Your morning cultural tour of Chiang Mai starts as you jump aboard the songthaew, an iconic Thai passenger vehicle, and take a scenic drive down Suthep Road. Along the way, stop by Kad Thon Payom, a market renowned for its northern Thai cuisine and fresh fruits. See a variety of fascinating foods, from herbs to live fish to exotic fruits. Join in on the tradition of offering food to monks before enjoying a delicious Thai breakfast.
Continue on to Wat Umong, a 600-year-old Buddhist temple built in the foothills of Suthep Mountain and surrounded by forests. The most unique features of the temple are the tunnels that give the wat its name (umong is the Thai word for "tunnel"). Inside the temple, you'll see an impressive image of a fasting Buddha along with a large stupa (a mound-like structure filled with Buddhist artifacts). Keep your eyes open for the hundreds of Buddhist proverbs in English and Thai posted on trees throughout the grounds.
Then visit Wat Suan Dok, a 14th-century temple built in a forest grove for Phra Sumana Thera, a visiting monk from Sukhothai. The striking, white bell-shaped temple boasts a 20-foot (6-meter) Buddha. Wat Suan Dok is special because of its large prayer hall and the sides of the chapel, which are open instead of completely enclosed. Learn more about Buddhism by chatting with a Buddhist monk through the temple’s Monk Talk program.