On 4th July 2009, Chiang Mai University (CMU) held their annual welcome walk up Doi Suthep for their freshmen, or as the locals call them: freshy. It probably sounds like a great idea – building friendship and comaradarie among the new students by doing an activity together. But like any mass group activity anywhere in the world, there are problems. Here in Chiang Mai, the main problem is the traffic. You see, the road to Doi Suthep is not closed off for this event. They remain open to tour buses, cars, songthaews. Songthaews are the worst: spewing black and smelly fumes all the way up the mountain side. So instead of getting fresh air, you have to breathe in all these toxic fumes. Many of the senior students hire songthaews as their logistic and support vehicles, and sometimes as ambulances.
Well, enough of my own views. Let’s look at this mega event in photos!
Start point: CMU. A parade in traditional costumes.
One of the beauties of the faculty.
From CMU, they’ll walk to the Kru Ba monument and pray and receive blessings before they commence their walk up the mountain. They start of their walk in good spirits.
The hero of the day!
Along the way, there are many rest stops. And many drink companies giving out free drinks as part of their marketing campaign. This is a chance to try many strange drinks. This Soy Peptide drink is one of them. The reaction upon the 1st taste is almost universal. No photos of the looks on the faces, but here’s the graveyard of unfinished drinks.
Here is a major rest stop, with food and drinks stalls.
Traffic jam! Highlight of the event!
All lined up neatly at the final stretch of the walk. First some cheers, then the final dash to the summit!
For freshies, you got to leave your shoes here, even before going up the Naga steps.
Finally! You’ve reached the temple!