Chiang Mai Sacred Experience
|Meeting Point||A designated point near the Chiang Mai gate|
|End Point||Wat Lok Molee (morning) or near the River (evening)|
|Duration||Up to 5-7 hours|
|Physical Level||Moderate - this experience involves short-distance walking around sites in the sun|
|Cultural Rating||Moderate - a good balance of cultural interactions, history and site-seeing|
|Ages||18+ (younger must be accompanied by an adult - babies 2 years old or younger may join for free)|
|Group Size||Private - Max 6 people per booking|
Itinerary for visiting the Ancient Empires, Secret Gardens and Buddhist Monks
There are two different itineraries for this experience. They have very similar inclusions, only slightly adjusted to fit the activities possible during each time of day.
The Morning Itinerary
07:00 am - meet around Chiang Mai gate (South Gate) early in the morning and witness monks doing alm collections. Guests can make an offering to a monk and get a blessing, something that is common for Thai people to do to start their day off right and get good luck for the day. While in the market, you will get to eat some local Thai snacks being served in the market, as it’s probably too early for breakfast, but energy will be needed for the day ahead.
After our early morning market wanders, we will head over to the Silver Street (Wua Lai road), and learn about the history of silver here (the first King of the Lanna Chiang Mai kingdom made an agreement with the Kingdom of Bagan, Myanmar, to send over some of their silversmiths to teach the art. It’s something that has lasted right up until now, for hundreds of years, since the foundation of the city! You will have the opportunity to buy some silver handicrafts made in the ancient hand moulded technique while observing the artist who crafted them!
From here, we make our way up to Wat Sri Suphan (the silver temple), which is a new temple made from all the silversmiths' contributions to explore the amazing silverwork that went into it. While here, you will learn the proper way to Wai (bow) in respect to the Buddha, something you will see in every temple around Thailand.
Now we will head back past the Chiang Mai Gate to the Terracotta Secret Garden. Here you will learn about the history of the terracotta designs that are replicated here. It also has a cafe set up inside, so a good spot to try a famous Thai Iced Tea!
It’s not too far from here to Wat Chedi Luang. We will make our way over to the historic landmark and can learn about the important Chedi (stupa), as well as participate in a monk chat for 15 mins or so.
Now for a mini-adventure, we will take a short tuk-tuk ride to Wat Lok Molee, a gorgeous temple just on the edge of the old city, which has a strong focus on the Chinese zodiac signs. You will learn how these signs have played a role in Thai Buddhism, and see various temples around Asia each which are associated with their own zodiac sign.
Finally, we will cross the moat to one of the most famous Khao Soi restaurants in Chiang Mai, Khun Yai Khao Soi where we will finish our tour with a delicious bowl of the famous Lanna noodle curry dish! The Chiang Mai Sacred Experience ends here.
The Afternoon Itinerary
13:00 pm - We meet at Chiang Mai gate just after lunchtime.
From here, we will go to the silver temple and street, similar to above.
Once finished with the silver-smiths and Wai prayer teachings, we will head down to the terracotta garden for an afternoon Thai Iced Tea break.
We will make our way to Wat Chedi Luang by about 4:30 pm. We will take a quick tour around the famous temple, and have a quick monk chat starting no later than 5 pm.
Now for some magic to happen. At 5:20 pm all the monks start converging on the temple for evening prayer (about 50-80 monks do this nightly). We will join the monks to listen to the prayers and chants. You may also take a try at reciting some of the prayers in unison with the monks while learning what some of the prayers mean and their significance to Thai culture.
After sitting in on some of the Thai prayers, we will travel back to Chiang Mai gate for dinner.
Seasonal (November Only):
By around 6:30 pm, it should be getting dark by now... to finish our tour off, we will head up to the river, and learn about Thai floating lanterns (famously seen during the Yi Peng lantern festival) and release a lantern into the sky. A perfect, beautiful end to a fun day together.
*some activities will be weather permitting and itineraries may be adjusted accordingly.
Please note: There is a Dress Code! There is a required dress code for visiting the temples in Thailand. Visitors must be properly dressed before being allowed entry to the temples. Men must wear long pants and shirts with sleeves - no sleeveless tops. Wearing sandals or flip-flops is ok, and possibly preferred, as you must remove your footwear every time you enter a temple. Women must be similarly modestly dressed. No see-through clothes, no bare shoulders, knees covered, etc. It is also recommended to avoid wearing bright colours, though this is less strictly enforced.
What is included with the Chiang Mai Sacred Experience?
Your sacred experience includes:
- information provided before your experience to educate you and properly prepare you
- a specially trained and licensed English-speaking guide who will facilitate your experience
- transportation during the tour (tuk-tuk, and songtaews)
- translations with monk
- lunch (includes a basic meal and non-alcoholic beverage)
- Entrance Fees to Wat Chedi Luang
- Thai Iced Tea (or similar) from the terracotta garden
- A special souvenir from the tour
- Lantern (afternoon tour only)
What is not included when on your Sacred Chiang Mai Experience?
- Travel Insurance (Compulsory)
- International flights or transportation to/from the itinerary's start point
– Accommodation in Chiang Mai (we suggest Agoda for the best hotel rates)
- Alcoholic beverages (not recommended before entering sacred places)
- Transportation (getting to and from the meeting and endpoints)
- Gratuities and tips
- Spending Money if you wish to purchase additional souvenirs or items.
Supporting Local Projects with our TRiP Foundation
Every TRiP that you go on with WSE Travel, we will donate 2% (or $1/day per day, per person - whichever is greater) to an environmental or community-based project in the country you're visiting. We want to ensure that every guest we help, in turn, helps support and preserve the destination we're experiencing together as a direct result. We live by an ethos to Travel Responsibly & Impact Positively (TRiP).
For more information on the projects supported by this experience, please visit our Thailand TRIP projects.