Phra That Doi Tung, Mae Fa Luang, Chiang Rai
Year of the Pig: Earlier this year, I visited the beautiful Mae Fa Luang Botanical Gardens on Doi Tung. The late Princess Mother had a palace in the hills here which is now open to the public. About 30 minutes from the gardens we arrived at Phra That Doi Tung. These twin chedis, built in 911 A.D., are apparently the first examples of Lanna-style chedis in Thailand. They contain the collarbone of the Lord Buddha. According to legend, giant flags, called “tung” in northern dialect, were flown on this northernmost mountain over 1000 years ago. The direction they pointed was marked as a sacred site and this is where they built the chedi. The mountain is now named after these prayer flags. There is apparently a fine view from the top but the day that we were there we only saw low cloud. The weather was pretty cool as well despite being the middle of the hot season. Phra That Doi Tung is an important pilgrimage site for people born in the Year of the Pig.