During the rainy season in every years is the period that I often go on travel and this year is like the same. The picture of the tiny hut among the greenery field with the mist slowly flows pass the mountain ranges, the mountain which is considered as the background of the field of Ban Pa Bong Piang has appeared in my mind once again. It makes me want to see the greenery field that fully grows all over the place. Hence, I have booked the traveling day during the end of September and find the promotion air ticket, car renting and accommodation in advance.
I fly the early bird flight so I could have time traveling a whole day. I arrive at Chiang Mai Airport around 08.00 in the morning, the weather during the morning time in Chiang Mai welcomes me with the mist and showers, this would exactly be the weather that I dream of.
1. Wat Phra That Doi Kham
The first attraction that I intend to go visiting and would definitely find a chance to travel to is Wat Phra That Doi Kham. From airport intersection, ride along Chiang Mai-Hang Dong route around 10 kilometers, then turn right to enter Somphot Chiang Mai 700 Year Road, ride into Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Botanical Garden, the temple is situated at the back of the garden.
Along the ascent way up to the temple, there are a line of stalls selling Jasmine flowers for worship or fulfill the vow to Luang Phor Tan Jai, the Buddha image of success. One of my main purpose to travel in Chiang Mai this time is I would like to come worship Luang Phor Tan Jai for a good fortune and of course I definitely don't miss out to ask for the good fortune with Luang Phor. Well, when I came back, I luckily did win the lotto with a little winning money ^^.
This temple is an old temple which has more than 1,300 years of age, it is located in Doi Khum area, behind Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Botanical Garden, approximately 10 kilometers away from the downtown. The temple was built in Queen Camadevi range by both of her sons. Originally, this temple is called Wat Suwan Banphot, yet local people called it "Wat Doi Khum".
Legend has it that top of the mountain which is the location of Phra That Doi Khum nowadays used to be the residence of the Giant couple named Ji Khum and Ta Khiew, later local people called them "Pu Sae and Ya Sae", they have a son named "Suthewa Hermit", the reason why this place called "Doi Khum" is because the giant couple have dreamed that they have received the hair relic from the Buddha, then the rain has fallen down for many days that the rain water has erode the mountain and brought a lot amount of gold ore from the mountain slope and the brook down to the mouth of the cave, thus, this mountain was called "Doi Khum". The goddess has brought the hair relic of the Buddha and grant it to Pu Sae and Ya Sae to enshrine and built the stupa covering it on this mountain. Later in the year 1230, King Anantayos II and his twin sons born from Queen Camadevi of Hariphunchai had visited and built the stupa to cover that old stupa which has the hair relic of Buddha inside. As for the second pagoda, it is located on the high mountain, in the north of Doi Khum which is Phra Thai Doi Suthep (source: wikipedia.org)
2. Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong Worawihan
After leaving Wat Phra That Doi Khum, turn right to the intersection of Ton Kwen into Sanpatong-Hangdong bypass road, then keep straight, pass Hang Dong district to Sanpatong district, then turn right to ride on Chiang Mai- Hod highway 108 road, pass Doi Lor district, then getting into Jom Thong district. At the front of the temple, there will be a minibus service that rides from Chiang Mai Gate Market to the terminal stop which is the front of this temple.
Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong Worawihan is originally called Wat Phra That Chao Si Chom Thong, it is regarded as the temple of the people who was born in the year of the rat. The temple is located on Chiang Mai-Hod road, Moo 2, Baan Luang subdistrict, Chom Thong district, Chiang Mai province which is away from Chiang Mai downtown approximately 58 kilometers. Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong is ranked as the third class of royal temple in Worawihan type since 1963. It is located on an around 10 meters high soil hill which was called since the past as "Doi Chom Thong". According to the history record could be assumed that this temple was built around 20th century, yet the architecture style of the constructions inside the temple have shown that they are the architecture style of the period behind 24th century which is the period of the restoration of Chiang Mai.
Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong is the place where Phra Thaksin Moli That was enshrined, it is the relic of the right skull of the Lord Buddha which has a size equals to date seed with a smooth round shape, it has a bright white color like gourd flower or dried bullet wood flower. According to the history, King Ashoka had brought the relic to enshrine at Doi Chom Thong since 213 B.E. Nowadays, the relic has been enshrined in the 5-layers cinerary urn which is located inside the four gable ends building. The urn was constructed of brick and mortar with a square shape base alike pagoda or stupa, it has 4 meters wide and 8 meters high. The history has it that it was constructed by King Phra Dilok Panadda Thirath or King Phra Muang Kaew, the ruler of Chiang Mai Kingdom from Mengrai dynasty in 1517.(source : wikipedia.org)
3. Rice Field Terraces at Ban Pha Mon.
From Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong , ride on the same route until reaching T-junction, then turn left to Doi Inthanon direction, ride along highway no. 1009 Chom Thong - Inthanon route approximately 25 kilometers, then pass through the first checkpoint of Doi Inthanon, tell the officer that you will go to Mae Chaem, they will not charge the toll fee. There are a lot of attractions situated along this route, yet I didn't take a visit. I keep riding for approximately 30 minutes, there will be a signpost on the right hand side indicated the entrance of Ban Pha Mon, then turn right and keep straight on laterite road with a concrete road in some parts, ride further up along the narrow mountain slope for another 8 kilometers, then you will reach Ban Pha Mon. On the way, if you look at the right hand side, you will see the scenery of rice field terraces from the high angle. Then, keep riding for approximately 30 minutes, you will reach at the village. In case of there is no heavy rain which makes a road slippery, the normal car could also ride to this place.
Ban Pha Mon community is a small community located at Ban Luang subdistrict, Chom Thong district, it is surrounded by the valleys and its location is not far from Doi Inthanon and Ban Mae Klang Luang. In the past, the villagers who live around this area emigrated from Mae Sariang district and Pai district. Most of the population here are Paganyaw people. Moreover, there is a renowned homestay located in this community which called Bamboo Ping House or Ban Pha Mon Homestays, it is said that this place is hard to make a reservation during the green season as this place is regarded as one of the best spots in this area for admiring the view of rice field terraces that visitors should not miss out, therefore I plan to travel here to check it out. The accommodation itself is a large house which could accommodate up to 10 people, it is located on the hill with the front area view of rice field terraces extend to the another side foot of mountain. The scenery around is spectacular and tranquil, it is a good idea to spend a night here.
4. Rice Field Terraces of Ban Mae Klang Luang.
From the entrance of Ban Pha Mon, beside Chom Thong - Inthanon route, keep riding approximately 3 kilometers, you will reach Rice Field Terraces of Ban Mae Klang Luang, turn left to go inside. There are a lot of homestays and resorts offer the service to visitors as well as the tourist center for inquiry, in case you need a tour guide to take you to learn the way of life of Pakanyaw tribe in this area. Moreover, there is a nature trail to visit the Pha Dok Siew Waterfall or trekking in the forest of this area.
Growing rice here will begin the seedlings transplantation in June and will do the harvest during November. The beauty of the rice field would be nice in every season, yet the best time to see the view would be during the time that the rice fully grows and the whole field will be greenery which will be during the end of September till October. And during the end of October till the beginning of November, the rice will produce grains which makes the whole field turns to bright gold color, waiting for the harvest. Visitors could take a walk in the field ridge, yet please beware falling down from the ridge like in the picture. (I have found the old ages tourists who travel here, thus I ask them to be my photo models a bit. (^^!).
5. Mae Chaem Scenic Point.
From Ban Mae Klang Luang, keep riding further for another 10 kilometers, you will find the second checkpoint of Doi Inthanon, like before, tell them that you will go to Mae Chaem, they will not collect the toll fee. Ride from the checkpoint approximately 10 meters, then turn left to ride on the highway no. 1192 Mae Chaem-Khun Yuam route which is the route that leads to Mae Hong Son. The route in this part would be rather zigzag with a mountain route, yet the weather is pretty brilliant, there is a mist floating almost the whole way. Then continuously ride for approximately another 10 kilometers, you will reach the T-junction leading to Mae Chaem district which is the stopover point and the scenic point that as I know, the construction of this place had just finished not long. This spot is located behind Doi Inthanon, there are mist and cloud flowing by all the times. If you look up you will see 2 pagodas in a far distance. From my point of view, I think this area might be turned into the rice field terraces in the near future. Moreover, there is a construction of the coffee shop right now, I think it would be another spot that will definitely be popular in the future.
