The famous Doi Suthep Temple at Sunrise
Early morning Market
Almsgiving for Monks
Wat Palad, a forest Temple
Wat U Mong and its underground galleries
House of Gods & Goddesses (Ganesh Museum)
Doi Suthep early morning
Here, no tourists
Few tourists visit the temple of Doi Suthep in this way. That is why we strongly recommend this excursion, leaving at 5am from the city, accompanied by our driver/guide Khun Wet, a former Buddhist monk much appreciated by our customers (because very appreciable).
While the Rose of the North is still asleep, you will benefit from roads without traffic. First stop, in short, in a market that is open early in the morning - where monks already receive offerings and where you will buy offerings. Not far from there, you will surprise the barely awake little who devote themselves to the first prayers in a magnificent wooden temple in the heart of the moat. Once at the top of Doi Suthep, the name of the sacred mountain, your eyes will embrace Chiang Mai at night. The goal is to arrive at the foot of the temple before 6am in order to admire the beautifully illuminated chedi. Once the 306 steps have been climbed (the funicular is not yet open), you will attend the monks' ceremonies and then the sunrise. At 7am, you will have the privilege of seeing an original food offering - tak bat, ตักบาตร in Thai - ceremony attracting rare and courageous pilgrims and then visiting the temple in question, the most venerated in northern Thailand. On the way down, stop at Wat Palad, a temple of forest monks that will give you the most beautiful memory. It's a hidden gem that we're unveiling here.
Extending the excursion, the visit of Wat U Mong, a very original temple (with its underground galleries, once painted). Then that of the nearby Wat Rampoeng, a temple that specializes in meditative retreats and walking meditation (perhaps you will see its followers indulging in this amazing practice). In the end, it is another pearl of Chiang Mai that will be revealed to you, an artistic one: the House of Artists, Gods and Goddesses, a place where few tourists venture. A large wooden Ganesh is offered to your admiration. But what makes it so charming is to admire young artists at work (you will then become aware of their exceptional artistic work). Although this is a successive visit of four temples, their diversity and originality will pleasantly brighten up your morning, which will then be filled to perfection.
Option 1, shortened: lasting 4 hours (from 5am to 9am), it stops at the visit of Wat Palad. From 2'250.-
Option 2, whole: lasting 7 hours (from 5am to noon), it includes all the above-mentioned visits. From THB 2'950.-
Sierra had this memorable experience and she tells you about it in her own way on her blog The Floral Society.
Wake up early to leave at 5am. Is it really worth it?
Yes, because it is one of the most important excursions for our guests. On the one hand, by the surprise of the visit of the Doi Suthep at sunrise: you will be alone or almost alone (whereas it is the most visited temple in Chiang Mai). On the other hand, because what will most likely leave its mark on you is Wat Palad, a temple of the forest nestled on the banks of a river. Not to mention the privilege of being accompanied by Khun Wet, a former Buddhist monk, to these spiritual places.
Two of the temples claim to be so, discover the Thai Forest Tradition, specific to Thai Theravada Buddhism.
Khun Wet will pick you up at night. 5am; come back to your hotel around 9am or noon (depending on the option chosen). Prices include driver/guide, local minibus travel (with gas), the entrance fee to the temples, the purchase of offerings to monks and indicated visits. No meals or drinks are included. Khun Wet, who himself takes care of his hosts, speaks a little English; otherwise, he will choose a replacement. For a higher number of people, it is maybe possible but only on request. This tour can be done all year round. The lighting of the chedi of the Doi Suthep temple depends on the season. The places of visit can vary according to your interests (agree on place with Khun Wet). Subject to change due to circumstances. Photos are not contractual.
By going to the market before sunrise, meeting young moinillons praying at dawn, participating in almsgiving with pilgrims at the Doi Suthep Temple, discovering a lost temple, you will feel much closer to the inhabitants and their customs than the majority of tourists who are content to visit the magnificent Doi Suthep Temple. What's more, by doing it with our lovely driver, Khun Wet, former monk, it will complete your immersion. A most authentic tour, believe us!