Doi Suthep

Doi Suthep (technically, "Wat Phra That Doi Suthep") is a temple 16 km outside of Chiang Mai. I rented a mountain bike today to make a run out there. 16 km isn't much ... or at least it wouldn't be, if the road were flat. I had seen a Wat on the hills surrounding the city - you can see it day and night, at night it glows. I thought "that can't be Doi Suthep, that's not 16 km!" The first six kilometres are flat, but after that it's all uphill and curves. I ran into a friendly Brit named Derek, also on a bike, about one km up the hill. We rode (and walked) together the rest of the way - it took about three hours. The ride down, on the other hand, took twenty minutes (I didn't tell the rental place that they probably need new brake pads - it's a steep hill). The Wat itself is an attractive compound of about 25 buildings, and one of the holier pieces of ground in Thailand. There are always Thais burning incense and kneeling before altars at wats, but this was different - the level of activity was much higher, and the people seemed almost serious. Not an emotion I've come to associate with Thais, but there you are.

Now it's time for me to go to the pub, I've been invited to join a team for quiz night. My legs will forgive me soon, I think.