North to Chiang Mai and Doi Suthep

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After leaving Bangkok our next destination was Chiang Mai.  Originally we were planning to take the overnight train north from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, but upon discovering that route was shut down due to the train tracks being repaired we were disappointed, but I guess also glad the tracks are being repaired.  Hopefully the train is back up and running now but in the end we had a short flight and soon landed at Chiang Mai.  We weren’t quite sure how we were going to get to Doi Suthep, the first stop on our agenda, but a solution was quickly found when we got in our taxi to go to our hotel.  Well prepared for visitors, in the back of the taxi were laminated sheets of tours available through our taxi driver.  Problem solved! After checking in at our hotel and dropping off our bags we were on our way.  About 9 miles from Chiang Mai high up a winding road to the top of Doi Suthep mountain.

Upon reaching the top of Doi Suthep, and negotiating our way through the vendors and crowds we began to climb the 300 + stairs up the beautifully adorned Naga Serpent Staircase. (there is also a lift to the top if you prefer.)  I could not resist taking a few photos of the children dressed in local costume happy to help them earn some tip money.  At the top of the staircase is a colourful and well decorated complex of Buddhist Temples and shrines still active to resident monks.  The official name is Wat Phra That but it also referred to as Doi Suthep, same as the mountain.  At the edge of the complex and worth the climb as well are the views of the countryside and Chiang Mai, where we were headed to next.

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