It’s been awhile since I last updated everyone on our adventures in Chiang Mai, so I thought I’d get right back into with our recent Thanksgiving hike. Thanksgiving is the perfect day to put away all electronics, remember to sit back and truly take in your surrounds, enjoy the simple pleasures in life and enjoy the company of those who are meaningful to you. While Kyle and I were away from our families for the first time on Thanksgiving, we got to spend the day with our Chiang Mai family, and I must say it was one of the most memorable Thanksgivings I’ve ever had!
Hiking is good for what?
One of my favorite aspects about traveling is being able to hike all over. You really get a sense of how the terrain varies around the world. Plus you never get sick of the view since there’s always something new to see. It’s also, in my opinion, one of the best forms of exercises while traveling since you can combine entertainment, sight seeing and exercise into one neat little package. Talk about killing a few birds with one stone. And, almost forgot, it’s free! Pack some water, snacks, a camera and make sure to stop for some quality time with your hiking parter(s) and you’re good to go.
Did you know that a 160-lb person burns between 430 and 440 calories per hour of hiking? Just another reason to strap on those hiking boots and get cozy with nature! – Livestrong
Next stop – Doi Suthep
I must say, with Thanksgiving dinner on the horizon I was very grateful that our friends suggested starting our Thanksgiving morning with a hike up the nearby mountain, Doi Suthep. What I didn’t realize is that when they said hike up the mountain, they really meant vertically UP the mountain. This was probably one of the toughest hikes I have ever been on. We pretty much climbed stairs for 90 minutes. When we reached the top of the mountain my quads, hamstrings and calves were on fire! Probably didn’t help that I decided to do an intense weight lifting session the night before, but oh well, lesson learned.
While this was the toughest hike I’ve ever done it was equally the most beautiful. Halfway up the mountain there was a beautiful Buddhist temple where we stopped to rest and take in the views. Also along the hike there were interesting plants to examine, ancient structors and we even passed a few monks. However, the view at the top of the mountain really made the hike worth huffing and puffing for. We ended up climbing up through the back entrance and were immediately greeted by a gold dragon and fresh faced visitors who had taken a songthaew (pronounced song-tao), or red truck, to the top of the mountain. I can only imagine how we looked to the well manicured visitors as we climbed out of the bushes after 90 minutes of hiking. They were probably wondering where in the world we had come from. Oh well, the journey made the view that much more rewarding!
At the top of the mountain is an elaborate temple known as Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. The views of the city as well as the architecture are absolutely stunning. I’m afraid that the pictures I took don’t do the temple or views justice, but at least you get an idea.
Finding a deeper sense of gratitude
At first, my gratitude mainly extended towards the calorie burn the hike would provide before a day of feasting, but it wasn’t until we reached the top of the mountain that I truly realized how the hike truly embodied the meaning of Thanksgiving. Between the beautiful views, people, the fact that my body let me climb straight up a mountain for 90 minutes, spending time with people that mean a lot to me, that moment of “Wow I’m in Thailand”, and drinking fresh squeezed orange juice and iced green tea at the top of the mountain while people watching, I was struck by how I started this adventure with an extremely superficial sense of gratitude towards this hike, and rode down the mountain (yes, we did not hike down) with a much deeper sense of gratitude for everything our Thanksgiving hike symbolized. Now that’s something to be thankful for!
Share this info!