The 4-Hour Wat Umong and Doi Suthep Temples Sunset Tour with Trip Guru was an unexpected treat for just $29 USD. On the tour, you have the chance to visit Wat Umong, home to a 600-year-old chedi and tunnel temples and you’ll also visit Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai’s infamous mountain temple. Pick up is advertised as being between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. while the actual pick up time was at 4:45 p.m. The $29 USD tour fee included bottled water, roundtrip transportation and the entrance fee for both temples.
The guide gave us a ring upon his arrival and even waited in the lobby to escort us to the vehicle. There were only four people on the tour, so we took a private car, which was clean and air-conditioned. The guide’s driving skills were excellent and we were afforded a smooth ride to the various temples.
Wat Umong (pronounced wa-ht oo-mohng)
The first stop was a visit to Wat Umong at dusk. The guide gave us information about the 645-year-old chedi, which was the first thing we saw at Wat Umong. The chedi at sunset was an awesome sight to see. At Wat Umong you can walk through tunnels and see an underground temple site where you can stop to make merit and pray. The site was well maintained and thanks to lights built into the rock walls it made the place feel both fascinating and eerie.
During our time the tour guide gave us little factoids of information about the temple and gave us suggestions on where to get the best photographs, which if you see below, his suggestions did not disappoint.
Doi Suthep (pronounced doy soo-tep)
We drove through the mountains as the sun was setting, so we could visit Doi Suthep. Little did we know, that as the sky grew darker Doi Suthep would come alive. When we arrived we had to make our way up to the temple. There are two ways to reach the temple – one is by climbing 309 steps and the other is by taking an elevator. We took the elevator up and when we stepped out we were greeted by the golden temple shimmering against the night sky. The golden hue of the pagoda reflected off of every surface to create a scene bathed in a burnt orange glow.
The tour guide was informative, and told us that the temple grounds were founded over 600 years ago. After admiring the statues, artwork and foliage the guide led us to a monk so we could receive a blessing. We sat on our knees praying and making wishes, as the monk dipped a brush into a vase and sprinkled nahm-mon (holy water) over us and chanted. When done, we were given a white string to tie around our wrists. The string symbolized our prayers and wishes, and it is believed that when the string disintegrates and falls off those prayers and wishes will come true. This especially was an exciting cultural experience that we wouldn’t have participated in had we not gone with Trip Guru.
The final thing we saw was the view of Chiang Mai from the Doi Suthep viewpoint. The tour guide again came through with the suggestion of where to get the bomb photos.
Once it was time to head back toward the car the guide gave us the option to take the elevator or to head down the stairs. As a group, we decided to conquer the 309 steps. The steps were easy to get down and it only took about 10-12 minutes to reach the bottom. While the steps were a little dark with the use of our cellphone flashlights we made it down in one piece.
In total, the tour lasted about three hours. It wasn’t a long tour, but it was informative and certainly different than the traditional Chiang Mai temple tours. The idea of having a night tour to these sites was on a totally different level than the day time tours held during peak temperatures. Also, because the tour is from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. you’ll have the whole day and evening to do as you wish. On the Wat Umong and Doi Suthep Temples Sunset Tour, you’ll experience cool temperatures and sparkling temples that are sure to satisfy your craving for beautiful religious sites.