Wat Doi Suthep - or formally Wat Phra That Doi Suthep - was introduced to us as the "must-see" temple in Chiang Mai. About 15 minutes outside of town, and atop the Doi Suthep mountain, it has a reputation for incredible architecture and impressive views. Wat Doi Suthep is a well touristed temple - so getting there is very simple and very inexpensive. At the bottom of Doi Suthep mountain, there are line-ups of red Songthaews (similar to tuk-tuks) waiting to take you to the temple. We had a motorbike (which I highly reccomend renting if you are comfortable on a bike) so we gathered directions and found the temple on our own.
The drive up to the temple is fun, full of turns, and beautiful. It is very easy to tell once you have reached the parking area as there are plenty of food and clothing shops, and tell-tale taxis, songthaews, monks and tourists gathered everywhere. Once parked, we headed up some serious stairs to get to the temple.
This temple did have an entrance fee - unlike the other temples we visited in Chiang Mai. Foreigners pay 30 baht to enter the temple grounds, which is $1.10 Canadian - so not bad at all.
The grounds of Wat Doi Suthep are definitly buzzing with more activity than the grounds of other temples in the area. While there are plenty of foreigners taking in the site, there are also plenty of locals ready to share their culture and/or visit a temple that is very sacred to them.
In line with all Southeast Asia temples, every turn, corner, and hidden site is a photo-op. I absoloutly love how detailed and intricate the temples are.
After exploring the temple - we attended a small, private yoga class that consisted of all expats - we were the only tourists there (we know people who know people hahaha). It was such a nice experience for us - but of course a little too private for any photos. We headed to the famous street food spot on Chiang Mai Gate south for dinner, and after finding a vegetarian vendor we grabbed several plates of food all for $120 Baht ($4.40 Canadian Dollars) and ate until our bellies ached.
Another lovely day in Chiang Mai!