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LOST IN TIME - A Day Wandering in Old Chiang Mai

LOST IN TIME

Next stop is Wat Jed Lin, a beautiful temple located almost one kilometre from Buak Had Park. Its visit is worth the walk, plus, visiting the old city in the morning, you will enjoy the sight of monks silently walking back to their temple.

Jed Lin is a temple from the 16th century, located on Prapoklao Road. As you enter the temple grounds, large black metal gongs line the path which you can use the soft mallet to gently hit the gongs causing it to emanate a wonderful tone. As you walk towards the rear, there is a beautiful bamboo bridge lined with umbrella and colorful banners. As you cross the bridge, look down to see tortoises, crabs and many birds living amongst the still lily filled water. At the rear of the viharn is a tall stone chedi. Temple enthusiasts might like to know that this chedi is in the Mondop style - each of its four sides has a niche with buddha statue inside. Close to the bridge is a little secluded coffee shop which serves organic coffee. A nice a relaxing place to have your morning’s latte. (See City Map E4)

Walking to the heart of the old city, you will meet with many beautiful and old temples, one of them is the famous Chedi Luang temple, noted for its enormous ruined chedi. The structure was originally built in 1401, enlarged and raised to a height of 300 feet by King Tilokaraja and destroyed by an earthquake in 1545. In this temple you have the opportunity to chat with monks, every day from 9 am. to 6 pm. There are tables off to the side of the main sanctuary where young monks sit and will talk to you on a drop-in basis. (See City Map E4)

Next to it is Pan Tao temple, one of the most beautiful Lanna-style temples in Chiang Mai. The temple’s walls are made wholly of wood panels and a roof resting entirely on wooden columns. The doors and windows of the ordination hall are decorated with exceptionally fine gilded stucco work. Over the pelmet is a gilded carving of a peacock over a crouching dog. Naga serpents and other mythological figures are also depicted. This ordination hall was originally a throne hall during the reign of King Mahotara Prathet. It is now where the sacred Pan Tao buddha image is enshrined. This temple is one of the older temples of Chiang Mai, its structures were likely built towards the end of the 14th century. (See City Map E4)

The first place to visit within the old city is Buak Had Park, a particularly attractive setting where you can relax and enjoy serene surroundings. This park is artistically designed and maintained, with large expanses of lawned areas, many eye-catching seasonal flower displays, water features, food stalls, and endless picnicking opportunities. A large area located on the left side of the park is dedicated to children with swings and games. Early morning, look for community members practicing Qigong at around 6.30 am (you are welcome to join). Later in the evening, watch for Thai men playing Takraw (traditional Thai sport) at around 6 pm. (See City Map D4)

When it comes to lunch time, take a break and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere at Fah Tara Cafe. Nestled in the heart of the old city, this cafe is a pleasant oasis - the perfect place to rest during your visit of the old city. Connected to the equally beautiful Fah Lanna Spa, this coffee-shop has a rich and earthy atmosphere with Northern Thai decorative touches. Inside, you will find comfortable and large leather sofas and wooden furniture. The back of the cafe hides a quiet little patio with lush of greenery and water feature. Both spots are refreshing and relaxing! Don’t miss tasting house’s signature drink: Fah Tara Tropical (a freshly blended lemonade infused with a blend of Thai herbs) and for lunch, indulge in one of their delicious Thai dishes such as Shrimp Pad Thai (both sweet and tangy with the perfect amount of peanuts taste on top) or Chicken Khao Soi (a Lanna speciality of noodle curry soup). If you are missing European cuisine, go for one of their salad or a delicious all day-breakfast. (See City Map E3) Fah Tara Cafe Lanna Folklife Museum

Walking a few hundreds meters from Fah Tara Cafe, you will arrive at the Lanna Folklife Museum. This museum, located right in the centre of the old city, is a great introduction to the history of the people in Chiang Mai area. It is well done with tableaus that really bring the history to life. (open 9am to 4pmclosed on Mondays). (See City Map E3)

And, as Chiang Mai is also a city of art, discover the beautiful Supachet Studio and meet with renowned artist Supachet Bhumakarn. The studio is located on Ratchadamnoen Road, just 100 meters from the Lanna Folklife Museum. Inspired by rabbits and elephants, this charming gallery and shop is run by the artist, who crafts acrylic and oil paintings figurines, silver jewelry and statues of animals. Often the artist will be at work at second floor of his studio, it’s a gallery full with creative paintings and he is always up for a friendly chat with visitors about his work. In this studio, you can buy Supachet’s artwork on large canvas or on smaller bookmarks, gift cards, t-shirts, bags and ceramics. (See City Map E4)

Last but not least, you cannot leave Chiang Mai city without shopping at the Sunday Walking Street. Regarded as the best and the model of all walking streets in Thailand, the Sunday Walking Street of Chiang Mai has become one of the top tourist activity in Chiang Mai. And even local residents visit once in a while and get a foot massage. Every Sunday, the Chiang Mai Walking Street serves as a venue for all kinds of local events, from dance recitals to beauty pageants and music shows. The street offers a vibrant spectrum of arts, crafts, music, and food with hand made quality goods and souvenirs that echo the spirit of Northern Thailand. (See City Map E4)

As you can see, Chiang Mai’s old city has a lot to offer and the best way to see it is to take the time and wander in the streets of the old city! Enjoy your holiday

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Poo Poo Paper Park