I have been before, but not for 5 years, so I was looking forward to see if it had changed, and rather hoping it had not. Chiang Rai is the largest town in the region, but still feels more like a village. I am pleased to say it has hardly altered at all. A few more riverside restaurants, lots of new coffee shops, but still wonderfully charming.
My first stop on my colours of Chiang Rai tour was at the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun).
It was built 16 years ago but this was my first visit. From the outside it looks like it is covered in snow. It was designed by Ajarn Chalermchal, one of Thailand’s best and maybe its most controversial artists. It is part of a more ambitious project in the extensive grounds that will last more than 50 years.
The interior murals at first glance look traditional, but on closer inspection you see touches of more recent times, with George Bush Jr and Bin Laden depicted in the eyes of the demon, the twin towers in New York, and even Batman peeping out from behind the clouds. It is unique, and I kept thinking this is where Thai culture seems influenced by Dali and Picasso.
After that it was on The Blue Temple (Rong Suea Ten), which was attractive but less unique, other than the colours in and out.
Then finally a visit to The Black House Museum. This is one of the most spooky of museums, as everything is made from animal skins and buffalo horns. It is interesting and very well done, but I left rather mystified, which is probably what was intended.
Of course I managed to see a few hotels as well. A couple of which we shall be featuring here soon.
I ended up at my host hotel, Anantara Golden Triangle Resort, for a much needed shower and change of clothes before dinner and early night.
Up bright and early for gym and some Muay Thai Boxing classes and then went on a walk with Giants (elephants tour). This is one of the incredibly unique experiences offered by the hotel, and it was great. Just walking through the forest with two of these incredible gentle giants gives you a real sense of fun. Wonderful.
This area of Thailand is so scenic, and shows off the colours of Chiang Rai perfectly.
You have misty mountains, hill tribes, famous rivers like the Mekong and Mae Kok, lush and dense tropical forests, amazing Buddhist temples, as well as The Lion Hill Buddha Cave and lots of interesting Eco adventures to lose yourself in.
I am loving it completely and there is more to come before I head off to Chiang Mai.
DK – Chic Locations