OK today is temple time for Chiang Mai Day #3 Kennett’s Tour. We had pre-booked Mr Kim again, as he really is a top bloke. Off to the mountains today for an adventure, with the key item to explore being Wat Prathat Doi Suthep Rajvoravihara (wow, say that after a few Singha’s). This is a mountain top Buddhist Wat (temple), and is flocked to by tourists, and you will see why shortly.
First up we have to leave the hotel, and Mum asks Jude and I to collect her hat from the room. So Jude did. Hey Senor!
“Mum, I have your hat for you!” says Baby Jude
About a 40-50 minute drive to get to the temple, as it is up and up and up, and weave, weave, weave. The amazing thing on the way up is that there are countless old Thai guys cycling it, as our jeepni is struggling and straining, they pedal on relentlessly. Mr Kim stopped about half way up at a vantage view point to show off his city, that he is very proud of. Have a look below, I think this is why Chiang Mai Day #3 Kennett’s Tour, will end up reaching double digits one day. It is such a wonderful place.
All along the road-sides are little food stalls, selling all and sundry foodstuffs. The smells and aromas are incredible and the price is dirt cheap.
Have a look at that view, and this is only half way up. The sprawling Chiang Mai beneath us, completed surrounded by beautiful lush mountains. So picturesque. Breath-taking.
And now a little more to the right, my turn to be camera-man. Quick one whilst on this photo – the weather was forecast to be rain/showers all week, and we saw not one drop of rain. So lucky. It has been slight cloud with blue skies and sunshine.
Just look at this place. So much yet unexplored too, more reason to come back!
Here is the outside of the Wat, check out the carvings and the gold-leaf, but believe me you have seen nothing yet. There is like an outer courtyard where you can meander with shoes on still, when you go in to the inner sanctum it is shoes off time and cover up for the ladies for respect.
A tad artsy with the focus, but here are water lotus flower candles, with overseeing Buddhas.
Closed lotus flowers now on top of a minaret, again a wee bit artsy going b&w, but this was just stunning set against the clear blue skies – oh yeah and this is 100% gold in real life colour. But you’ll see more of that soon.
A first for me. I assume this is a green glass Buddha, again dripping in gold. How stunning is this statue? So impressive.
And not just one, but two. Double wow factor!
Daddy-pedia time. The original founding of the temple remains a tad myth and legend, with a few versions of the potential truth. Some say the wat was originally founded in 1383 when the first stupa was constructed. Over time, of course, the temple was further expanded, and been made to look more extravagant with many more holy shrines and way more gold. The first and only road to the temple, the steep one we drove up, was first constructed in 1935.
Forever immortal? Well as long as the pen lasts. Kenno Family & Amy now written on this robe which will be, eventually, wrapped around the temple.
Now we’re getting serious. I assume this is an umbrella of sorts to shade from the sun. This umbrella is not dripping with water though, it is dripping with gold. So intricate, so beautiful.
So much gold, but lets show off the pure beauty of the stupa, and Buddhas. I think this is stone underneath, covered in ornate metal panels that you can see, and then overlaid with loads and loads of gold leaf – finally polished.
Check this out. The centre piece of the Wat, the stunning gold Stupa, along with family Kennett. You can’t help but just stand and stare (and ignore the pestering photographers asking you if you want them to take your picture).
This is again to the outside of the central Wat. So intricate you cannot ignore it. Just keep looking up, I implore you, if you happen to visit here. The silhouette against the sky is stunning.
Ornate outer buildings, showed off by #1 daughter. No idea what they are to be used for, but who cares. They all make you very snap-happy.
Spotted this little fella crawling across the wall. How cute is this – BUT – do not touch, as this little bugger contains toxins that cause major skin irritation. This ain’t for show, this is saying; “piss off birds, you want some of me, give it a go at your own risk!”
Literally everywhere you turn, and everywhere you look. Boom, boom, boom.
I always find this so intriguing. Do you remember blogs of Siam Reap? Here atop this mountain, dedicated to Buddha, sits a statue to Hinduism. Side by side in harmony. The way it should be!
This cracked me up, and has to come in the photos. Beauty everywhere, respect, silence, ladies covered up, shoes off, but hey cool we also have free wifi at the top of the mountain just in case I need to upload the latest IOS, or watch some YouTube. Amazing!
Sort of hidden, sort of not – hmmmm!
How absolutely mind-blowing is this ornate door. Where it goes, who knows, again who cares. Just stand and soak it up!
These carvings were on a pagoda’s ‘legs’ on the city view point – scenes of Ancient Thailand, or I suppose then Siam actually.