6. Rice Field Terraces of Ban Pha Nang.
Since I have used a lot of time visiting the attractions along the way and it begins to dark, thus I need to hurry to get into Mae Chaem district to take a photo of the rice field at Ban Teen Pha and Ban Pa Bong Piang as per my plan. Nonetheless, I did reserve the room in advance at Kowit Farmhouse which is located just 4-5 kilometers away from Mae Cham scenic point, thus I decide to head straightly to the accommodation and take a photo of this place instead as there is a rice field terraces too. You guys could follow to see the atmosphere of the accommodation from this link Kowit Farmhouse
7. Mae Ya Waterfall.
One day has passed, after I stay in the Kowit Farmhouse, today I will continue the journey to Chiang Dao district which is located in the opposite direction. Therefore, I decide not to visit Mae Chaem as I have to spend around 4-5 hours riding to Chiang Dao.
I start riding on the same route highway no. 1009 Chom Thong-Inthanon where there are a lot of waterfalls situated along the way. Yet, I don't have enough time, thus I choose to visit only Mae Ya Waterfall as I would like to see the enormous of the waterfall which once used to be the largest and nicest waterfall in our country before the finding of Thi Lo Su Waterfall. The route of Mae Ya Waterfall will be separated from highway no. 1009 around 15 kilometers, then visitors need to walk to the waterfall for another 500 meters. If you guys already paid for the fee at the checkpoint of Doi Inthanon, don't throw away the ticket as it could use to enter Mae Ya Waterfall free of charge. The day that I have visited the waterfall, the atmosphere is rather silent as there is not much tourists at all. It is maybe because of the water condition as in the rainy season, the waterfall might not nice that no-one would not like to travel during this time, the water color will be muddy like Ovaltine drink and the waterfall itself might be closed, if there is a sign of flash flood.
8. Ban Mae Mae.
I reach Chiang Dao almost night, ride along irrigation canal road, it is pretty hard to pass through the downtown of Chiang Mai due to the bad traffic jam alike Bangkok during the evening time, I get stuck in most of the junctions, moreover I unfortunately have passed the bypass of the road construction as well, overall I spent a long time riding till I get to ride on highway no.107 Chiang Mai-Fang or Chotana road, this route would pass Mae Rim - Mae Tang- Chiang Dao - Fang and end at Mae Chan. Tonight, I stay in Tree House Hideaway Mae Mae Village which is located before reaching Chiang Dao district, turn right at Mae Na subdistrict along the signpost. This place would be another place that I would like to recommend to everyone, it is located among the nature of forest and waterway environment with sound of bird singing and water flowing, moreover during the night time, there is insects singing as well and the weather is extremely pleasant. Let's check out the atmosphere of the accommodation from this link Tree House Hideaway Mae Mae Village.
9. Wat Tham Chiang Dao.
In the last morning of this time traveling, I leave Ban Mae Mae, ride to the district area, then turn left along the direction sign to Chiang Dao Cave which there is the Doi Luang Chiang Dao stands eminent in the front. The route is a narrow 2 lanes concrete road which could adequately ride pass. Then keep riding, pass the village, just keep straight, you will reach Wat Tham Chiang Dao.
Wat Tham Chiang Dao is located at Ban Tham, Chiang Mae-Mae Chan road, Chiang Dao subdistrict, Chiang Dao district, Chiang Mai province. It was constructed in 1767 which has another name called Wat Tham Luang Chiang Dao. The first construction of this temple was leaded by Phra Khruba Pra Thum Panya and Pho San Pi. Later in 1887, Phraya Ta Phi Ban had built the stairs leading to the cave mouth as well as abode and other artifacts. In 1913, there is a hermit names U-Kantha came to build the Buddha image and in the year of 1934, Khruba Siwichai had built and renovated this temple. Apart from that, in later times until present, there is the additional construction of the abodes and on 23 June 1971, this temple has been granted the land to be a temple by the royal.
