Beyond the beaches of Phuket and the traffic crush of Bangkok, another side of Thailand is waiting to be discovered in the far north of the country : the Chiang Mai state. This mountainous region has stunning lush green landscapes, sleepy villages and even in Chiang Mai city, the former buttocks of the Lanna Kingdom, the standard atmosphere is distinctly slack and laid-back .
hera excessively are temples that rival the smasher of their counterparts in the southerly capital. fabulous Thai restaurants, adenine well as those selling modern international cuisine, are ample, as are excellent hotels. We besides visited an enchanting eco-village where homestays are the ordain of the day. And throughout the area, a countless of ancient craftworks are placid made just as they were hundreds of years ago. This is the charming Thailand that I discovered recently during my beginning visit to this captivating function of Asia .

The Lanna Kingdom

Chiang Mai was once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom which covered most of Northern Thailand arsenic well as parts of Myanmar ( once Burma ), China and Laos. Known as the kingdom of a million rice fields, it was founded in the thirteenth Century. Its architecture and cuisine are distinct from that of its neighbor Siam ( now central and southerly Thailand ) and, as I was soon to discover, it has a very ample tradition in arts and crafts .
Rice fields in bad boy valley, Chiang Mai province of Thailand Rice fields in bad boy valley, Chiang Mai province of Thailand

Chiang Mai was the main deal township between southerly China and the ocean ports of Burma, making it a fiercely sought after prize. The city held off manque invaders for many centuries before ultimately falling to Burma in 1557. For the adjacent 200 years, it passed between the hands of Burma and Siam, before finally becoming separate of Siam in 1892. In the mid twentieth hundred Siam became known as Thailand, the country of the rid .
Monuments, Sites and Cultural Landscape of Chiang Mai, Capital of Lanna, sport on their probationary list of World Heritage Sites – a desirable submission .

Wat Phra Singh Temple, Chiang Mai City

It ’ mho my first dawn in Thailand. As I walk towards the Wihan Lai Kham in the Wat Phra Singh Buddhist synagogue complex, a sandbag view makes me catch my hint — two gloriously golden chedi radiance brilliantly in the sunlight. While I ’ five hundred seen photograph of chedi or stupa like this ahead, nothing can compare to seeing them with your own eyes. A feel of gratitude washes over me as I think of how lucky I am to be here. We are besides lucky that they have recently been restored and that, having arrived early, there aren ’ t besides many people around .
Phra That Luang Chedi, the largest golden chedi in the Wat Phra Singh temple complex in Chiang Mai. Phra That Luang Chedi, the largest golden chedi in the Wat Phra Singh temple complex in Chiang Mai.
The oldest structure in the wat, which means synagogue complex, is the larger Phra That Luang Chedi built in 1345 by King Pha Yu to enshrine his church father ’ s ashes. Over the years it has been enlarged several times. It dominates the building complex and for me was the most affect build. I was wholly beguiled by its aureate veneer and the four elephants, one on each english emerging from the base .
The highly revered Buddha, Phra Buddha Sihing housed in the Wihan Lau Kham in the Wat Phra Singh temple complex in Chaing Mai, Thailand The highly revered Buddha, Phra Buddha Sihing housed in the Wihan Lau Kham in the Wat Phra Singh temple complex in Chaing Mai, Thailand

If you ’ re besides thinking of besides visiting south Thailand confirmation out this post from Travel Photo Discovery .

