Doi Sotep Temple
Doi Sotep Mountain, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Doi Sotep Temple Chiang Mai Reviews
Jun 17, 2006
Aside from the usual elephant rides and Trekking tours, a visit to Chiang Mai should include a visit to the temple on the Doi Sotep mountain. Visible from the city, this temple was founded by a monk who was guided on the placement of the temple by a holy white elephant. Today, the temple is the spiritual center of Chiang Mai, and every year, freshmen at the University of Chiang mai must make the 15km hike and climb 300 plus stairs to reach the temple.
The temple itself is large and magnificent. With large Naga statues lining the staircase, and covered in classic Thai reflective tiles, the temple has dozens of photographic oportunities. The temple is used to toursits, both Thai and foreigners, and you will have good opportunities to see monks and worshippers in a tourist accepting environment. There are lots of hands on, including bells and drums that you are encouraged to sound, and plenty of opportunities for offerings of incense, light, and lotus flowers.
This center piece of this temple is a large golden stuppa that covers a Buddhist Relic - a piece of the Buddha. There is a legend that this Stuppa was covered in concrete to hide it during war. Only when a renovation was planned did they discover that it was made of pure gold with only a concrete covering. These stories are common to Thai Buddhist statues, but it is fun to imagine. Surrounding the Stuppa are a number of altars, there are stands nearby to get offerings, and someone will be happy to show you how to provide the offering.
In addition to the many interesting Buddhist statues and practices, there is a fantastic view of the city of Chiang Mai, if the weather is clear enough. Also, just outside of the temple is a large Jade jewelry shop. The Orchid Jade factory is the jewler that produced the emerald Buddha that sits in the Doi Sotep. Although the emerald Buddha in the temple is glass, the factory has a very good reputation for the quality and price of their jade.
Getting a ride to the temple is easy, most drivers know of it, but a tour company might also provide a tour guide if you are interested in the history. The ride there is up a long twisty road, but food and water are available at the temple. There are also several good viewpoints on the way up.
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