fun things to do with kids doi suthep hill tribe village thailand - family travel   Travel for Kids
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Doi Suthep & Hill Tribe Village

wat doi suthep

Located on Doi Suthep mountain, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is one of the most sacred temples in north Thailand. It's the home of three guardian spirits of Chiang Mai, as well as a Buddhist center. In the 14th century, a venerable monk came to Chiang Mai and brought a very holy Buddhist relic, which split in two. The second piece of the relic was put on a white elephant, who climbed up this mountain. The chedi (pagoda) for the relic was built on the spot where the elephant perished.

Doi Suthep Photo Album
    Wat Phra That Doi Suthep –
      Climb up the naga steps. To get to the temple on the upper terrace, kids will have fun climbing up the long stairway (306 steps), decorated with a five-headed jeweled naga and makara creature (mythical water creature, in between a serpent and a crocodile) the rippling green and gold body of the makara continues all the way up the stairs!
     

Tip: There's also a short funicular, "automatic cable car," that goes up the hillside, but it's more fun to walk up these stairs.

   

At the top of the stairs is a huge statue of a white elephant (monument to the white elephant who brought the relic), and sacred bodhi tree. You'll also see figures of guardians that protect the temple.

     

Go through the doorway into the inner courtyard, in the center is a multi-tiered golden chedi, surrounded by lacy golden umbrellas. Quite an amazing sight.

buddha and bells
   

Surrounding the chedi are many Buddhas, in four different postures, including a replica of the Emerald Buddha. People coming to the temple to worship light incense sticks and offer flowers. Around the outer walls are murals with scenes of the life of the Buddha.

     

From the outer terrace are views of Chiang Mai below; amidst the mountain greenery here, the bustle of the city seems very far away. Kids will also enjoy the little flower rock gardens with figures of turtles and little monks in orange robes.

     

There are too many Buddhas to count, but kids can see how many different elephants they can find at the temple. Look for elephant statues white elephants in murals, three-headed elephants, elephants in wooden reliefs.

    Hill tribe village –
   

A visit to a Hmong village is a chance to see traditional life in the mountains of north Thailand. In the village we visited, we walked though a series of shops (where you can buy all sorts of handicrafts), and then came out into a lovely garden on the hillside. The garden was filled with the sound of birds, lush flowers, and opium poppies growing (once a traditional crop of the hill tribes).

   

Around the garden, we stepped into a traditional style wooden house ("sample house") with wood burning hearth is for cooking, platform sleeping areas, and implements outside for grinding flour. In the Hill Tribes Museum are mannequins displaying Hmong clothing, beautiful decorated with embroidery.

   

It's also fun to dress up in full Hmong dress and have your picture taken wearing colorful beaded hats, pleated skirts, and black jackets with embroidery.

    Tip: This is a great day trip from Chiang Mai to drive up into the mountains, enjoy the cooler temperatures and green mountain scenery. Go early to beat the tour buses.
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