In Tips , Travel

Travel Journal: Thailand – Fifth Stop: Chiang Rai

Travel Journal: Thailand – Fifth Stop: Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is just over 3 hours by bus (or by land) from Chiang Mai. ‘Well’ … very close to the north, in the borders of Thailand with Laos and Myanmar (Burma) in the mountainous province of the same name.

This city is also one of the largest cities in northern Thailand and was founded in 1262, thus becoming the capital of the Mangrai dynasty. Later, this city happened to possession of Myanmar for several years until in 1933 it was finally proclaimed as part of Thailand.

Chiang Rai was our seventh stop after Singapore, Malaysia, Phuket, Phi Phi Islands, Bangkok and Chiang Mai during the months of January and February of 2018.

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL:

✈️The best months to travel to Chiang Rai are between December and March.

COST PER DAY:

💵 ~ $ 477 – 600 baht ($ 20 – 25 USD) for two (depending on activities, accommodation and food).

Getting out of Chiang Mai wasn’t easy at all, it was almost as a ‘small-heart attack’. Frequent travellers (or those who at least prepare their routes in advance and adjusted to the calendar) we know that when there is the possibility of losing the locomotion ticket it can be fatal, and we … almost lost it.

Honestly, we underestimated the distances and traffic of the city for the same reason we asked for an Uber to our accommodation with almost two hours in advance to arrive at the end of buses and thus to go to this new destination 🚘

[Unexpected experience: The Uber was run by a young Thai woman. Clearly, he was not over 23 years old and he was very kind. She didn’t speak English, for which she communicated thanks to the ‘google translate’ application installed on her cell phone.

Here comes the best part: once we sat in her car we experienced what it was like to move through Chiang Mai for what I call: ‘the’ Kitty – Pink ‘movement. All her car was decorated with Hello Kitty and pink, but when I say the whole car … it was everything, even her. We were perplexed for little more than 5 minutes watching every detail of that improvised subworld. For a moment I felt travelling in ‘hot wheels toys’, but for adults!]

Anyways … 🤪

There was a lot of traffic. Cars everywhere circulating, ok I know I told you guys in the previous post that Chiang Mai was quite urbanized, but what I saw made me feel in a big city. Even in Bangkok, it was not that hard to mobilize me 🙄

We arrived with 3 exact minutes of delay to the station “Arcade Bus Terminal 3”. The bus suffered a delay ( very lucky!). We waited just a few more minutes and this one came out without any problem 🙃

Tip: Passages of this bus are purchased through the page 12Go.asia (round trip), for a cost of ฿ 582 for two people (~ $ 18 USD).

After just over three hours on a road with many laps with not so comfortable seats (as I would have liked, but they weren’t fatal either) we arrived at the Chiang Rai terminal “Old Bus Station”. We called an Uber to our accommodation.

The reservation of the accommodation was made once again by booking.com and we were not so far from the city, it was quite comfortable and very personalized by the owner of the place, Ms Promwiriyakul, who I think should be the kindest woman in the whole city. Whenever I think of her I remember her with love, she was so kind to us at all times … She made our short stay something very pleasant 😊💐

As we arrived in the middle of a Saturday afternoon, in the evening we went to the centre of the city in search of the bazaar that Ms Promwiriyakul had recommended, but first we went for something to eat at the most popular place in the city (and which has very good reviews on trip advisor), the “Heaven Burger” 🍔🍔🍔

Heaven Burger 🍔 is not exactly the most elegant place in the whole city, nor the biggest, nor the one that has the best space, but far is the one with the best burger I’ve ever tasted (so far). The best! Everything is done in the same restaurant, what’s more, I went and congratulated the chef because I couldn’t feel the impression when eating that marvel 🤩

Heaven Burger is located on Jedyod Road | Wiang, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand (Phone: +66 90 330 1923).

