Chiang Mai was a welcome change from Bangkok. It’s still a big city (170,000+) but the downtown is compact enough to navigate on foot and the weather was cooler. And there were hardly any tricksters. A big plus in my book.
Chiang Mai is all about wats. I forget the exact number, but they’re everywhere.
Lots of wats means lots of Buddhas.
Thousands of tourists and locals visit Wat Doi Suthep on a mountain overlooking Chiang Mai.
Candles, incense, prayers.
I was stunned to spot this guy rocking a Twins shirt all the way up in the Golden Triangle. Wanted to get his thoughts on Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez, but I didn’t want to interrupt his prayers.
Located about 5km outside the city center, Wat U Mon is a peaceful forest monastery with some cool Buddha caves.
Wat U Mon had these little philosophical placards posted randomly throughout the monastery grounds.
16th century Buddha head at Wat U Mon.
The first night I was sitting outside at a restaurant enjoying a cold beer and a bowl of massaman curry when this huge parade spontaneously appeared. I think it was for a Buddhist holiday (a real one, not a Bangkok-scam holiday).
Sunday nights Chiang Mai’s main street shuts down for a massive night market. Thousands of people flood the streets for crafts (some authentic, some touristy) and loads of street food. I had spring rolls, pad thai, mango sticky rice and a coconut shake.