At special request; “Babe, get me a picture side on of me looking over the city.” Job done! Nice one babes!
Nice picture from the top – how beautiful is that! That surely is a keeper!
The weight of the world is on her shoulders, well Chiang Mai’s at least!
Jude and Amy go all Quasi on me; “The bells, the bells…”
SnapChat and WeChat have nothing on this!
Thank goodness Ollie had his shoes on, when we went inside and he had to take them off, the gold started melting of the Stupa.
A huge bell – this time all the way from Singapore, amazing!
But to get to the Wat you first have to climb something like 2,500 steps. Check this out, we are on our down, but check the next…
And here we are at the bottom about to climb up. Jude was amazing, he killed it with big boy steps, whereas Mary…
This chap is highly revered by all. Even our jeepni driver, Kim, had a special place on his necklace for him.
More Daddy-pedia, for Chiang Mai Day #3 Kennett’s Tour, according to legend, the monk above, named Sumanathera had a dream one night. In this dream he was told to go to Pang Cha and search for a relic. He traveled to Pang Cha and found a single bone. Many claim it was Buddha’s shoulder bone. It apparently had magic powers: it glowed, it could vanish, it could move about and copy itself. He took the relic to, the then, King Dhammaraja, who ruled Sukhothai. The King made offerings and hosted a ceremony when the monk arrived. Strangely the relic displayed no magic, and the King said to the monk you keep it.
King Nu Naone of another province, Lan Na, heard about this and asked the monk to visit. In 1368 the monk took it to what is now known as Lamphun, in Northern Thailand. The relic broke in two when it arrived. A small piece was put in to a temple in Suandok, and the larger bit was placed on the back of a white elephant by the King, and he then released it to the jungle.
Apparently that elephant climbed up the mountain to Doi Suthep, stood still, trumpeted 3 times and keeled over dead. Hey presto the King thought, well that’s clearly a sign and immediately ordered the construction of the Wat. How about that! The white elephant legend.
Now this will freak out the Brits reading this. Remember white elephant stalls when we were kids? Did you ever think that that term came from Thailand, actually the days of Siam? Woudl you ever! The term refers to an extravagant but burdensome gift that cannot be easily disposed of, based on the legend of the King of Siam giving away rare albino elephants to members of his court that had pissed him off, and they might be made bankrupt due to the animals upkeep costs.
A “white elephant sale” sells items that retain some value but have no intrinsic use; items are often referred to as, yep you got it, white elephants. As a Cub Scout aged 8, I had no idea about that – did you?
We need lunch now and Mr Kim has an idea. But first up we are to see a lovely little waterfall where he takes his kids of a weekend. Huai Keaw Waterfall. No tourists, as to be honest it is bloody hard to find. Just down from the zoo. Again more reason not to use tour buses and go with a local, and see the local things. Much better in my book!
Very Siam Reap, and Tomb Raider look and feel – such similarities when you get out of the city between there and Chiang Mai. Quite amazingly similar.
Lovely little waterfall here – I thought with all the apparent rain, it being the rainy season and all, it would have been a gushing torrent. But no…
A bit rocky for Baby Jude, so just the three of us in these photos.
And then Mr Kim takes us to an amazing place for lunch – Muan Huay Keaw Restaurant. If you get a chance make sure you go. In fact they are looking for someone to partner them or buy them out right now. I suggest you call them to allow them to give your driver directions, it is a little off the beaten track. Off the main road, down a side road, in to a small street, park, and walk down a back-alley – but then hey presto! +66 (0) 5389 2698, 31/2 Moo 2 Tambon Suthep, Srivichai Road, near Huai Keaw waterfall, Muang District.
Looking rather interesting so far, I am liking this a lot. This is an adventure all on its own!
Now that is not a bad little back-drop to have lunch next to, now is it? How stunning is that!
Almost like a tree house, up and down levels all over the place. Higgledy Piggledy is what I’d call it. We sat by the fans, yep it was hot. One down side was the flies, in fact the only down side. But what was the food like? Read on…
You saw us at the front entrance, by the fountain archway. You walk down some stairs with no idea if it is open or closed and then hit this uber cool corridor before getting to that treehouse place. Absolutely stunning little oasis in the middle of nowhere this is – but again how about the food?
My spicy sour soup with chicken, a Tom Kah Gai by any other name. OMG this was a cracker.I was thinking not so spicy, until I stirred it up a little and then the chillies came to the fore – BOOM! HOLY COW. Perfect balance of sweet, sour, salty, spicy – a belter.
See what I mean. A wee fish around at the bottom and look what showed up for some fun. Holy cow, how many Thai Bird’s Eyes. Phew!
