Northern Thailand is a beautiful region full with history and culture. You can find here temples in all sorts of shapes and styles. The intimate ones, but also the impressive ones. You can visit them all, but I would not recommend that. At a certain point the ‘wow’-factor is gone. I chose the temples that were a little bit different. A different color, a different message or a different location. Here the three temples that will definitely amaze you.
#1 Wat Rong Khun, Chiang Rai
Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple. It’s an unusual temple, especially because of its color. The white color is so bright that approaching the temple is only possible with some sunglasses on you. This makes taking pictures hard. I took a picture here and there, but I didn’t had a clue what I was photographing. But this isn’t the only thing. This temple is unique, suprising and intriguing. The Wat Rong Khun is a heavenly temple with beautiful glistening mosaic glass, a roof that looks like candle wax and statues of amazing mythical kinnons (angels). But behind the sparkling white exterior there’s a dark side. In the garden you see a predator rising from the ground, along the fence you see several skulls looking at you and the side of the bridge is marked with a pool of arms, hands and skulls. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see this pool, because of the restorations. The temple is still under construction, as the architect died a few years ago. Also the temple was recently struck by an earthquake, which left quite some damage. Luckily through donations they started to rebuilt this temple.
#2 Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai
Just outside of Chiang Mai there’s an amazing ancient mountain temple, one of the holiest temples of Thailand. After a 15 kilometer drive upwards, which takes you along the beautifl Doi Pui National Park, you will arrive at the gates of Doi Suthep. Here you will see the typical commercial shops with food and souvenirs. But walking past that, you will see the 309-step stairs that takes you to the temple. The stairs itself is beautiful. The railing consist of a seven headed mythical snake (naga). At the top of the stairs the shining gold awaits you. Even though it was a bit hard to see for us, as our visit was accompanied by 10.000 firstyear-students. Every year these students run up the Doi Suthep hill to collect their blessing from the monks in the temple. And we happened to be there at the exact same time.
The temples itself aren’t that impressive, it’s more the location that makes it extraordinary. The mountain temple give you a splendid view over the whole of Chiang Mai.
#3 Wat Sri Suphan, Chiang Mai
On the streets of Chiang Mai we chatted with a local who gave us a few must-see tips. One of these tips was the Wat Sri Suphan, the Silver Temple. His exact words: ‘A special temple. It’s a bit hidden, but that makes it nice and peaceful. I really recommend this!’ It sounded okay, so we decided to go. We went straight ahead, took a left, took a right, turned around to go the next street. This temple was definitely hidden, because we could not find it… until we saw some silverwear shops. And at the back there it was, the Silver Temple. A monk awaits us to give us a private tour. Very unusual and bit awkward, as we didn’t speak Thai and he didn’t speak English. Still, it was a great experience and we appreciated the monk’s time for showing us ‘his’ temple.
Did you visit one of these temples?