different to offer and this one was worth it. It was a work out to boot but definitely worth it.