Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai (30 baht)
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep: After I arrived in Chiang Mai, I didn’t know what to do. At the time, Mr. Helpful told me about Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. He said “You should definitely visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. It has an amazing view and the temple is awesome.” I googled the temple, and it looked pretty cool! (To see temples of Ayutthaya, click here.)
The guidebook also said that Wat Phra That Doi Suthep was a must-visit temple in Chiang Mai. I felt like I should go. I didn’t want to miss out on somewhere really cool that every other backpacker or traveler visits. Who does? So I researched how to get there, and got ready for the big day!
As soon as I heard the alarm, I didn’t want to get up. I wanted to stay in bed more. My laziness was pulling me back to the comfy bed, and my little evil inside kept whispering, “You don’t have to go there today. It will be just AFT (Another FXXking Temple). Why do you have to give up your sweet bed and walk into AFCT (Another FXXking Crowded Temple). Maybe you’ll go through another hell like in Bangkok. Don’t be too harsh on yourself! Just go back to sleep!”
It was so tempting that I almost fell for it. But I couldn’t. I wanted to do something other than sleep. (I’m lying to you now… I had some sort of pressure that I had to do something “productive”, even though nobody was pushing me……)
I literally dragged my body to the Seven Eleven near Chang Phuak Gate. After dragging myself for 20 minutes, I finally got there. I could see red tourist buses with Doi Suthep written on them. Thank god, I had made it.
Feeling betrayed : (
When I arrived at the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep meeting point, there were four people waiting on the bench. (The bus goes to Doi Suthep when there are ten people.) We were waiting for other people to join the ride.
Unfortunately, no one showed up even after 30 minutes. The driver offered to take us to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep for 100 baht for the single trip, not the round trip! What a rip off! I didn’t want to pay double the price for the trip. He also said, “If you go now, there aren’t many people. You can take good pictures!”
All I had was time, so I ignored the driver. I expected the other four would make the same decision. But it turned out, I was wrong. They had already waited an hour before I came, and they just decided to pay twice as much. I was left alone feeling betrayed. But what could I do…?
After another half-hour waiting, a group of people came, and it was time to go to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. I should’ve been excited and said “Yay”, but I was already exhausted. My energy level was so low…… I felt like I’d been there already.
I got off the bus and followed the crowd heading in the same direction. After passing shops selling the same items, I got to see the the famous 309 steps with dragons. There were 7 dragon heads with one long body. Its body stretched to the top of the stairs. The dragons looked fierce and really cool. (At that time, I secretly regretted that I hadn’t come here earlier as the driver suggested. To avoid crowds, go to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep earlier, it was too crowded when I got there around 10:20 am.)
3 big issues
After climbing up the stairs, I faced three big issues: Fatigue, Hunger and Frustration. I needed to handle them well, considering the money, sleep and waiting time I’d sacrificed to reach Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.
- Problem 1
– Fatigue: My legs were in pain after climbing up 309 stairs.
– Solution: Resting on the bench for 10 minutes.
- Problem 2
– Hunger: The bread I ate in the morning had already digested, and my stomach started to growl.
– Solution 1: I gave a pep talk to my belly something like, ‘No worries, I’ll feed you after I see this amazing temple, okay?’
– Solution 2: I fed my belly the emergency bread I brought with me. I didn’t think my stomach was 100% happy, but it sounded very understanding.
- Problem 3
– Frustration: The temple was busier and more crowded than I thought, as it’s a must-see temple for tourists and a sacred temple for Thai locals.- Solution: Just embrace it!
After dealing with all three issues, I tried to enjoy the way it was in Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.
Unique Buddha Statues in Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
After putting aside all my expectations and disappointments, I found the Buddha statues at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep were very unique compared to other Thai temples.
Don’t be shy!
After a half hour’s waiting, the sun finally showed its pretty face between the clouds! (Maybe she was too shy to come out.) So I finally got a few shots of the beautiful golden pagoda with clear blue sky! (I hope you feel the same. If not, I should try hard to get nicer pictures!) When the sun came out, everything was different. The Golden Mount turned into a bright shiny gold. It looked so beautiful.
Praying, Walking, and Blessing
After that, I could see the temple itself and everything in a different angle. I saw Thai people kneeling down on the floor, putting hands together and praying in front of Buddha.
I also saw people walking around the main pagoda. I’ve heard from my Buddhist Thai friend that people believe that if they walk along the pagoda three times in a clockwise direction, they’ll be blessed and succeed in whatever they wish for.
There was a Thai family and a monk inside a shrine. When the family gave the monk a present (it looked like cloth for making monks’ robes) the monk sprayed water on them. I’ve heard it’s the way monks bless people. It looked so sacred and was interesting to watch the ritual.
Doi Suthep’s Chiang Mai lookout point
The sky turned dark and cloudy again, and it looked like it would rain, so I went downstairs to see whether I missed anything at the temple. Luckily, I found a lookout point.
It would’ve been nicer if the weather was better, but it was still good to see the whole view of Chiang Mai, and at least there weren’t many people. I felt very peaceful and relaxed. I was so into the view that I almost missed the bus.
I think Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is definitely a must-visit temple in Chiang Mai. I’d like to visit again when it’s sunny.
I definitely recommend that you go to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep if you’re interested in visiting temples. I hope you enjoy your time in Doi Suthep.