Wat Suan Dok
When you are seriously thinking about the things to do in Chiang Mai, then the Flower Garden Temple, or more commonly known as the Wat Suan Dok, is certainly a place you should visit. The Wat Suan Dok Chiang Mai is a wat, or Buddhist temple, that is located right on the Suthep road, and is nearly a kilometer west of the gate of Suan Dok.
The Suan Dok temple was established by the king of Lanna, King Kue Na, for the monk whose name was Sumana Thera during the year 1370 CE. It was situated right at the heart of the Wiang Suan Dok which was once a bounded community of the people of Lawa that was much older than the city of Chiang Mai itself. Due to its age, the outlines of its borders can be seen clearly on images taken via satellite, plus the remnants of its earthen and clay walls can still be seen along the northern part of the Suthep road. The king’s flower garden which can be found where the ancient establishment stands provided its name for the temple Wat Buppharam Dok Mai or Wat Suan Dok as it is generally called.
Most of the temples located in the area are considered part of the things to do in Chiang Mai, so if you are visiting Thailand, going to the Wat Suan Dok Chiang Mai and other cultural and historical spots should not be missed for a more memorable experience.
As stated in legends, a monk from the kingdom of the Sukhothai had envisioned that an antique of the Buddha was to be discovered, and the relic should be housed within the area of Chiang Mai. Because of these visions and him discovering the antique, the monk Sumana Thera was invited by King Nue to stay at the Wat Phra Yuen, located outside the Lamphun, while he had the Wat Suan Dok built by his workers.
When the time came for the relic to be sheltered in the newly made temple, it extraordinarily split into two piecesso one portion was kept in a shrine inside the Wat Suan Dok while the other fragment was positioned right on a white elephants back. The elephant then climbed and traveled the Doi Suthep, a mountain that is located west of Chiang Mai and once it reached the top of the mountain, trumpeted loud for three times before it lay rest and died. After its death, the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep was established on that area to shelter the second antique.
These culturally relevant monasteries enshrine the second part of the relic that came from the sacred Buddha which was delivered by the white elephant to the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Its main and original chedi is an ornate and bell-shaped establishment that dramatically reaches high above an expanse of flawless white chedi, honoring the members of the royal family of the Thai people. Because of its cultural and traditional relevance, you should definitely consider this as one of the things to do in Chiang Mai and take some time to visit these important places for an even more memorable experience during your stay in Chiang Mai.
Features of the Wat Suan Dok
There are numerous interesting features of the sacred temple that is without equal, and you will not easily see these in any other wat located around the vicinity of Chiang Mai or Thailand, in general. One of the first and most unique features of this is the huge prayer hall or wiharn; the chapel is not only unusually larger than normal, but it is also completely open on all sides instead of being fully enclosed like how chapels are usually built.
Located west of the wiharn are a few large pagodas called the chedi which will almost always have Buddha antiques contained in them; the largest and most important chedi will contain the antique of the Buddha himself, and as in the case of the Wat Suan Dok, the largest chedi contains one miraculous relic that repeatedly replicated itself.
Next to the pagoda is a number of fancily decorated white-washed reliquaries where the remains of cremated Chiang Mai rulers were placed. When you walk through these detailed and embellished monuments, one would easily be reminded of the popular off the ground cemeteries located in New Orleans.
Things to do in Chiang Mai
If you are still finding more things to do in Chiang Mai after visiting the alluring Wat Suan Dok, tourists often head for the Hill Tribe Products Promotion Center to go shopping for a variety of items and products. Such items include boxes, lacquerware, textiles, and other various crafts, so if guests wish to have a cultural and traditionally memorable item or product, then this is the place to be.
If not, you can rent a bike to search and explore every other tourist spot within Chiang Mai; and even if almost all Wats can be easily accessible by foot, it is still much easier to reach these places by riding a bike. Additionally, you can also visit the numerous markets present in the city of Chiang Mai and some of the most famous tourist destinations including the Warorot market and the Sunday Night Market.
If sightseeing is part of your things to do in Chiang Mai, you can go visit the elephant parks, the Tiger Kingdom, or the Aka Ama Coffee journey that can be found within Chiang Mai. Another thing you should not forget is eating in Chiang Mai; there are tons of restaurants that serve appetizingly delectable meals, bars and nightclubs where they have some of the finest liquor, and karaoke bars which are also famous in Chiang Mai city.