The 50 Things You Must Do in Asia

By Hanya Yanagihara - 2013-07-23T16:27:10Z

Photograph by Michele Falzone/Alamy

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Watch the Sunset From Chiang Mai's Wat Phrathat: Thailand

Take the 30-minute drive outside Chiang Mai to the fourteenth-century Wat Phrathat, Chiang Mai’s holiest shrine, which is set atop Suthep Mountain and overlooks the city. Take the 304-step staircase and note the lovely nagas, or dragon-headed serpents, that flank the steps: Like so much Buddhist iconography, their origins are Hindu, but in Southeast Asia they are often shown as the Buddha’s protector, guarding either him or the temples. At the summit—blissfully empty and a few degrees cooler in the late afternoon—you’ll hear the monks chanting their evening sutras and watch as the sinking sun paints the city in vibrant pinks and purples.

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