The highly revered Buddha, Phra Buddha Sihing housed in the Wihan Lau Kham in the Wat Phra Singh temple complex in Chaing Mai, ThailandThe highly revered Buddha, Phra Buddha Sihing housed in the Wihan Lau Kham in the Wat Phra Singh temple complex in Chaing Mai, Thailand
The Wihan Lau Kham ( featured picture and above ) was built some years late to house the highly august Phra Buddha Sihing statue and is said to be one of the finest examples of Lanna computer architecture. Inside, stunning decorations adorn the walls, window shutters, doors, and column. once a year during the Songkran Festival, the Phra Buddha Sihing statue is carried through the streets of Chiang Mai. It is said to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing Buddha statues in Thailand, even its origins remain elusive. local caption says it is over 1,500 years old and originates from Sri Lanka .
The Wat Phra Singh temple complex in Chaing Mai, Thailand The Wat Phra Singh temple complex in Chaing Mai, Thailand
Golden statues of good monks remembered in the Wat Phra Singh temple complex in Chaing Mai, Thailand Golden statues of good monks remembered in the Wat Phra Singh temple complex in Chaing Mai, Thailand
As I wander around the complex I come across 9 fortunate statues, each one a compare of a different monk. They are beautiful and then expressive. I take a consequence to enjoy the solitude with each in twist. When I rejoin my lead, he explains that statues like this, life-size and highly accurate, are made to remember good monks that have passed aside. He points out, however, that not all monks are good, but that bad monks are forgiven .
The Wat Phra Singh temple Chaing Mai, Thailand The Wat Phra Singh temple Chaing Mai, Thailand
My time at the complex is running out and there is so far more to see, including the Ubosot. Built in 1806, it has two entrances – one for monks and one for nuns. Inside are a phone number of Buddhas, including a beautiful copy of the Emerald Buddha ( a stunning tire Buddha immediately in Bangkok ), and a smaller copy of the Phra Buddha Sihing. Four more fabulously life-like statues of august monks can besides be seen hera ( photograph below ).

Inside the Ubosot in the Wat Phra Singh temple Chiang Mai, Thailand Inside the Ubosot in the Wat Phra Singh temple Chiang Mai, Thailand
Wihan Luang in Wat Phra Singh temples complex in Chiang Mai, Thailand Wihan Luang in Wat Phra Singh temples complex in Chiang Mai, Thailand
In the 16th and 17th centuries, the wat was completely neglected and not restored until the 1920s. The largest build in the wat is the Wihan Luang ( above ) built in 1925 on the site of the original Wihan which dated back to the fourteenth century. Inside is the highly idolize Buddha statue, Phra Chao Thong Tip. Made of aureate and copper, it was cast in 1477 and is a stunning sight indeed .
Phra Chao Thong Tip, Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, Thailand Phra Chao Thong Tip, Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, Thailand
The temple library, the Ho Trai, is said to be another fine example of classical Lanna architecture. sadly, I miss seeing it – I am already late and my steer and fellow travellers are waiting to leave .
Visiting the Wat Phra Singh Temple in Chiang Mai was a identical move experience and this was just the start of my Thailand adventure. The scenery was beautiful, as were the temples and the crafts in the workshop we visited. The hotels we stayed in were ace and everyone we met was so welcome. And did I mention the food ? Superb – I ’ ve therefore a lot more to share with you .
But there is one thing above all else that I ’ ll remember from my sojourn to Thailand and that is the sound of laughter. My sister once asked my grandma, who had travelled the earth herself, where, out of all the places she ’ five hundred visited, she had found the nicest people. She replied that Thailand ( or Siam as it would have been when my grandma was there ) had the happiest and nicest people she ’ five hundred ever met. Some eighty years on, I wouldn ’ triiodothyronine disagree. They are undoubtedly amongst the friendliest people you could hope to meet, always greeting you with a smile. I know of a few countries on a par with this, but never have I been in another country and heard so much laughter .

Need to Know

The Wat Phra Singh Temple is open daily from 6 am. entrance fee is free and, while not the most reverence temple in Chiang Mai, out of the 300 plus temples found in the area, it is said to be the one that you must see. It is located inside the old city walls in the kernel of Chiang Mai at the conclusion of Ratchadamnoen Road. As with all Buddhist temples, shorts are not allowed as your knees must be covered, as must your shoulders. There are well looked after toilet facilities within the complex that are besides free of charge. In decree to enter any of the buildings, you must remove your shoes .
You ’ ll find more ideas about things to do in Chiang Mai in this stake from Kavey Eats .

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai

I stayed at the beautiful riverside boutique hotel, Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Hotel and the epicurean Le Méridian Chiang Mai. Both hotels were highly dependable and centrally located for discovering the best of the old city. You can read more about both these hotels, angstrom well as rural homestays, in my post about the best places to stay in Chaing Mai .

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Discovering the Lanna Kingdom and the Wat Phra Singh temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand Discovering the Lanna Kingdom and the Wat Phra Singh temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand
disclosure : I visited Thailand as a node of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, AmazingThailand.org .

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