We are back into exploring mode after a couple of weeks settling back into Chiang Mai after the Australian/Phuket trip.
I headed onto the internet to see what others had discovered off the tourist trail and came across this jungle Wat or temple, on Doi Suthep, which is the large hill at the back of Chiang Mai. So today we headed off into a rather smoky and overcast afternoon to see if Google maps was correct in the location of Wat Phalat, a highly unusual occurrence if it was as GM is usually hopeless here.
For those looking for the entrance to this temple you travel about ten minutes up Doi Suthep after the Chiang Mai zoo entrance on Huay Kaey Road and on the left you’ll see this small white temple:
Take the paved road to the left of this temple and you head downwards on a pretty narrow road before arriving at the parking area for Wat Phalat and few hundred meters on. Most tourists will miss seeing this temple as they head further up Doi Suthep to the the far more famous Wat Phra That – see my blog entry HERE. If you want some piece and quiet, an absence of tourists, waterfalls and a great glimpse of Chiang Mai then forget Wat Phra That and come here.
We arrived to a full parking lot, which sounds fancy but is actually just pulling the car off the road! There was some sort of ceremony happening, which Guan first thought was a cremation as there were fires burning, a heap of people under a big marquee and a row of monks chanting.
We tiptoed around the ceremony trying to look inconspicuous, which as I was the only farang there was a bit hard. Gaun spoke to one of the ladies on the edge of the main group and found out that it was not a cremation. thank goodness because she’s not at all keen on them and would have taken off, but a New Year Buddha making ceremony. I don’t know what the official title is for this but the temple was pouring liquid gold into moulds to make new Buddha images. We were lucky to come across it as I guess it doesn’t happen too often.
Leaving the main event behind as they placed more gold blocks into the handmade furnace to melt we headed off to have a look at the temple grounds. Wat Phalat is scattered over a fairly large area cascading down the hillside. Most of it has no order in the true Thai way but because it surrounded by the forest and in some cases merged into it the resulting effect is quite serene and peaceful.
Behind the main temple there are signs of some extensive building work obviously to provide monks with modern, air conditioned, en-suite facilities. Too much luxury I say.
There were monks of all ages attending the event ranging from some senior guys leading the ceremony itself through to some others who might have a little way to go before achieving self realisation:
Towards the back of the compound we came across both this old water well, still in use, and these yai – old ladies – using it. Gaun pulled up the bucket so these two could refill their water-bottles and they were both grateful and chatty. The one of the right has a married daughter living in Australia!
There is no shortage of faculties apart from the well. These are the toilets:
Statues are scattered around and seem to fit into the landscape giving wonderful photo opportunities:
A stream and waterfalls flow through the back of the temple area, or they would do if it wasn’t the dry season here, and it is here you get a lovely glimpse of Chiang Mai city, or you would do if you weren’t seeing it through a smoke haze. What I am offering you here are the possibilities not the actual at this time! Use your imagination.
Heading out of Wat Phalat we came across these upmarket accommodation suites complete with free black cat.
I had planned to head to Nimmanhaemin Road – read my blog entry HERE, for an iced tea – yes I am off coffee in the afternoon. However as it was now abut 3.30 pm I decided to give it a miss and head homewards. A good thing because we were waved through an intersection by police and the reason for their intervention had us pull over for some photos. This is what I love about being here. The unexpected can pop up at any moment. This was a late Songkran – Thai New Year – procession, waiting to head off and totally disrupt traffic!
The procession on its way we ended up stopping off at a cafe I hadn’t been to before about ten minutes from home. We indulged in a low fat iced green tea – Thai style, which balanced off nicely the gym time we had done that morning. Carbs out = carbs in.
To finalise this blog I can’t think of a better photo than this one, which was on the wall of this cafe:
So a mixed afternoon I thought I would capture while I was in the mood.
Thanks for reading.