My Mary goes for spicy sour soup with seafood. Sadly sh was not impressed. She thinks the prawns were actually river prawns, it was over spicy, like really does it need so much. So a mark down for this dish.
This was Jude’s and how good was this. Deep- fried pork ribs. Soft meat, but crispy fried with herbs like lemon grass. An absolute stonker of a dish.
Be still my aching heart, this is some death-row cuisine here. Deep fried beef. This is like jerky that has been dun dried and then deep fried, but marinated in spices too. And then add to that deep fired Kaffir lime leaves, genius! They were like lime chips with the superb deep fried beef. Holy shit, what a pairing. Brilliant. I’ll be nicking that idea for home and ChillaxBBQ.
Ollie goes for his usual favourite of Laab Moo, spicy pork salad. Now we both had a taste of this and could not work out what the secret ingredient was. There was something in there that was not in the normal recipe we have had – what was it? So annoying. And then hey presto he pulls out a lump of liver – ta dah! Now that’s different!
We are going to give you a major 4+ out of 5, Muan Huay Keaw Restaurant. Our lunch was exceptional thank you. The restaurant itself was a stand out for the look and feel and surrounding country-side. Unique I have to say. Loved it. And then the food, BOOM. Apart from a wee slip up for the wife, I’d give you top marks. Exceptional food. If we come back, we will be back absolutely!
Slow drive home, chillax in the room and hey presto we’re ready to eat again. Man have we eaten on this holiday! In to a tuk tuk and off we go to The Service 1921, but bugger it is booked solid, so I book for tomorrow for dinner. We have to try this place. Shit where now? As we walk up, I remember the tuk tuk driver from the night before saying you must try The River Market, it’s really good.
How cool is this place, looking good so far, looking good. I like it. To my immediate right one set of 2-seat tables, then a little grass and then the river. What a beautiful view as the light draws in.
And a little snap back now from the river, see Ollie bottom right going back in after a good mosquito spray covering (word from the wise – Chiang Mai is on a river folks, bring LOADS of spray and patches!)
Happy families yet again – despite a few arguments, usually caused by iPhones and iPads, but the food and location/location/location absolutely brought us all together continuously. How could it not. Happy Days!
Oysters up first for Ollie and Mary, all thew way from Australia, with some wicked chili sauce which caused a lot of coughing. But feedback was, super-fresh, and deliciously sweet.
Ollie goes off-piste with a new dish, sort of a hybrid Tom Kha Gai but with salmon. Ollie commented though that it has everything right – sweet, sour, spicy but missing the salt. I ordered a little fish sauce, in goes that and hey presto it’s a winner. Little note to restaurant, little more salt please in this one – it was cracking after the fish sauce addition – just saying like.
I went for this absolutely spanking Massaman Curry. This was so complex in flavour, ever-so tender beef, and scrummy veggies. Cinnamon, Cumin, Cardamon, Turmeric and much more. Absolutely superb curry, with great spice hit too, seriously good!
Amy goes for roast pork belly, to be honest this was more of a char siew in Singaporean terms. Pretty good. One slight hiccup is that it comes with a chili sauce as you can see, so number 1 plate was rejected by Amy. Number 2 plate was OK though for her (phew).
Mary goes for roast lamb skewers which were awesome, perfectly cooked, juicy, charred and so savoury. Great work The RIver Market, great work!
Baby Jude’s chicken satay skewers, damned fine they were too. He wolfed these down (minus the spicy peanut dip of course).
Son-in-law eggs. I really wanted to try these as it mentioned eggs, hard boiled, egg yolk mixed with spices and tamarind. What’s inside them I asked. I don’t know. Could you find out? Finally, mustard was explained as being in there. OK I’ll have a go, sounds yummy. First bite – BOOM, whacking great big hot of fish paste – now that was not mentioned! Over to you Laurel. One call out to the restaurant, staff should know what is in the food guys!
“So how was that dinner Baby Jude?” “I loved it thanks Dad, I am a happy boy!”
And finally a short video clip up at the Wat. The truly incredible scenery and view from the top (no wonder the white elephant chose to come up here), and the kids going Quasimodo on us with the bells, the bells.
So there you have it folks, Chiang Mai Day #3 Kennett’s Tour. What an absolutely cracking day thanks to our mate Mr Kim. Some finds and experiences we would never have had on a normal organised tour. Call out would be temple, and lunch – memories that will never be forgotten, and will be recommendations for any that visit this beautiful city. You simply must try these two and it is perfect to do in one day, oh yeah and you get to see the rather beautiful waterfall too (bring swimmers and get in the water too). If you do come and you do try I am 100% certain that you will indeed – ENJOY!!!