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Posted by on Feb 28, 2011 | 4 comments

Thailand’s Blue Tiger: Day 4 (Scene 3)

After visiting Wat Doi Suthep, we took a heat break at a jade factory.  While we were looking at the jade jewelry, we were offered iced coffee.  I am not a coffee lover.  In fact, I started to drink a little bit of coffee when I got married.  In this case, I took a sip from my husband’s cup.  The flavor was incredible and I ended drinking two big cups.  It was so refreshing and the taste was amazing.  I learned that Thailand cultivates coffee in small quantities and they have special techniques in order to achieve good results.  It was also interesting to learn about the country’s farming industry.  The northern part of the country is heavily used to produce a large variety of fruits and vegetables.  It was interesting to discover other industries other than tourism.

Once we left the jade factory, we proceeded to visit Wat Chiang Man.  This is Chiang Mai’s first and oldest temple.  Historians believe king Mengrai lived here when he was still planning and building the city.  They are able to date the founding of the city because they know the temple’s age.  It is incredible but the temple was built around 1292.  We are talking about a more than 700 hundred years structure.  Imagine all the events that have witness those structures.

The oldest part of the temple is a bell shaped chedi supported by a base of plaster elephants facing outward on all sides.  Nowadays, some of the elephants are not present anymore because of the decay involved with time. 

For example, this is the front part.

Wat Chiang Man

The chedi shelters a big Buddha statue and a relic.

Close up of Wat Chiang Man

Some people leave offerings in the temple grounds.

Offerings

Oldest Structure in Wat Chiang Man

The elephants can be seen from the north part.

Elephants surrounding Wat Chiang Man's Pagoda

 From all the structures and buildings I saw in Thailand, this is one I remember as unique.  The elephant details are so lovely.  Of course, for Thais elephants are a special creature.

Elephants at Pagoda

 Some of the elephants are in really good shape and is interesting to appreaciate the details.

Some elephants are in good shape

 Some have suffered the rage of time.  This one is missing its ears and trunks.

Others show the signs of time

The temple contains other structures and shrines.  I am going to talk more about that in the next post.

Wat Chiang Mai's Surroundings

What was my first impression of Chiang Mai?  It looked very laid back and interesting.  Of course, is not as noisy and bustling as Bangkok. The streets are narrow and everybody seems to be relaxed.  It looked like my kind of town.  Stay connected for more Chiang Mai stories.

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