Our plan in visiting Chiang Mai this year was to have a relaxing holiday. We had set aside a day to see elephants and wanted the other two full days we had to be as slow as possible.
Nonetheless, we managed to walk 21,000 steps on our first day exploring the Old City of Chiang Mai from temples to curries to night market. The highlight of the day was the three temples inside the Old Square namely Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Phra Singh, and Wat Phan Tao. We missed out Doi Suthep and Doi Ithanon national park in the spirit of not wanting to jump on to any kinds of transport, and for a wishful thinking that we’ll come back.
Anyway… back to the Wats. Wats of temples are seriously everywhere in Chiang Mai. When you’re in Ubud, Bali you’ll see Hindu temples at every turn, in here, the Buddhist temples are dominated with gold shimmering through the sunshine and starry nights.
Wat Chedi Luang is I say, a must visit. When you first enter the complex, you will find buildings with undulating roofs in a couple of tiers, with decorative edges. Walk a little further and we’re taken aback to the past with the stone temple architecture, it kinds of remind me with Baphuon temple in Siem Reap.
Wat Phra Singh dates back to the 14th century, this temple is known as one of the prettiest and is the most popular one inside the Old Square.
Wat Phan Tao is not as visible from the outside but the back of the Wat is a garden with a pond, where a Buddha shrine is sitting under a Bodhi tree. During the Yi Peng festival, monks will sit alongside the pool and chant.
These three temples are walking distance to each other and visiting all three can be easily done in one day if you don’t have long enough time to stay in Chiang Mai.