Wat Phra Singh
Chiang Rai was our last stop in northern Thailand and our stay there had a few ups and a few downs. One of the downs was our very damp guesthouse room which came complete with mould on the bathroom ceiling. Another down was spending, what seemed like hours, getting lost and walking in circles in the heat, trying to find a temple on a hill to where the Rough Guide had beckoned us with the promise of a fine river view. However, when we eventually found it, the view was distinctly average, with no sign of the river.
On the plus side we enjoyed perusing the stalls of the weekend night market, which had some pretty cool non-tourist-tat for sale, and also enjoyed food from the day market. The themed décor at Cabbages and Condoms kept us amused. In case, you are wondering, this is a restaurant and family planning initiative that has helped to significantly lower the population growth rate in Thailand. Another highlight was the endless cafes with delicious breakfasts, mid-morning, lunch time and mid-afternoon, muffins, cakes and snacks which was where we ended up spending most of our time.
From Chiang Rai, we took the bus
A replica of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok in Wat Phra Kaeo
to Chiang Khong where it was only a hop, skip and a jump across the Mekong and across the border to Houayxai in Laos. This was meant to be a short overnight stay, however, unfortunately Cel was ill again with a bad viral infection, so overnight turned into 3 nights. Luckily our guesthouse had cable TV with several English movie channels, which turned out to be a standard in Laos, so made our lengthy stay on a bed with a broken mattress in a boring border town passable. On our last night Cel was feeling better, so we ventured out to a restaurant for dinner where we sat under the stars eating some local grub and meeting some nice fellow travellers and volunteers. It must have been either the company or beers that meant we had a fun night, despite the fact it absolutely chucked it down and all the diners had to be moved inside the kitchen and sit on the floor. The first rain we’d seen in months.
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