There is a myth about "Chiang Dao Cave" that in the past during Phayao Kingdom flourished, the ruler of the kingdom named "Chao Luang Kham Daeng" has preferred traveling in the forest and hunting. One day, the King has chased a nice dear, he rode on a horse and tried to speed to approach it, yet he failed. The dear has run to the foothill of Doi Ang Salung and escape to hide in the cave of that foothill. The King attempted to chase it, he got off from the horse and ran into the cave, other soldiers who escort the King could not oppose the King's design and they were unable to catch him. King Kham Daeng entered into the cave to seek for the dear, yet he hadn't found it, on the other hand, he found a lady and talked with her satisfyingly, he came to know that the lady named "In-Lao" and she was cursed to stay in this cave, and if she went out from the cave, she will transform to be a dear at once. After the King known her story, he feels sorry for her and falls in love with her, thus he lived with her in the cave and not go back to his kingdom since then, even though the courtier had invited him to go back, he also denied, he also could not take her to live with him in the city as she will transform into a dear. Hence, the King decided to live with her throughout his life. Until present, the villagers still believe that the spirits of King Kham Daeng and Lady In-Lao has still dwelled in Chiang Dao Cave. (source : teeteawthai.com)
10. Stewed Pork Leg of Chiang Dao
It is going to be noon now, thus I will find a tasty popular restaurant in Chiang Dao district a bit. Whenever I pass this area, I have to visit this restaurant to eat Stewed Pork Leg on Rice, this restaurant is the first restaurant of this district that selling Stewed Pork Leg since their ancestors. If you guys travel from Chiang Mai, ride on Chotana road, then turn right to Chiang Dao district, the restaurant is located on the right hand side at the corner of intersection. The restaurant is a 3-chophouse, inside is decorated with antiques and the round antique chairs and tables, the opening time will be from 06.00am to 18.00pm. Apart from renowned Stewed Pork Leg menu, they also have Hang Lay Curry, Chicken Curry, Braised Pork, the food tastes awesome and they also serve food-to-order too.
11. Wat Den Salee Sri Muang Gan.
On the way back, I ride pass Mae Taeng district to visit a temple that is regarded as one of the most beautiful temples in Chiang Mai. This temple is located approximately 45 kilometers away from Chiang Mai downtown, use the route Chiang Mai-Fang, ride pass Mae Malai junction, then when you pass the T-junction of Mae Ma Lai, Mae Taeng district, please see the entrance signpost to Mae Ngat Somboon Chon Dam on the right hand side, turn right and keep riding on the route not far, you will find the welcome arched entrance to Muang Gan Municipality. Get pass through the arched entrance, then turn left into the tiny alley before you reach a stadium, keep straight and then you will reach at Wat Den Salee Sri Muang Gan located on the left hand side. Visitor is suggested to use at least one hour to travel around the temple as the area of the temple is rather spacious and the architecture is also spectacular. Moreover, there are a lot of beautiful corners to take photo as well.
Wat Den Salee Sri Muang Gan is originally called "Wat Lee Boon Rueang", it was built in 1894. The location of the temple is on a low hill and below that hill is a sacred cave that villagers revere, thus this temple is called "Wat Ban Den". The environment consists of beautiful landscapes, it has the mix architectural styles of Thai art and Lanna art which makes the temple looks exquisitely beautiful. This temple is primarily named just "Wat Ban Den", yet when Khruba Chao Thueang Nat Silo came to dwell in this temple, from there is no such a Bodhi Tree in this temple, there are a lot of Bodhi Trees grow in this temple since then, and due to Northern Thai people has called Bodhi Tree as "Salee" which means good fortune, hence this name is used to name this temple for auspiciousness. Furthermore, due to the temple is located within the old city area in the ancient time which is called "Muang Gan", thus the villagers has called this temple in a full name as "Wat Den Salee Sri Muang Gan".
