The sacred temple nestled in Doi Suthep is accessible by winding roads that snake up the lush green mountains.

Entrance to the sacred temple.
Entrance to the sacred temple after climbing 309 steps.

It was still early in the day and a visit to the famous temple nearby sounded like a great way to pass the afternoon. The rather exhilarating scooter ride up, if not precarious, took a little over a half an hour and I’m happy to say that no flashpackers were injured in the making of this post.

Bird’s Eye View

Impressive views of Chiang Mai from Doi Suthep.
Panoramic view of Chiang Mai from Doi Suthep.

The view point located on the far side of the temple affords some gorgeous views overlooking Chiang Mai (after wiggling through all the people vying for the perfect selfie), where you can see the entirety of the Old City all the way to the newly constructed international airport.

Stupa Pagoda (Golden Chedi)

Golden mount in the interior of the temple.
Golden mount in the interior of the temple.

According to the ticket info: “The famous Golden Chedi of Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, 79 feet high and 39 feet across at its base, is covered with engraved gold plate.”

Many Thais were circling the Golden Chedi, clasping what looked like single white orchids and prayer pamphlets. Still others lit incense at various shrines or received blessings from the buddhist monks. It was interesting to witness the odd juxtaposition of spirituality and tourism. Not pictured: the throngs of onlookers (including me) snapping photos of everything and anything.

Very Detail Oriented

Ornate detail on the doors to the temple hall.
Gold detail on the doors to the temple hall.

I couldn’t get enough of all the tiny little details lovingly looked after in the temple, from the ornate patterns on paper lanterns to the various inscriptions on prayer bells and statues. Also, how cute is that temple kitty though? The scooter ride back down the mountain was a bit more, shall we say, hair-raising. But it was a fun, death defying experience nonetheless.