Buffalo Market, Lamphun, and Doi Suthep Temple
The Sanpatong Buffalo Market
Your guide and driver will meet you at your hotel at 0800. We will drive to San Patong, where a huge weekly morning market takes place. This is the biggest outdoor market in North Thailand. Local people know it as the San Patong Buffalo Market because it is the only market where buffaloes, cows, and oxen are being traded. Try a cup of herbal tea and enjoy roaming around on this huge, fantastic market. More local and authentic, you will not find it around Chiang Mai. We continue to Lamphun, the ancient capital of the Hariphunchai Kingdom. This small town is several hundred years older than Chiang Mai. Our first stop will be at Wat Ku Kut, aka Wat Chama Thewi. The two chedis of this temple are probably Lamphun’s oldest structures and are more than 1000 years old.
Bicycle taxi tour of Lamphun
From Wat Kukut, we will drive to the Nong Dook fresh market where our samlors, the traditional bicycle taxi, are waiting. We enjoy a delicious snack, called Khanom Babin, at the market before we start our samlor tour. We follow the old city walls and moat to Wat Hariphunchai, one of the most revered temples of North Thailand. Along the way, we will stop at the former house of the Lamphun rulers, the Sampantawong Palace.
We will end the tour at Wat Phra That Hariphunchai, which is the main attraction of Lamphun and draws many visitors, mainly Thai people. We walk through the attractive local handicraft market to the tiny but delicate Tai Yong textile museum. Many of Lamphun’s inhabitants are descendants of Tai Yong, Tai Lue people from Muang Yong in Northern Shan State in Myanmar. They migrated about 200 years ago to Lamphun.
The Master Elephant Woodcarver of Chiang Mai
We will then drive back to Chiang Mai to visit Baan Jang Nak (The House of Many Elephants), the wonderful studio of Chiang Mai’s famous elephant woodcarver Phet Wiriya. Phet is not only a master woodcarver but also a very talented painter. His paintings depict the trek from the Tai Yong people from Muang Yong in Shan State to North Thailand. Phet’s craftsmen not only carve wooden elephants but also produce cement elephant statues in different sizes. They are made on order. Then it is time for lunch! Lunch will be at Huean Jai Yong, a well-known and popular restaurant specialized in delicious traditional local Northern food.
Wat Doi Suthep, Wat Palad, and Wat Umong
After lunch, we will continue to Doi Suthep. Visit Wat Pra That Doi Suthep, the most famous temple of Chiang Mai. Along the way, we will stop at the Kruba Srivichai shrine. His followers constructed the road up to Wat Doi Suthep in 1935. Walk up the 300 steps of the famous Naga staircase to the temple. Views over Chiang Mai are spectacular. When the skies are clear, you can see the Chiang Mai Airport. Your guide will explain the history of this temple and answer all your questions about Theravada Buddhism. Then we will drive down the mountain and stop briefly at Wat Pha Lat, a lovely forest temple.
It is time to go back. Your guide and driver will drop you off at the hotel. We hope you enjoyed our Buffalo Market, Lamphun, and Doi Suthep Temple tour. On weekdays and Sundays, we offer the same tour without the Buffalo Market and Wiang Kum Kam’s ruined city.