As for the construction style is made of applied Lanna art style combining with the idea of Khruba Chao Thueang which is called "architectural style according to the idea", meaning that it is a freestyle architecture as per the imagination, yet the structure has to be strong.
Khruba Chao Thueang would like this temple to be a mix temple between village temple and forest temple as he believes that the religion could remain only through practice, the separation of temple type is not important, on the contrary the construction of this temple is based on making a merit, and that is maybe why nowadays this temple has a large size of buildings and they all look magnificent.
Wat Den Salee Sri Muang Gan was built from the faith in religion and other beliefs and with this strong faith, it could create astonishing things for the visitor and witness to admire. The reason that I said like this is because this temple originally is just a small temple, yet with the strong faith of Buddhist toward Khruba Chao Thueang Nat Silo, the renowned monk of the northern part who dwells in this temple, could develop a small temple to be a large astonishing temple with a valuable Buddhist art of Lanna.
12. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Before catching a flight back to Bangkok, I intend to go visit and worship Khruba Siwichai and travel to this temple as even though I have been in Chiang Mai many times, yet I still haven't gone to worship Phra That Doi Suthep once. Let alone worship the pagoda, even Chiang Mai downtown, I still haven't been to as well. I mostly travel to the nature attractions that are situated in the suburb districts around Chiang Mai.
Getting to the temple, you could take mini bus that parks in front of Chiang Mai university on Huay Kaew road side, the mini bus will be on service during 05.00am till 07.00pm.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Ratcha Worawihan is a second class Royal Buddhist monastery in Ratcha Worawihan type. This temple is located on the top of Doi Suthep and it is one of the most significant temples of Chiang Mai province which was built in Lanna style. Inside the temple is situated a pagoda in Chiang Saen art style which was built in a bell shape with indented corners on a high base, covered with 2 layers of brass leaf. The pagoda court is the scenic spot to see the view of Chiang Mai city. The ascent way to the temple is the seven-headed Naga serpents adorned staircase made of mortar. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Ratcha Worawihan was constructed in the year of 1386 during the reign of King Kuena, the 6th monarch of Lanna kingdom from Lanna dynasty. King Kuena had brought a large relic of Lord Buddha that he kept for worship only for himself for 13 years to be enshrined in this temple. The king casted lots with the auspicious elephant to find the place to enshrine the relic of Lord Buddha and when the auspicious elephant had reached at the top of Doi Suthep, it cried out 3 times as well as walked clockwise around the boundary of a temple, then it died over there. Later, the King had ordered to dig the ground for 8 cubits deep, 6 Wa (Wa is a Thai unit measurement equals to two meters) 3 cubits wide and seek 6 plates of large stone to form into a stone casket and placed it in the hole, then he had brought the relic of Lord Buddha to enshrine in the casket, after that filled the hole with stone and built the pagoda with 5 Wa high to cover up. Therefore, Buddhist people who come to worship the pagoda are prohibited to wear shoes inside the pagoda area as well as women are not allowed to enter that area. Later in 1938 during the reign of King Phra Mueang Ket Klao, the 12th monarch of Lanna had ordered to add the height of pagoda to 6 Wa wide and 11 cubits high, taller than the old one as well as ordered the craftsman to make gold lotus with real gold and put it in the tip of the pagoda. After that, his son named Chao Thao Sai Kham had ordered to beat the gold into the gold leaf and cover the pagoda. (source : wikipedia.org)
Chiang Mai still has a lot of interesting attractions both nature and culture aspects and also between both the development of the city and the simplicity of the communities that located in the suburb areas. If I have time, I usually choose to travel in this province firstly. Especially, during the winter season in every year, this city would have been crowded by the tourists. What about you guys? Do you have any plan to travel to Chiang Mai? Anyway, if you make a trip to Chiang Mai, don't forget to share your travel story too. Sawasdee.
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