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Wat Doi Suthep, Chang Mai - A Not So Spiritual Journey
The Buddhist Temples in Thailand are simply
impressive. This is particularly true of Wat
Doi Suthep, the mountain temple outside Chang
Wat Doi Suthep
More or less located on the top of Suthep Mountain,
Wat Doi Suthep is a day trip from the city. You’ll
notice I didn’t write an “easy” day
trip. When the Thais build a mountain temple,
they’re serious about the mountain aspect.
Suthep Mountain is large as is the road winding
up it. I had planned to rent a mountain bike
and ride up to it early in the morning. While
sitting in a beverage establishment the previous
evening, the bartender had to take a minute to
himself to stop laughing after revealed my plans.
I wasn’t sure if this was because I was
actually in the establishment or because of the
road up the mountain.
The next morning I was a little less enthusiastic
about my riding plans, so much so I rented a
moped. Off I went and, after a few wrong turns,
I was headed up the mountain. I felt a bit guilty
as I passed a few people riding bikes up the
hill. As I putted up the hill, I thought the
exercise would have done me well. Up I went enjoying
the view. And up I went and went and went. If
there had been any turns off the road, I would’ve
sworn I had taken a wrong turn.
It turns out the ride from Chang Mai to the
Wat was something like 22 miles. All of it up
hill at a grade that would get a whimper out
of Tour de France rider. The people riding up
the hill were definitely not professional riders.
It was like watching a progression of misery.
The higher you went, the more unhappy the looked.
Pulling into the parking lot for the Wat was
like pulling into a disaster zone. Twenty or
so bikers were sprawled out on the ground in
various states of agony. Some appeared to have
ridden to a soft looking spot and just fallen
over. Most were saying things like, “Never
I spend an hour up at Wat Doi Suthep overlooking
the valley below. It is definitely worth a day
trip from Chang Mai. Just don’t try to
mountain bike to it. I never saw any of the wounded
in the parking lot actually come into the Wat!
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