Published: February 2nd 2012January 31st 2012
We took an extremely comfortable 3 hr ‘VIP’ bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai; the time flew by. We went quickly to Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort, which was unfortunately a little outside the town center. We freshened up and were rushing out again to see Wat Rong Khun
, the ‘White Temple’. This temple is different from most in that an artist built it with sci-fi murals of Darth Vader and other pop culture icons inside. The outside of the temple was ornate, impressive, and a bit other-worldly – with skulls and horns coming out of a ‘moat’ in front of the entrance. Unfortunately our hotel was wrong about the Wat’s hours of operation, and it was closed when we arrived. Still, the outside of the Wat was impressive to see.
We then met up with our friend Tim in town, booked our trip the following day to the Golden Triangle
, and tasted bugs (silkworms, bamboo worms, crickets) at the market. Bugs are deep fried and are consumed as salty snacks, just like we would have chips or French fries. They were surprisingly tastier than I thought they’d be. We then stopped into a local place for dinner.
We visit the White Temple
A kind fellow tourist took this photo of us
The next day we packed into the pickup truck for our tour. We were lucky to be part of a 4-person tour (Kostek and me, our friend Tim, and Warren - a tourist from Maine) that we were able to tailor to our interests. After enjoying tasty roadside pineapple, we made our way to the border of Thailand and Burma. We walked through an extensive Chinatown market, where our guide helped us get a fair price for a few mementos. We then went to the Hall of Opium
, an impressively interactive account of the past-present-future of Opium’s effect on the region and the world. The King’s Mother established the center in hopes of reducing production and demand for Opium as well as for educational purposes.
Afterwards, we enjoyed a Thai buffet lunch and went to the Golden Triangle – the area where Thailand, Laos, and Burma all meet at the Mekong River. We took a high-speed longtail boat to Donsao, Laos – a small tourist town. Kostek was brave to try a sip of the local specialty, a Lao local whiskey with a snake, scorpions, and Tiger testicles soaked in it. I believe the locals said it was ‘for
On our way back to town, we stopped off at Baan Si Dum
, ‘Black House’ the art display of national artist Thawan Duchanee
. The artist has collected a wide assortment of strange insects, animal bones, and statues from around the world, it was quite dark indeed.
In the evening we had a great send-off as our tour company invited us to join them for a dinner of local market specialties back at their tour office. Suwanee, the head of the office wanted us to arrive as customers, but leave as friends. What a great way to close the chapter on an amazing time in Thailand!
There are more photos below