Words cannot express how much I love the city of Chiang Mai, from the food and people to the beautiful scenery; it is a truly magical place. We have been here for a little over a week and I discover something new each day that makes me fall in love with this place even more. One of my favorite places so far is a wat we stumbled upon by accident on our way down the mountain from a much more decorative, touristy wat. It was just what I needed.
I wish I could tell you the name and just how old it was (someone mentioned 500+ years, unfortunately I can’t tell you for sure) but what I can tell you is that it was absolutely breath taking. It was so refreshing to be in a place not well known to tourists allowing me to really experience local culture. We removed our shoes and walked into the wat to meditate with only three other locals. The smell of incense filled the dimly lit room. The wat had open windows (no glass or window frames) allowing you to hear the birds singing outside. It was so uplifting being in such a still, natural setting.
We climbed up the rocks along some water running down from the mountain with several little Buddha statues scattered throughout. I have never seen so many tones of orange and green. The rocks were vibrant shades of orange from running water and bright green moss was overgrowing everything...one of the benefits of being here during the rainy season. The downfall of being here during the rainy season: Andrew, trying to do a good deed, ended up slipping and falling several feet into the water getting all banged up. Good thing I am a certified doctor!
This place was absolutely beautiful…the view, overgrown moss, the statues, buildings, and all the little details. Everything was so decorated by nature or the local visitor there to pray and give thanks. It was so wonderful to be in a place engulfed by nature allowing one to clear the mind and revitalize the soul. Even more great is knowing this is only one of the many discovers we will find on our journey!
UPDATE: While searching on line for hidden treasures of Chiang Mai I stumbled upon a blog featuring this same temple. This beautiful, peaceful temple is Wat Phalada, hidden in the mountain side of Doi Suthep.