Massive Community Event. Sunset on Saturday 14th May 2022.
A very important annual event for Buddhists in Thailand is called Visakha Bucha. It occurs on the full moon of the sixth lunar month and is nominated as the day of birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Lord Buddha. It is also a Thai national holiday.
It is celebrated over a few days - but one day in particular becomes a huge community event in Chiang Mai - where both Thai people and foreigners can join in.
Walk to the top of the mountain.
There are individuals, families, groups and couples making this unique pilgrimage. Everyone strolls, skips or runs up the 9 kms from Canal Road to the very top of Doi Suthep. It is timed for your journey to finish at around midnight - so you can walk the steps up to the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple and join in the religious ceremonies; where the devotees perform the wian tian - which consists of walking around the main shrine three times and holding a candle, three incense sticks and a lotus bud.
Many people will spend the night here, waiting for the dawn, as Sunday is officially Visakha Bucha day and begins with an extensive alms offering and merit making ceremony attended by 87 monks at the Naga staircase of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep leading to the temple from 6.30am.
Where to start your ascent
Most folks leave Chaing Mai city and begin walking up Huay Kaew Road around the late afternoon. The offical ascent begins at Kruba Srivichai, the temple just after Chiang Mai Zoo, at 8pm and is traditionally accompanied by paper lanterns lit by candles.
It can take from 3 to 5 hours depending on your pace. And yes, its strenuous and tiring. So wear comfortable running shoes and light (preferably white-coloured) clothes.
There are free food stalls and water stations along the way; so no need to bring any supplies except your phone and cash in a backpack.
When you finally arrive at the top, there is a welcome foot massage centre and afterwards, you can catch a Red Truck AKA Song Taew back down with your new found friends.
A few things to remember
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