Chiang Rai Province Day Tour
Looks like we're staying put in Chiang Mai for an extra 4 days to avoid long travel a little bit longer.
After having such great street food at the Sunday Walking Street Market, we were looking forward to finding more good eats at other markets around the city. The Night Bazaar along Chang Klan road is another go-to tourist area for real and fake goods (if you didn't get your fix from the weekend markets already).
We passed by a common street food cart selling rotee. Picked the rotee with banana and condense milk = delicious. It's a snack but you could also consider it as a nice cheap dessert on the street.
Not too far South from the Night Bazaar is the Anusarn Night Market. Along with the same souvenir stalls, the market also has several restaurants selling fresh seafood. Although not as abundant in variety as the seafood market in Kota Kinabalu, they still offered some selection.
We ended up eating here.
Giant king and tiger prawns
We ordered a blue crab cooked with chili paste. The meat was pretty soft.
Deep fried red snapper with curry paste. Damn this dish was tasty. Although coated with sauce, the skin of the fish was still crispy. The waitress recommend red snapper as the best fish to use for this dish. Other choices were sea bass, pomfret, and grouper.
Now that we got our seafood fix, we turned it in early for our day trip to the Chiang Rai region tomorrow.
In the morning the driver picked us up and we're off to the first attraction 1.5hrs from the city, the Chiang Rai hot springs. It wasn't anything particularly special really as it was basically located in an open area surrounded by souvenir shops. We didn't have breakfast so we mainly took this as a rest stop to eat 🙂
Is that stewed pork leg on rice?
Yummy. Much better than the one at the Bangkok train station I had previously.
Viv got the Hainanese chicken with pork blood
These were being roasted outside the eatery *drool*
Oh yeah, the hot spring
The next stop is another 1.5hr drive to Wat Rong Khun AKA the White Temple. An amazing looking piece of architecture! This temple is designed by a popular Thai artist specializing in Buddhist imagery, Chalermchai Kositpipat. The temple project began in 1997 and is still in construction. Apparently it won't be finished for decades. The temple is far from traditional as contemporary elements can be seen throughout the site. Unfortunately it was raining when we got there. It would have been incredible to see the vibrance of the temple during clear skies.
You want a picture?
I want a picture too
Cross over the bridge to pass from hell to heaven
Yep, that's the predator
It's Halloween! Oh, it already passed?
Cool no alcohol sign. That's a real bottle in there
There's a fountain in here
A chandelier of Buddhas lol
Looks like Christmas trees
You can buy a charm and hang it up to one of them
This golden pavilion is actually the toilet facilities lol fancy-schmancy
Clouds were breaking right before we left, damn it!
Next on the itinerary was the Golden Triangle which is located North of Chiang Saen. This is where you can see the borders of three countries meet: Thailand, Myrammar, and Laos. This area was famous for the growth of opium. There's a place called Hall of Opium here that's suppose to be a really cool museum about opium. Too bad we were on a tour and didn't have time to check it out 😦
You can see that there are a couple of casinos right across the river in both countries. Casinos are illegal in Thailand so a Thai businessman saw an opportunity to capitalize on it.
Standing here you can see all three countries in one place
A few religious structures can be seen here by the river.
After the Golden Triangle we head to Wat Phra That Dao Wao in Mae Sai, a temple area where you can find a great view of Myrammar from the platform. You can opt to walk up the 200 plus steps to get up here but the van just drove us up here which was better option 🙂
The viewing platform.
There was an interesting monument in the temple itself: a giant scorpion statue. The guide said that there use to be a ruler long ago called the scorpion king and this statue was made to honor him.
There are other monuments in the area as well. Nothing too spectacular though.
Our last stop was the Karen Long Neck hill tribe. It wasn't really a truly authentic experience as the layout of the village was mainly set up for tourism purposes. Shops were lined from end to end selling souvenirs with their homes tucked in behind the shop. The guide told us that they don't have Thai citizenship and can't go back home to Myrammar due to political unrest. They aren't even allowed to leave the village premises. The way they make some sort of income to support the community is by selling souvenirs to tourists.
There are a couple of explanations to why the women wear the brass rings around their necks. The original legend was said that it prevent tigers from biting down on their necks. The more common reason today is that an elongonated neck exemplifies their beauty. The rings themselves are quite heavy. 20+ coils can weigh more than 5kg!
Weaving is part of the culture
A really cute little girl
Upon leaving the Long Neck tribe, we had to pass through another tribe's village. A 6-7 year old girl approached us begging for money. It's a common occurrence in SE Asia for children to come up to you and ask for money. However, she was carrying a sharp steak knife and occasionally brushed it against her own shin while asking us. She finally gave up after half a dozen times but she was definitely starting to make us nervous if she kept persisting and threatened with the knife. A little girl robbing two adults…that would be a story to tell!