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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture File: Thailand at ThaiPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring interesting facts that you must know about Thailand, Thai Culture and Thai People. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 18: A Sacred Thai Site, Wat Pra That Doi Suthep or in Thai วัดพระธาตุดอยสุเทพ
There’s a popular saying in Thai. มาเชียงใหม่ไม่ไปวัดพระธาตุดอยสุเทพ ก็เหมือนว่ามาไม่ถึงเชียงใหม่. It means "No trip to Chiang Mai would be complete without visiting Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep." This is what local people often tell visitors when they come to Chiang Mai.
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, or in Thai วัดพระธาตุดอยสุเทพ, is one of the most important temples in Thailand's history and is a sacred site to Thai people. Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is located at Doi Suthep, or ดอยสุเทพ, which is about fourteen kilometers west of Chiang Mai.
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep was built in 1383. According to legend, King Kuena of the Lanna Kingdom placed a relic on the back of a white elephant and waited to see where the animal would take it. Eventually, the elephant walked up to the top of Doi Suthep mountain, trumpeted three times, turned around three times, knelt down, and died. The temple was immediately built on the chosen site. It is considered a very sacred place, and visitors must take off their shoes and be appropriately dressed.
Visitors can visit Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep by car or hire a taxi. From the car parking lot, the temple can be reached by climbing up the 309-step Naga staircase, or by riding a small cable car. A magnificent gilded pagoda decorated in the Lanna style stands in the center of the square marble tiled courtyard. A railing surrounding the square base of the pagoda encloses a walkway for devotional rounds of the pagoda. Around the courtyard or ลานวัด, you can see many Thai people carrying lotus buds, incense, and candles, coming to pay their respects. The courtyard is surrounded by walls, which contain murals depicting the life of the Buddha. On the east side of the pagoda, there are many small bells, or in Thai ระฆัง. It is believed that good luck will come to any visitor who strikes the series of bells found here. As it is some 1,053 meters above sea level, the temple is best visited on days when it is not cloudy; the view of the city and the Ping valley beyond is breathtaking.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
What would you like to see if you were visiting Prathat Doi Suthep?
Leave a comment telling us at ThaiPod101.com! Until next time!