Published: January 1st 2008November 7th 2006
A Krathong located in the moat which surrounds the old city of Changmai.
Arrived in Changmai on the last day of the Loy Krathong festival, which was a bitter sweet surprise. Sweet because of the parades and the girls dressed prettily in traditional customs, but bitter because of the fate of the Kom Tams. In Sukothai they appeared to rise, rise and rise all the way to the heavens. But here from the balcony of my hotel, I could see them, fuel spent, falling, drifting and finally hitting the ground to become ...GARBAGE:(
Next day was a Buddist holiday which meant all the Wats were closed, really and truly, not some tuk-tuk drivers scam. With the wats closed I go for a walk along the Ping River. Somewhat disappointing I thought. Not only is the water a dirty brown colour but there is also much floating domestic rubbish floating. Perhaps they need a clean up the Ping campaign. No holiday for the Night Bazaar. Here you can buy, painting and carving, CD's and sunglasses, t-shirts and thongs, silver ware and food and end it all with a massage. Some of the craft work is at a very high standard and if I was into souvenier shopping I would have purchased some. The other
A painter working in the grounds of one of the Wats. Their work can often be bought at the night market.
pleasure of course was watching Thai tv. Do I understand Thai, well no. Would I get any more meaning out of it, if I could understand Thai, maybe not:)
Today, finally I get to look inside of a few Wats. All of which were located in the old city which is surrounded by a moat. Giant krathongs were in the moat. There are so many of them, I am not sure I can keep track of all of the ones that I actually do visit. The largest is Wat Phra Sing, construction commenced in 1345. Inside chapel walls are covered with murals showing Lanna dress, customs and scenes of everyday living. Another Wat Chedi Luang, the elephant's wat is massive. Built in near the end of the 14th century its chedi used to be 90 meters high and home to the Emerald Budda. The chedi was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1545 and the Emerald Budda was moved to Luang Prabang. In the 1990's the chedi was partially restored and now 60meters high. While sitting on a bench contemplating some restored elephants I was approached by a pleasant young woman. She said she was a tuk-tuk driver, and
Wat Phra Singh
Oldest Wat in Changmai, construction commenced in 1345.
offered to take me to the sites for 160baht. After some time has passed I eventually declined the offer. Now as I sit here with the 160 baht in my hand I think, DUMB, DUMB. As it turned out I got lost and didnt get back to my hotel till 9pm. Now isnt that dumb.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep located 1600m above sea-level is one of the most revered temples in Thailand. Said to be located because this is were a white elephant stopped on a journey to the summit.As this is to far to walk a driver was hired to take me there and wait patiently while I absorb the culture on the hill top before returning. Cad I am, I took the Funicular to the top instead of climbing the 304 step Naga Staircase. Though I was happy to take photos of the "pilgrams'as they struggled their way to the top. From the temple grounds on a clear day good views of Changmai can be enjoyed. To say Wat Doi Suthep is sumptuous is an understatement. Gold covers almost everything. Crowds were a mixture of chattering tourists and the devote who with flowers in their hands
Wat Chedi Luang
The elephant's wat. Its chedi was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1545.
parade almost trance like around the central chedi.Surrounding the Lanna style central chedi are four multi-tiered umbrellas. Devote Buddists apply thin gold leaf to it to gain merit for the next life.
Not far from Doi Suthep is a Blue Hmong village These people are one of the hill tribes that live in northern Thailand. Hilltribes of northern Thailand are really the southern extention of peoples who have their majority populations in China. The village is a bit touristy, but worth a visit particularly for people who do not intend going on a hill tribes trekking tour.
A Khan-tok dinner, I had to go to at least one. Bought my ticket and off to the venue, I know not where. Herded in, there were two seating arrangement, on sitting on the floor and the more convention western seating arrangement. Ushered to the western seating arrangement food was soon served. Chicken, doughy rice, fruits, far more than what I could consume. While feasting we we entained by tradition dances, music and mock sword fights.
With my time in Changmai now now at and end, i realize I still havent been to Bubbles disco in the Porn Ping, maybe nest
Typical of many of the chedi's in Changmai.
There are more photos below