OAT = Oh! Another temple

Trip Start Jan 28, 2013
Trip End Mar 09, 2013

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Flag of Thailand  , Chiang Mai,
Saturday, February 9, 2013

Early morning wake up so that we could travel to a temple area to give food to the monks. The monks walk through the streets, only stopping when someone says "please" in Thai. People bring their own best cooking or purchase a plate of food to place in a monk's bowl. After receiving the food, the monks chant a thank you to Buddha. Other people also bring flowers for the Buddha in the temple.

After breakfast at the hotel, we traveled to Wat Saun Dok, a temple in what was the Royal Flower Garden for the king of Chiang Mai. The garden contains ashes of the royal family in stupas and also has a larger stupa with an ash from Buddha. The area surrounding the temple is now the University of Chiang Mai, so many monks come here to study. We had the opportunity to meet for an hour with one of the Burmese monks who had been studying anthropology at the University. He explained about his life and about Buddhism and answered our many questions.

The beautiful Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep Temple is high on the mountain above Chiang Mai. It is located in the place where long ago an elephant carrying a Buddha ash stopped. Once a year people walk the six miles between the two temples. The road up to the temple is steep, full of hairpin turns, and we took a funicular up to the top rather than climb the last 306 steps. There were many beautiful statutes of Buddha. We also watched people "earning Merit" by chanting as they walked around the Buddah stupa carrying lotus flowers and lighting incense.

We ate lunch in a market below the temple and returned to the hotel for a few hours. We ended the day with a home-hosted dinner. The six in my group were invited to join Tong and her family in their lovely home. We started off with a delicious tea, then learned to make a leaf-wrapped dessert of sticky rice and banana. Following a tour of her home, we had a delicious dinner.
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