This has apparently been one of the hottest years that they’ve had in Thailand for over 40 years. We’ve all been wondering when the hot season is going to give way to the rainy season but as of a couple of days ago it seems that the weather is finally starting to transition. This was evident by the rain from the thunderstorm pounding so heavily on the poor little tin roof of my bedroom so as to make any sort of sleep nearly impossible. It seems that nightly thunderstorms are becoming a trend, so luckily I’ve gotten better at sleeping through them!
The smoothies here are also super addictive (picture a smoothie made purely of the freshest mangos) so I may have been eating too many of those lately….. But I also feel partially justified because how am I going to know which place sells the best smoothies if I don’t try them all first??
As I had mentioned when I first got to Thailand, one thing that really stuck out to me is the sheer number of temples scattered throughout the city and around every corner. We have been able to visit a few of these as group excursions which has been really neat getting to compare the similarities and differences between the some of the many temples.
One temple that we went to is called Doi Suthep and as my professor explained it, its significance as a religious building is similar to that which might be placed on the Salt Lake City Temple. The oldest part of the temple cite is thought to be from around the late 1300s although it has obviously had quite a few additions and renovations since then. Even the mountain that the temple rests upon has significance and during special events, such as the king’s coronation this year, people from Chiang Mai will hike up the mountain to the temple of Doi Suthep. While there were quite a few tourists like myself walking around the area, there were also a lot of people there to worship and it was a humbling experience to get to walk these sacred grounds and be in the middle of so many people worshipping and practicing their beliefs.
Later in the week we had the opportunity to visit a temple that was very different from Doi Suthep. The U-Mong Temple was particularly interesting to me because it was comprised of a system of tunnels, very dissimilar to the outdoor, open temples that I was accustomed to. It is the only forest or jungle temple in the area and we had to drive a little more out of our way to get to it. Inside the structure, the temples led to little alcoves of sorts that had different murals of statues of Buddha to worship and burn incense at. The quiet darkness of the tunnels in the temple commanded a sort of reverence and were illuminated only by small lights planted along the floor that had only been added in recent years.