With so many families in this region living in poverty, it is not uncommon for a family to send their young males to become a novice monk. In doing so, they know their child will be fed, schooled and clothed whereas they may not be able to provide that themselves. A day in the life of a monk/novice monk consists of approximately three hours of meditation and prayer, an hour of chanting, several hours of school and homework, walking barefoot around the neighborhood and accepting alms (offerings of food). In fact, in this land of temples, Chiang Mai is one of the greatest locations in the world for meditators. You can live a day as a novice monk would, although I would not recommend it for you night owls as the typical day starts at 4:00am. (That right there would count me out.) There are even sessions where you can learn more about offering alms and participate in this event. These sessions start before 6:00am. Even though I was interested in this, I couldn’t drag my butt out of our fabulous, boutique, accommodations that early.
So, I did the next best thing. I did want to visit unique temples and observe monks in their day-to-day lives, just not before dawn.., or more honestly, before lunch. (This was the “relaxing” part of our trip after all. Ha!) After much in-depth research, I identified what I believed to be the “13 Coolest Temples in Chiang Mai” and set out to explore each of those. I hired a private guide who used to be a monk himself to make the most of our time and learn as much as we could.
You can view these temples on the You Tube video below or by checking out our Flickr set here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/myfavoritetravelagent/sets/72157647885997225/