Thailand gave me many memorable spiritual encounters, from elaborate temples where the opulence can sometimes take your breath away, to simpler settings where I would escape in the sticky, frenetic Bangkok mornings to listen to chanting monks and resonant temple bells to calibrate my sensory overload.
Yet the place that touched my soul the deepest is tucked away in an enchanting, tranquil jungle in Chiang Mai.
Ironically, this special place is hidden by lush greenery just off the main road to the hallmark Wat Phra That which towers above visitors on the top of Mount (Doi) Suthep – reputedly the holiest shrine in this part of Thailand.
Built on several levels with a tranquil, sonorific background waterfall, visiting Wat Pha Lat is like stepping onto the set of an Indiana Jones movie. As if by divination nature has made way for a temple complex lovingly adorned with moss-covered stone carvings of Buddhas and dragons among magical places to worship, winding footpaths and staircases and with a surprise around every corner.
I was sorry to leave the lost world connectedness with mother earth and the palpable symbiosis with nature only to head for the glitz, tourists and souvenirs of the temple on the mountain above me and the bustle and traffic of the city below .