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Chiang Mai and Chiang Dao, part 1

December 11, 2011

Hi all!  We are continuing to have the best of luck with our adventures and travels, with all of our connections and arrangements working out perfectly.

We had a short stay in the northern city of Chiang Mai, which allowed us to get the flavor of this ancient city.  It is home to an extraordinary number of temples- in some cases, more than two per city block!  We spent the day walking around the old walled city, which is enclosed by a moat!  The old city itself seems rather sleepy and laid-back, while the city outside the moat is extremely fast paced- and they seem not to appreciate the value of streetlights, as it is almost impossible to cross the street- the busy traffic of motorscooters, trucks, autos and conveyances never seems to let up.

We concentrated on the beauty of the temples:

Notice all of the upward pointing corners: pointing to heaven.

Beautiful Golden Buddha.

After visiting Chiang Mai’s huge night market, and after a good night’s sleep, we were ready to get to the country: so on to Chiang Dao.  This is a beautiful area in the northern mountains, nestled right up against Thailand’s third highest mountain.  What a beautiful area, and just right up our alley.  We are staying in another sweet place, the Chiang Dao Nest, which puts us right up next to the mountain and the outdoors.  Tonight, they say, there will be a lunar eclipse, which will doubtless be extra  dramatic in this setting.

We walked up to the local mountaintop monastery, this time 500 beautiful steps:

The way up featured many helpful philosophical proverbs:

This was a really beautiful place, with a gorgeous and inspiring view:

This temple is dedicated to its founder, the monk who built the monastery in the cave.  He died in 1993, and statues and memorials of him are everywhere. His remains are here in an urn, and glass cases contain his few possessions- even his thermos!

The dragon motifs here were outstanding- this is a detail from the handrail beside the stairs going down from the temple- the dragon’s scales are individually glazed tiles, really beautiful.  

Dragon's head at the bottom of the stairs

As always, Anna finds a friend.

 

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