As we continue sharing our adventures in Thailand, we are still heading north to our next “stay” in the northernmost big city of the country called Chiang Rai. From Chiang Rai, we are heading to the Golden Triangle area – the tripoint of the Thailand, Laos and Myanmar borders – but that is yet to come.

Chiang Rai

As far as places we’ve stayed on our tour through Thailand and Cambodia , the hotel in Chiang Rai has to be one of the most incredible hotels I can honestly say we have ever stayed in.

Chiang Rai

The weather has also cooled as we head north bringing us a very welcome relief from the heat. We did not actually do much in the city of Chiang Rai (other than sleep and eat – and celebrate the King’s birthday), but we used our hotel as a base location to visit some of the local temples and villages.

One of the, hmmm can I say “most bizarre”, experiences we had on this part of our trip was visiting Wat Rong Khun temple – known to us “Westerners” as The White Temple.

The White Temple

This temple was left in such a state of disrepair at the end of the 20th century, that a local artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat, decided to remake the whole place using his own money – and dare I say, his own artistic creativity. It opened in 1997 and is also described as an unconventional, privately-owned art exhibit.

My personal interpretation is that it’s a Buddhist temple in a “Dali-esque” style, but I’ll let you make your own call from the photos I took there shown below.

The White Temple

The White Temple
View from the bridge of the “cycle of re-birth”

The White Temple

The White Temple

The White Temple

The White Temple

The White Temple

The White Temple

A very different and interesting temple stop indeed. Apparently, the artist doesn’t think it will be completed until 2070 so you have plenty of time to visit and watch the expansion/changes happening there. Most importantly, you should know that I wasn’t allowed to take photographs inside the main gallery where there is an incredibly imaginative “Michael Jackson/Rocketship/Kung Fu Panda” type of mural painted on the wall. Definitely reason alone to visit this temple.

To change perspective completely, while we were staying in the Chiang Rai Provence, we also took a trip to visit some Mae Salong Hill Tribes.

Mae Salong Hill Tribes

Mae Salong Hill Tribe

The hills and valleys of the Mae Salong area of the Chiang Mai provence have had their history centered on the opium trade in the Golden Triangle. While we weren’t privy to any of that action, we were able to visit a couple of tribal villages where we could see the homes they live in, their tribal costumes, hear them play some tribal music and have a chance to buy some of their handicrafts.

Mae Salong Hill Tribe

Mae Salong Hill Tribe

Mae Salong Hill Tribe

Mae Salong Hill Tribe
Yes, Jimi had to get in on the drumming!

Mae Salong Hill Tribe

Mae Salong Hill Tribe

Mae Salong Hill Tribe

Mae Salong Hill Tribe

Mae Salong Hill Tribe

The days on this tour have had such wide-ranging experiences, and I will be sharing many more to come. I hope you will continue to follow along.

If you missed the start of our tour of Thailand and Cambodia trip, please start here. And thanks again for following along. Next, we head further north into Myanmar and then make a quick stop into Laos along the Mekong River to experience all the countries of the Golden Triangle in one day.

 

 

Lita

2 Comments on Travels in Thailand – Chiang Rai

  1. Billy Der
    July 25, 2016 at 11:45 am (10 months ago)

    Awesome pictures. Travelling is a way of learning about our world and appreciate what we do have. It’s another form of learning that you can’t get in formal schooling. That’s why good teachers are advocates of field trips as Jim had practiced in his teaching career. So nice to see the love of learning through your travel blogs. All the best – bro.billy