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Published: January 22nd 2018
We loved Chiang Rai
when we visited last year. In fact, we loved it so much that we were very keen to return to the city. The plan had been to revisit the white temple and get some glorious photos with blue skies. Guess what? It rained again!! Oh, well, we still enjoyed our stay but we did some other things instead. This time we stayed at the central Baan Bua Guest House
which was cheap and cheerful and we had no complaints.
The rain held off for us but the skies were cloudy so we had a wander out to see some gardens a few kilometres away. On the way we were wowed by Wat Chettupon which we just stumbled upon (oh so nearly a clever pun!) We walked around the temple for a while admiring countless statues of various animal figures. A short way down the road was our first objective - the bizarre eclectic collection of the Oub Kham Museum.
You have to be guided around but our guide was good and her English wasn't bad. She was, however, VERY determined to tell the stories she had learned to recount and so the tour took a little longer than we had anticipated! We finished
with some complementary Chinese tea which was incredibly refreshing.
It was then rather a long walk out to the Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park.
The grounds of the park were absolutely stunning with wonderful reflections in the lake. The park is run by a foundation who encourage and develop the artistic skills of the local population. There is a quite comprehensive collection of teak crafts and local Lanna artwork. Is it worth the 90 minute walk out there? Well, the jury is out. We didn't walk back though. Unable to find a taxi or a tuk tuk, we had lunch in the excellent Baan Noi
restaurant and then they gave us a lift back into town!
The New Year celebrations were great. We had had a quiet day bimbling around looking at temples and the flower festival (which looked remarkably the same as last year's). That left us reasonably refreshed to stay up and see in the New Year. The main road had been closed to traffic around the golden clock tower since about midday. As the evening wore on it became one massive party zone. There was some good entertainment up on the stage. A solo female singer was pretty good, and
judging by the reaction of the Thai crowd watching on, she was probably quite famous. The crowd certainly jumped around to the beat of a Thai boy band. Their music was certainly not to our taste but they knew how to please their audience. There was also a stunningly beautiful display of traditional costume and dance which was absolutely magical. The effort that goes into getting those costumes perfect is exhausting in itself, and we were only watching on.
We can't write about Chiang Rai without giving a special mention to the Australian burger and ribs bar, Hungry Wolfs.
When we arrived we were horrified that it seemed to have gone but a little research revealed a new address and a great new venue which must be twice the size as the old place. It's not cheap, but definitely worth a splurge.
So, onwards and northwards as we begin 2018 getting ever closer to Myanmar. Happy New Year everyone!
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