Thailand 2012: Flying to Chiang Mai; views from Doi Suthep

Date: 22nd November 2012

We had our hotel book us a van taxi to take us to Phuket airport. Our Air Asia flight was at 10:35am, and even though the van taxi had to pick up other passengers, we all got to the airport on time. We didn’t have breakfast, so the Dunkin Donuts at the departures area was where we stopped first after checking-in and collecting our boarding passes.

Air Asia Phuket flight interiors
It’s been a while since I flew Air Asia
Flying over Chiang Mai Thailand
There weren’t any delays and the flight left on time
Phuket tributary Thailand from sky
Goodbye sun and sand
Archipelago Phuket islands from sky
Quite an archipelago

Clouds rivers out to sea PhuketRivers out to sea Phuket aerial view

Clouds over hills Thailand
One and half hours later, we were flying over Chiang Mai province

We landed on time, and ready and waiting for our arrival was the driver assigned to pick us up from Chiang Mai international airport. The driver was courtesy of Rux Thai, the hotel we were staying at. Rux Thai is where I first stayed at when I came to Chiang Mai in 2009, and again when I returned in 2010. Needless to say, I booked at Rux Thai a third time after I e-mailed them and got a good deal (āļŋ500 per night) for a twin room on the ground floor for three nights.

After checking-in and freshening up, we had a late lunch at an English pub on Loi Kroh road.

Sign The Olde Bell Chiang Mai Thailand
He he

After that, we went around looking for a bike to rent. I recommended riding uphill to Doi Suthep and assured Ramesh it’s a “must-do”. Unfortunately, the bikes we wanted – a Yamaha Fino – were unavailable at most places or too costly. We had no intention of keeping the bike until tomorrow as we would be going for a tour. At one renters, all the Honda Clicks and similar bikes refused to start! (Why is this such a common problem?) 🙂

Instead, a songthaew (pick-up taxi) approached us and ended up offering us a deal to take us to the top and drop us back for what it would have cost us to rent two bikes.

Songthaew back view Chiang Mai
Not as fun as riding a bike ourselves, but it was getting late
Chiang Mai canal evening
This was my third time going to Doi Suthep, so by now I had familiarized this route
Chiang Mai girls scooters Yamaha Fino
Sigh, Yamaha Finos. Sigh, the local copycats.
Going up Doi Suthep road
I can’t recommend it enough, when in Chiang Mai, rent a bike and go up Doi Suthep hill
Cycling up Doi Suthep Chiang Mai
Cycling is a very popular activity here, but I don’t think I have the stamina for it!
Dog food steps Doi Suthep Chiang Mai
The songthaew driver told us he would wait for us; we prepared to climb the flights of steps
Furry dog steps Doi Suthep Chiang Mai
A furry dog’s life
Steps Doi Suthep Chiang Mai Thailand
It was tiring to climb up these steps with my heavy Kata camera backpack — something I didn’t have to deal with the last time I came here
Doi Suthep temple pillar Chiang Mai
Also, the last time I was at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, there were some repair work going on
Doi Suthep pagoda Chiang Mai Thailand
In 2009, there was a lot of scaffolding around the pagoda

Doi Suthep brass umbrella Thailand

Inside Doi Suthep prayer hall Chiang Mai
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is just one among the many famous temples of Chiang Mai
Young girl Doi Suthep temple Thailand
Locals and tourists alike come here in droves

Doi Suthep temple statues Chiang Mai

Emerald buddha statue Doi Suthep Thailand
The emerald Buddha

Thai praying Doi Suthep Chiang MaiDoi Suthep guard statue ThailandDoi Suthep mythical design Thai templeCandles Doi Suthep Chiang Mai ThailandDoi Suthep temple Chiang Mai panorama
Once the sun had fully set, the lights were switched on, making the pagoda look all the more precious.

Doi Suthep golden temple at night Thailand

Buddhist monk banging gong Chiang Mai Thailand
It was now time for some procession
Doi Suthep prayer ceremony Chiang Mai Thailand
Everyone sat down on the floor as the monks chanted… and did something

Candles Doi Suthep Chiang Mai templeMonk gold statue Doi Suthep Chiang MaiBut I soon left the temple and went back out.

Bells Doi Suthep Chiang Mai at night
Yay, bells
Visitors Doi Suthep Chiang Mai Thailand
I joined Ramesh, who was outside, soaking in the night views of Chiang Mai city
Chiang Mai night sky panorama
I set up my tripod to take this shot

Chiang Mai night lights from Doi Suthep hill

Lights people shadow at night Thailand
It was time for everyone to leave as Wat Phra That Doi Suthep was closing up
Mithun Doi Suthep Chiang Mai temple
So we took a few photos of ourselves before we left
Dog steps Doi Suthep
Awww, the dog is still here 🙁
Icon Square Richly Rich Chiang Mai
We got back to the city in the same taxi
Soho hostel Chiang Mai Thailand
After offloading some weight off our backs, we walked down Loi Kroh road. Came across this brand new hostel; might have to try it out sometime.
Chiang Mai night market vendors
We made our way to the night market
Chiang Mai night market tree Thailand
Ramesh bought some stuff. I didn’t find anything new since my last visit here in 2010.
Singing police man Chiang Mai night market
There are a lot of live performances going on at the Night Market. This was a (real) police man trying to raise funds. Seemed genuine, so we tipped him.
Live rock band Chiang Mai Thailand
We sat down at this very popular bar (as per the Tripadvisor recommendation they proudly displayed). Ramesh and I ordered a few drinks and enjoyed the live band.

And that was it for our first night in Chiang Mai. Tomorrow, we would be going to Laos! 🙂

Next posts in this series:

Thailand 2012: Golden Triangle tour – White Temple, Mekong River, Mae Sai, and entering Laos

Loy Krathong 2012: Yeepeng Lanna in Chiang Mai – A second chance to do it right

Previous posts in this series:

Thailand 2012: Phuket beach hopping and bike ride to Promthep Cape

Thailand 2012: James Bond island, Koh Panyee village and Wat Suwan Kuha

Thailand 2012: Terminal 21 mall; Bangkok to Phuket by bus

Thailand 2012: Far end of Jomtien Beach; back to Bangkok

Thailand 2012: The Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya

Thailand 2012: Landing in Pattaya

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