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One of the most popular things to do in Chiang Mai, Thailand is to visit the Buddhist Temples around the city. The beautiful buildings are adorned with gold accents, intricate statues and stunning details. While you do see some monks around the city of Chiang Mai, you will definitely see them at the temples.
Inside the temples are Buddha statues, donation boxes and other pretty decor. Out of respect for Buddha and the monks, your knees and shoulders must be covered when you enter a temple. You can walk around the grounds in whatever, but before entering, you have to take off your shoes and cover your legs and shoulders. I knew this ahead of time, so I went with some loose, comfy pants and brought a scarf to drape around my shoulders. This was tough to walk around in because it is hot here. Like almost 110 degrees and extremely humid. So another option would be to just wear shorts and a tank and bring two scarves – one to wrap around your waist to cover your legs and another to drape around your shoulders.
Since we spent the day walking around and I knew I’d have to be able to easily slip on and off my shoes, I wore these pretty embellished sandals from Dillard’s. They were the perfect choice because I felt like the metallic design fit with the vibes of the temples, plus they were super comfy all day long. I ended up wearing these sandals almost every day in Chiang Mai for that reason. They’re so festive and comfortable, I probably didn’t even need to bring any other shoes on this trip. Thanks, Dansko!
It was so beautiful and very calming and relaxing in the temples, but the real reason we went was for the monk chats. This is more popular on the weekends, so we went with a group style chat, but it was absolutely incredible. I can’t believe I haven’t seen this on more Thailand guides. I personally love Buddhism, but I think anyone could benefit from an experience like the one we had with Dang (not Damn, as he pointed out – haha), our monk.
Visiting the temples in Chiang Mai is an absolute must, but even better than that is the monk chats. We talked to a few fellow travellers and no one else had ever heard of monk chats. I’m not sure why more Thailand travel guides don’t include the activity. It was definitely one of my favorite things we did here. Second only to the cliff jumping, but more on that later.