The real evil is ignorance, as one Buddhist saying has it. And an exploratory tour of Chiang Mai’s many and varied temples will surely keep you on the path to enlightenment. In fact, those interested in Buddhism will find that Chiang Mai is a fantastic place to learn about its teaching and rituals, not least of all through its temples. (Some temples offer a ‘monk chat’, where a resident monk or novice fields questions from foreigners.) Chiang Mai is very dedicated to its temples. At the start of every academic year in July, the freshman class from Chiang Mai University makes the annual pilgrimage on foot to Wat Suthep. It is a long-time tradition that fills the winding mountain road with close to 10,000 exuberant students and faculty members. The purpose of the trek is to introduce the new students to the spirit of the city, believed to reside in the mountain, and to make merit to the revered Buddha relic at Wat Suthep. But it is also a chance for the students to introduce themselves to each other and make friends that might last a lifetime.