Doi Suthep Almsgiving, Temples and Hmong Tour
Participate in the almsgiving ceremony
Our guide will meet you at the hotel at 0700 for your Doi Suthep almsgiving, temples, and Hmong tour. We will drive to the Kruba Srivichai shrine at the foot of Suthep mountain and join the daily almsgiving to Buddhist monks. In Theravada Buddhism, this is an opportunity for people to make merit.
Monks and nuns are not allowed to receive money; therefore, people donate food and everyday items. The daily alms round is an essential part of Buddhism. Monks leave their temples on this daily alms round and walk Chiang Mai streets to collect donations. You will participate in this solemn ceremony. After that, we will visit the shrine of Kruba Srivichai and pay our respect to this most revered monk, who is regarded as the patron saint of North Thailand. His followers constructed the road leading to the temple in 1935.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Then we drive up to Wat Pra That Doi Suthep, the most famous temple of Chiang Mai. Walk up the famous Naga staircase or take the elevator to the temple. We recommend taking this staircase of more than 300 steps. It is a good workout, but please take your time. We have all the time in the world. From the temple, you have a magnificent view of Chiang Mai. At this time of day, there will be few other visitors, which makes it very special. We will spend time at the temple, during which your guide will explain the tenets of Theravada Buddhism. We can arrange a meeting with a local monk if you are interested. We will have breakfast in a local restaurant.
Doi Pui Hmong village and a coffee brewery
The Hmong Village Doi Pui is our next destination. It has become a popular place for tourists. Doi Suthep has a fascinating history in which opium and the Hmong people play a role. His highness Bhumibol Adulyadej started his Royal Project on Doi Suthep in 1969 to help the Hmong people and save the national park as a watershed area. Your guide will tell you this story. Doi Pui village is located very beautifully. We will walk around the village and visit the small museum. Even though the village receives many visitors, we think it is still worth visiting. Most people overlook the historical significance of this village. We continue to a coffee brewery with a friendly coffee shop that offers fantastic views over the surrounding countryside. The Royal Project introduced coffee in the Hmong community as a substitute for opium cultivation.
Wat Pha Lat, the “jungle temple” of Chiang Mai
On the way down, we will stop at Wat Pha Lat, aka the “jungle temple” of Chiang Mai. This pretty temple complex receives fewer visitors than Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. We will take time to admire the central chedi, overgrown with moss and centuries-old Buddha statues. The most eye-catching building is the Ho Phra Chao Rim Nam (“the house of Buddha images on the water”), which dates back to the late 19th century. Wealthy Burmese residents of Chiang Mai partly financed it. The elements, in combination with the lack of maintenance, were responsible for the collapse of the building decades ago. The Fine Arts Department rebuilt the structure in 2019 using photographs like the one below.
Walk a short stretch of the Monk’s Trail.
You can hike the short Monk’s Trail down the mountain if you want. This popular trail was part of a trail that monks used to walk up from the mountain’s base to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. It is a short and easy hike through the forest, but you need good shoes as they can be slippery. Your vehicle will wait for you at the end of the trail. After this, we will drive back to Chiang Mai. The tour ends at about 1600 but depends a bit on the departure time. We hope you enjoyed the Doi Suthep: almsgiving, temples, and Hmong tour.