Chiang Rai may just be my new favorite Thai city. It has a lot to offer. When I arrived, I asked a tuk tuk driver the price to get to my guesthouse. I didn’t like his answer, so I started walking. A young Thai man that was on the same bus as me asked me where I was going. He took me over to the car waiting for him with his sister and mom inside, and they gave me a ride. He said he wanted me to have a nice impression of Thailand. That was a nice way to start off my Chiang Rai stay.
The last few days I’ve done a lot. The first day, I rented a motorbike and went to see the White Temple. It’s the prettiest structure I’ve seen in Thailand. It’s amazingly ornate. The designs and architecture are so pleasing to the eye. Plus I like the weirdness factor of it. A moat of hands (representing the pull of desire) engulf the entryway. The first day I went they were cleaning and wouldn’t let anyone in. I went back today, and got to see the mural on the inside. It has many interesting figures such as Michael Jackson, Elvis, Batman, and Neo from The Matrix. Taking photos is not allowed (I found out after I had taken these two). I’m not sure what the significance is but I like it.
Later that afternoon, I took a windy ride to the Khun Kom waterfall and took a dip in the chilly waters below. It was exhilarating to hear the roar of the waterfall as I swam almost directly underneath.
Yesterday I took another ride, this time to the northwest to the Huai Kaew falls. These waterfalls were harder to get to. The way wasn’t as marked as the Khun Kom falls, and the road became very steep and rough. I crashed into some bushes on the way up a particularly steep hill. Luckily, neither I nor the bike got hurt, and I laughed at my predicament as I heaved the bike back onto the road. At one point I wondered where the hell I was. But the beauty of the scenery made me forget the concerns I had. All over the hills villagers were tending to different crops. It was some of the prettiest countryside I’ve ever seen. The trek through the jungle was also very steep and I was pretty winded by the time I got there. I didn’t swim this time, but was happy chilling by the waters edge.
This morning, I had a private Muay Thai lesson at Lanna Fight Gym. I hadn’t worked out in a while, much less done martial arts, so I was much slower than I would’ve liked. But it was great and I learned some great technique. The guy worked about 10 rounds with me, and I was thoroughly exhausted by the end. Below is a short video:
After lunch, I visited the Bandaam (or Black) House. It’s an interesting place. The architect liked dead animals. Pelts, bones, skulls, and horns adorned most of the house.
Tomorrow I have to catch a bus to Chiang Khong on the Laotian border. Just in time before my visa expires. Seeya later Thailand! It was fun. Enter Laos…
Black House was very hard to find. I passed it up three times, having a feeling of where the turn off should be, but not seeing it. I asked around and finally narrowed it to a small dirt road heading west from the main road. Below are two photos of the turn off for anyone who is going there. Cheers!