CHIANG RAI + DIARY
TRAVEL / THAILAND
March , 2013
Next door neighbor to Chiang Mai! This is the place where the explorers want to go to stay away from crowds. Filled with amazing landscapes and natural beauty Chiang Rai is not only peaceful and abundant in nature, its where you can go explore remote hillsides and mountains and get to see things on your own. We only came here for the day, but we felt like there was much more to see than temples and attractions, there are sides to Chiang Rai that you can discover that are off the tourist tracks, and that for us is an authentic experience.
Lets start with the main attraction! the White Temple. Just by looking at the picture your jaw will drop in amazement, now multiply it times 100, and thats what you feel when you are standing right in front of it. This temple is quite new, it was designed by Charlermchai Kositpipat in 1997 and its astounding to stare at. You can spend hours and hours admiring the incredible details and discover so many different things due to its unconventional style. A small wonderland they have built and its really so impressive to imagine what a creative mind turned this masterpiece into reality. Very interesting to see the interiors as well, its painted in a very modern style and it is definitely completely different to anything you will ever see in Thailand! it is the rebel of Temples and a fascinating experience.
Make sure you walk the entire place, go around it and take your time. To the left there is a well where you can make a wish, also for a fee you can buy a Wat Rong Khun lucky charm and sign it with a little message on it; its a nice way to leave your mark here. Since we appreciate anything that is out of the ordinary, this for us was a highlight.
Step out of your comfort zone-
If you plan on booking tours that include several attractions, here are some tips to avoid tourist traps! We would definitely skip the Hot Springs. This is usually included in all tours offered by guides, but we didn't enjoy it, its in the middle of very touristy overpriced markets, not worth it. Also, the Golden Triangle which is in the border of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand wasn't something we thought was worth it. If we could do it all over again, we would just do all the sightseeing on our own. There are places where you can grab your back pack and admire the natural beauty of Chiang Rai, hike remote hilltops and immerse yourself with the local tribes. The countryside of Chiang Rai is still somewhat intact so we would much rather get a sight of the pristine landscapes and out of the radar locations. The rural areas have such magical cultural assets, and that to us, is far more beautiful than following the herds to the main attractions. Don't be afraid to step out of the comfort zone and really get to see what Chiang Rai is all about.
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