City in the Mountains
25.08.2019 - 29.08.2019 31 °C
Hi All, I am finally back on board after having a bout of Dengue fever. I can say with total certainty that this fever is the shitest you will feel without going to hospital. Actually I did go to the hospital in Laos and they gave me panadol and in broken English said, sorry don`t speak English and sent me away again, not before charging me $80 nzd for the Panadol, hahahaha. Oh and I had to pay $50 nzd for the Tuk Tuk to get me there and back as well.
Chiang Rai is a city in northern Thailand, in the mountainous province of the same name. They city is near the borders of Laos and Myanmar (formerly Burma). Wat Phra Kaew is a royal temple that once housed the jade Emerald Buddha and now displays a replica. Nearby, the Navel City Pillar is a monument made of more than 100 Khmer-style pillars. Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park is a museum showcasing Lanna artifacts.
I am on day 2 in Chiang Rai. I really like this place, it only has about 70,000 people so is much quieter than a lot of the other cities I have been too. There is also a surprising amount of things to see here as well. Typically there is the temples, however, I have found 2 temples that are not the norm which has made it more interesting.
One of the first things I saw after checking into the hostel was the clock tower/roundabout in the centre of town. This thing has to be the most elaborate and ornate clock I have ever seen. The whole thing is painted gold and every night at 7, 8 & 9pm has a light show that lasts about 5 minutes.
BLUE TEMPLE (WAT RONG SEUR TEN)
I think this intended to actually be a temple however, it is far more a tourist attraction than a temple. It is far more interesting even if it doesn`t have the history of many of the other temples in Asia. Literally everything is blue with many of the idols and statues contrasting in white. Another nice thing about this temple is that it is free to enter, this was a nice change.
I am not sure if the pictures do it justice as the sculptures and the artwork are amazingly unique, it takes a while to see all the different pieces as there is so much to see.
THE BLACK HOUSE (BAAN DAM MUSEUM)
This site is the creation of national artist, Thawan Duchanee. If I remember correctly there is 40 structures that are an ecclectic mix of traditional Thai buildings and some modern and a little crazy designs. He uses a lot of animal skins within his art, so probably not to everyones taste. There is bear skins, crocodile skins, snake skins, wolf and even fox. I believe it is part art studio, part museum and part home as the artist lives on site when he is in town.
I really enjoyed wandering around the gardens and viewing something a little different to what I have been exposed too in Asia. The first building is absolutely immense and the whole place is very gothic/medieval.
WHITE TEMPLE (WAT RONG KHUN)
First things first, do not pronounce the name of the temple incorrectly. I absolutely laughed my head off at this temple, I saw the staff harrasing the tourists and making a huge fuss about legs and shoulders being covered before you were allowed to enter. Give me a break, if it was a temple that was used for worship, ok fair enough but this temple is 100% to make money! end of story. Even the website calls it a privately owned art exhibit in the style of a buddhist temple.... not a temple, so why you have to cover your legs and shoulders to view art is a little confusing.
Anyway, it was still an amazing display of art.
BIG BUDDHA (WAT HUAY PLA KANG)
Known as the big buddha, it is actually a representation of the god of mercy and is a 25 floor temple perched on the side of a hill about 6km out of town. You can get to the top of the temple via a lift that will cost $2 nzd. As with most things in Thailand, it is very elaborate in the way it has been decorated, even the lifts are done the same way. once you get to the top there is a round window called the 3rd eye that you have an amazing view of Chiang Rai from. This is absolutely worth the trip as I found it one of the most interesting buildings I have seen so far.
To the right of the temple is a 9 floor pagoda.
Lift at the 25th Floor
Inside the 25th floor
View of the 9 floor pagoda from the 25th floor and also the carpark.
Guard dog at the entrance
Pagoda from ground level