So after a stop off in Chiang Mai for the night I headed to Chiang Rai. The hostel I stayed in there was amazing (Mercy Hostel) and I met so many great people and saw some cool that things, so here’s some highlights!
The White Temple
The White Temple is the main tourist attraction in this part of the country. It is the vision of local artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, work was started in 1997 with the aim to be completed in 2070!!! As well as the cool outer designs it has very elaborate paintings inside the temple which incorporate the likes of Spiderman, Batman, Yoda and many more! Walking around the temple area there are odd bits and bobs (hanging superhero and villain heads from one set of tree’s) and the most elaborate toilet ever! The exhibition of the artist’s works was great too I was really impressed by all his stuff. I am still slowly learning about Buddhism so it was really interesting to see this contemporary vision of it.
The Black House (Baan Dam)
The Back House is kind of the counter balance to the White Temple as it’s essentially a vision of death and despair, as opposed to the kind of heaven of the White Temple. It’s harder to find with less tourists (still plenty though). It is also the work if a local artist, Thawan Duchanee. I think it makes a good counter balance to the White Temple. It’s….weird.
The Loi Krathong festival (25th November) was defiantly the highlight of my trip so far. Around 20 of us made Krathong’s at our hostel which had bought us all the materials and we all sat with the staff to masks our floats. The festival basically means to float a basket down the river and is celebrated on the 12th full moon of the Thai calendar (so normally full moon in November in the Western calendar). Once we had made the floats (and judged the best… mine was not!) our hostel took us to the river which was packed with local Thai people and we sent our floats away! Our hostel had also bought us Chinese Lanterns and we lit them and sent them flying to join the steady stream of others! There was also lots of Thai people setting off firework’s and a festival ground where there were food stalls and people dancing. I wandered around with a dutch girl named Rebecca for ages and also chatted to plenty to others from the hostel. A really fun night!
I also decided to head on a tour to see some of the area surrounding Chiang Rai (I actually did this before the above things but was the least exciting hence last place in this blog). Lucky a guy named Matt (who also likes Heavy Metal so we had a lot to talk about) was on the tour as the other 4 were 2 old French couples so not much conversation for me there.
After a 40 min boat trip we walked to get some great views of the area and see some of the local fruits and crops being grown. We visited a pretty cool waterfall and an Akha hilltribe village before ended at a hot spring to sit in the steaming water for 20 mins.
I met so many cool people in Chiang Rai so can’t list them all but they know who they are 🙂 Goody who I met in Chiang Mai and Pai was there so that was cool and also hung out a lot with a Swiss girl named Toya. Also met Ülie (German) and Chris (Danish) who I hung out with again in Laos (so future blog posts!).
My next mission was to buys it to Chiang Khong and then cross to Laos! Thailand you rock and I fully intend to return!