Is is still quiet on the streets in Chiang Mai, which is why I head out to the Buddhist temples before the tuk-tuks, red trucks and cars hit the streets in large numbers.
My first temple visit today takes me into a compound with graceful teak buildings. At the far end, surrounded by a sea of green foliage, a statue of Buddha sitting near a pond gleams in the early morning light. Clay candle holders lie around the ponds perimeter evidence of the ‘festival of lights’ I missed the night before.
Young monks pick up the candles and clean the compound.
Two mythological creatures with bulging eyes arise from the pond
On my way out of the compound I stop before a standing Buddha – his palm faces forward in the traditional gesture of blessing.
Sunday is a busy day at the temples – a colorful day too. Here comes the balloon seller.
Monks struggle to carry an “offering tree” from the temple.
Musicians off to one side of the compound play traditional instruments.