Road Trip to Chiang Rai – The White Temple เชียงราย – วัดร่องขุ่น

Road Trip to Chiang Rai – The White Temple เชียงราย – วัดร่องขุ่น

Four-day weekends are not common in Thailand, but are a perfect reason for a road trip. Why not Chiang Rai?

Chiang Mai is hot this time of year, so it was a good time to get away.

Chiang Mai is hot this time of year, so it was a good time to get away.

We were headed to the White Temple or วัดร่องขุ่น, but would stop along the way if we saw something interesting…

We were quite surprised to see Chiangraiwinery.

… and to our surprise stumbled upon Chiangraiwinery. Yes, one word. There aren’t spaces between Thai words. We couldn’t have a tour, but we did have a tasting.

It looks like red and white wine...

It looks like red and white wine…

...but is actually made from lychee, pomegranate, mangosteen, and some Thai herb.

…but is actually made from lychee, pomegranate, mangosteen, and some Thai herbs.

Not being a fan of sweet wines, they weren't for me, though they were better than I thought they'd be.

Not being a fan of sweet wines, they weren’t for me, though they were better than I thought they’d be. Yuki liked the sweet Thai herbal one, Marco preferred the lychee, I enjoyed the mangosteen, and Kozue was driving so didn’t try any.

It's in a picturesque spot, and well worth the stop.

Chiang Rai Winery is in a picturesque spot, and well worth the stop.

Next stop…

Next stop, the White Temple

The White Temple

Chalermchai Kositpipat or เฉลิมชัย โฆษิตพิพัฒน์ is the extremely prolific designer of the White Temple.

While Buddhist imagery is the main theme...

While Buddhist imagery is the main theme…

...there is also imagery dealing with death.

…there is also imagery dealing with death.

Part of the temple was damaged in an eathquake that struck last in May 2014.

Part of the temple was damaged in an earthquake that struck in May 2014, though most is still completely intact.

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Thai astrological animals

Thai astrological animals

Tree of offerings

Tree of offerings

While most of its imagery is white and tiny mirrors...

While most of the buildings are white and silver with tiny mirrors…

...some is gold, like this wishing well

…some parts are gold, like this wishing well…

...and the elaborate golden building for the toilets.

…and the elaborate golden building for the toilets.

Yuki and Marco as "Woman and Man"

Yuki and Marco as “Woman and Man”

Hollywood?

Hollywood?

Life

Life

Death

Death

A bit of both

Both

Chalermchai Kositpipat and Marco

Life sized Chalermchai Kositpipat and Marco

Kozue and bell

Kozue and bell

Yuki and reminders of death

Yuki and reminders of death

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My favourite anti-smoking sculpture...

I loved the anti-smoking sculpture

scary

scary

Wat style no smoking sign

Thai wat style no smoking sign

Not sure why umbrellas aren't allowed

Not sure why umbrellas aren’t allowed

Although the outside was truly amazing, I also thoroughly enjoyed seeing Chalermchai Kositpipat’s art in the museum on the grounds. No cameras are allowed, so here are a few pictures of post cards of the paintings:

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Glad we visitied

Glad we visited

See you later sparkly White Temple

See you later sparkly White Temple

See you later sparkly White Temple

 

 

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Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai

It’s time to get a new visa after being here nearly a month. I wanted to take a look at Chiang Rai, because I know there are a lot of schools up here and beautiful countryside around. Most people do their ‘visa runs’ at Mae Sai into Burma and back. It’s the cheapest and a little bit closer, but I wanted to head to Chiang Khong and stop by Chiang Rai on the way.

A Songthaew in Chiang Mai - sometimes know as the red bus

My transportation of the day included: a songthaew (meaning two rows. It is basically a covered truck with two benches to sit on in back), my feet, on the back of a motorbike to the bus station with my big backpack while my driver navigated flooded streets, bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, then a bicycle taxi. Most of the bus ride to Chiang Rai was through gorgeous countryside. My favorite thing that exists many places in Thailand are the trees that line the road wrapped in the saffron colored cloth. I felt safe in all my modes of transport, but saw the aftermath of a motorbike crash that I wish I hadn’t seen just before arriving in Chiang Rai.

The countryside near Chiang Rai

Rice fields near Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is significantly smaller than Chiang Mai with a lot fewer tourists. I looked around at some pretty basic guesthouses then upped it to flashpacker and was quite pleased.

Fish pond outside my flashpacker hotel

My flashpacker room in Chiang Rai

The night market in Chiang Rai seemed the place to go for food and shopping. Lots of things here to eat and not eat.

Yes, lots of insects for dinner. Perhaps the other white meat. I couldn't do it.

What I did NOT eat, but hope to someday get up the nerve to try. They are exactly what they look like - insects.

What I DID eat - a delicious vegetarian hot pot soup thing cooked over a bucket of coals at my table.

My dinner in Chiang Rai

Yum!

I didn’t spend much time here, and would like to explore further, but it’s October 1st now I’m on to Chiang Khong before my visa expires because I want to stay in Thailand for a while.