Ying and Yang.. in more ways than one.

Today I visited the Ying and Yang of temples (black and white), pretty ironic since I thought the experience was both good and bad. The trip also included a hot spring, blue temple and a Karen Tribe village visit. The temples were all pretty new, all built within the last 20 years. They certainly were beautiful, but the short stops, over commercialization and the large amounts of tourists negatively impacted my experience. You may find the following recap to reflect that, so I apologize. I did find some good things on the tour, but if I had the choice, I wouldn’t have visited these again, so just want to be honest!

Hot Spring

We pulled up and I was thinking, this can’t be it. It was just like any other market area in Chiang Mai but with a fountain in the middle of it. The fountain was the hot spring. People would pay to put their feet in. It could have very well been water coming out of the city pipes, it didn’t look natural at all. The coolest thing about this place is that they would sell eggs in baskets that you could cook in the hot water. The stop was only 15 minutes, after an 1.5 hour long drive that was pretty short, but there wasn’t really much else to do here unless you wanted to buy souvenirs.

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Waters: Holy and Caffeinated.

Today I didn’t have a strict agenda and that turned out to be the best plan yet. After an early breakfast on my patio I asked if I could rent a scooter. They set me up and off I went to a temple nearby called Goa Gajah (Elephant Temple). By now I’m a pro on the streets with a scooter. I heavily relied on Google Maps and wondered how this would have worked without it. I would have been lost without it so made sure to keep a cell phone charge.

At the temple I borrowed a sarong and went in. I was approached by a man who offered to tell me about the temple. I figured this would end in me paying him, but it made sense to actually learn the history rather than just look and guess. Turns out this temple was a mix of buddhist and hindu regions, which is pretty cool. It had separate holy water sides for each religion. It was buried at one point by a volcano but archeologists dug it out. On the hindu side there was an elephant cave for yoga, meditation and prayer. On the buddhist side there was a big tree, pond, waterfall and statue (that was broken due to an earthquake), again for prayer, meditation and yoga.

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Continue reading Waters: Holy and Caffeinated.