Thailand: Chiang Mai – Wat Chiang Man, Wat Suan Dok, and The Hottest Green Curry Ever

One of our tours in Chiang Mai included a visit to four temples — including the gorgeous Wat Chiang Man, which houses the Crystal Buddha, and Wat Suan Dok.

Our first stop was at Wat Suan Dok, where we saw a monk on cell phone.  We had also seen a monk in a mall in Chiang Mai checking out an iPad earlier in the week.  When I mentioned the surprising juxtaposition of the traditions of monks and the contemporary technology, our guide told us that it was normal, and of course they needed the technology, they were busy studying! In fact, some of the monastaries use their funds to buy cars to help their monks travel to do good deeds. Our guide said: “it’s the man who drives the car, not the monk.”

Wat Suan Dok Temple

Wat Suan Dok Temple

Buddhist temples are known for their Nāgas, snakes who protect the Buddha, and are beautiful protectors of the temples:

Wat Suan Dok Temple

I also liked the local dog protecting the temple:

Wat Suan Dok Temple

We also visited Wat Chiang Man, known for the two Buddha statues: the marble Phra Sila, and the Crystal Buddha (Phra Satang Man).  The Crystal Buddha is quite small, and both are in an altar surrounded by other beautiful statues (in the centre, behind the bars):

Crystal Buddha (Wat Chiang Man)

(Wat Chiang Man)

At other temples on our tour, we saw gorgeous elephants decorating the temple:


And little elephant and horse offerings left at the base of the elephants:

Elephant offerings

And other beautiful Nāgas — I love the green glass eye on this one:

And the many heads on this one:


One of the temples we visited was still decorated for a wedding ceremony that had just happened earlier that morning:

Wedding Preparations

Wedding Preparations

And the monks were busy eating lunch:

Monk Lunch

The temple Wat Chedi Luang had a statue of Tan Pra Maha Kajjana — who some people think is a fat Buddha statue, but we got the real story — there once was a very handsome monk (not Buddha), and because he was so good looking it was distracting to others (they thought he was Buddha!).  And so that others would stop focusing on his outward appearance, he became fat and ugly.


I really loved seeing the examples of Lanna architecture — from an earlier period than what we had seen in Bangkok:



This creature is called a “Mom” (and looks nothing like my Mom!!!):


We were lucky enough to be blessed by a monk:


And I couldn’t get enough of watching monks go about their daily lives:


After our lovely temple tours, we found a riverside restaurant for lunch.  I decided to order one of my favourite dishes, Green Curry Veggies (kaeng khiao wan) and oh my goodness was it the HOTTEST GREEN CURRY EVER!!!!  In the north of Thailand, they don’t use as much coconut milk in their dishes, and so the less-saucy green curry was more like a chopped salad of green chilies, mushrooms, shallots, and crazy hot red chilies.  HOT HOT HOT.

Hottest Green Curry ever

Fortuitously, we had ordered a plate of really mild veggies alongside:

Sauteed Veggies

When I started my meal, I was convinced that I wouldn’t be able to eat it because it was too hot!  And after a few bites, the strangest thing happened — I got totally hooked!  So I happily ate the rest of my plate, (being careful of the red chilies) and loved it.  It was a meal I will NEVER forget.

Green Curry

After lunch we walked home, and en route stopped at a local coffee shop for a fabulous milky iced coffee:

Iced Coffee

And at the end of a long couple of days of sightseeing in Chiang Mai, what better way to relax than to hang out at the bar with a drink, and the world’s best bar snacks?

I had my first Brandy Alexander (yum):
Brandy Alexander

Which was accompanied by my new-favourite bar snacks: roasted peanuts with shallots, chilies, and lemongrass. I don’t eat peanuts often (my sister is anaphylactically allergic to them, so I stay away), but these were a special treat.

Bar Snacks

Ahhhh, perfection.

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3 Comments on “Thailand: Chiang Mai – Wat Chiang Man, Wat Suan Dok, and The Hottest Green Curry Ever”

  1. vagabondvirginia
    April 11, 2013 at 12:56 am #

    Lovely photos. I’ll be going to Thailand in a few months and I’ll be sure to check this out!

  2. April 11, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    Hi Lindsay,

    Oh my goodness those pictures look out of this world! very beautiful. The food looks divine.

    Thanks for sharing.



  1. Top 13 Recipes of 2013 | The Kitchen Operas℠ - December 30, 2013

    […] were fortunate to travel to Thailand in March (noodles! green curry! coconuts!) , and also to Paris for our honeymoon (macarons! ice cream! […]

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