Chiang Rai centre

After this fantastic culinary experience, we walked to the famous Chiang Rai bazaar, but before we came across an exhibition of flowers (free access), the “Chiang Rai Flower Festival” 🌹🌺🌸🌼🌷. This is an annual festival that (as I found out) is held between December and February, has a demonstration of different species of flowers highlighting tulips and lilies, some works of art made with these, music and products and food.

Chiang Rai Flower Festival

Chiang Rai Flower Festival

Chiang Rai Flower Festival

After living the experience of the flower festival, we managed to get to the bazaar (which was practically on the side street). Honestly, the bazaar is not a market for tourists, that is, if you can find valuable things, it is immense and there is something unimaginable, however, I am left with the impression that it is aimed at a more local audience. This bazaar doesn’t last longer than 1 am so if you still want to go through it and see every detail, I recommend that you dedicate at least a little more than two hours at least.

The next morning we went to the White Temple (The White Temple or Wat Rong Khun), but previously the corresponding breakfast 👇🏻

Crepe Corner Chiangrai  Address: 1019/69 Jedyod road | Boonbundan InnChiang Rai 57000, Tailandia (Phone: +66 83 470 7755).

So I found out there are several ways to get to the White Temple, but we didn’t want to get too complicated and we simply asked for an Uber. It’s a bit far, but believe me when I tell you that the Uber in Thailand is a bargain, because it really is!

The White Temple is one of the most striking works of all Thailand. Many people travel to Chiang Rai to see this work by Thai artist Don Chalermchai Kositpipat. This contemporary temple (unconventional) has a Buddhist style, also Hindu and a bit of pop culture. Its construction began in the year 1997 and is still in process. This temple is open every day of the week (Mon – Fri 8:00 am until 5:00 pm) (Sat and Sun 8:00 am until 5:30 pm). The entrance ticket has a value of ฿ 50 bahts per person ~ $ 1.50 USD.

The White Temple, Chiang Rai

My experience with the temple was good, not fantastic as in others, but good. There were enough people despite the fact that we arrived very early. It is difficult to take shots alone or just the landscape … what’s more, I’m still wondering how those people on Instagram do to achieve the effect of “nobody but me in the photo and no tourist” … will it be the magic of Photoshop? – I have no other explanation … 🤷🏼♀️

Around the White Temple

Around the White Temple

Apparently, in previous years the main temple had a type of design in its unconventional interior as expected, mainly composed of images of what they call ‘pop culture’, well, I did not see any of that, and it is still prohibited to record inside of this one or take pictures 🙅🏼♀️

The White Temple

The White Temple

White Temple (back)

The site also has different ‘small temples’ where some are accessed and others are not. Almost in the centre, there is a source of desires and around it some species of ‘wish trees’, which are made up of leaves (also desires) that are placed on them by visitors to the temple. Each page is written with the personal wishes of each visitor in multiple languages 💙

Around the White Temple

Around the White Temple

Wish Center

Center of desires (leaflets of wishes)

Desire leafs

Around the White Temple

Tip: You can buy the leaves in a kiosk that is on the side of these trees for ฿ 30 baht each (~ $ 90 cents USD). And as always, the entrance to this type of places is in the most respectful way possible and with the appropriate clothing (legs and shoulders covered).

At the exit of the temple (in front of this) is the art gallery of Don Chalermchai Kositpipat (the artist who created the white temple). Admission is free and inside it, you can see different works of the artist and also purchase pieces and some illustrations that are available for sale. It is perhaps not an essential visit, but it is interesting to understand more about the concept of his art, which is no different. Personally, I loved it and I bought some illustrations of the artist that left me with my mouth open.

In the afternoon we returned to Chiang Mai again, but this time we stayed in old Chiang Mai (so much better!). There is a greater offer of hotels, places to eat and activities to do.

Our brief but hectic stay in Chiang Rai was a bit beyond what was expected. We were only one night since our only interest at that time was to know the White Temple, however, this city has enough to deliver and to experience.

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