Chiang Rai was the highlight of our trip to Northern Thailand. Everything from the drive over from Chiang Mai to the famed White Temple ( wat rong khun ) and everything in between made Chiang Rai stand out.
Since wat rong khun is one of the main reasons tourists head to Chiang Rai, I’ m going to talk about that first. But to be honest, as awesome and surreal as the White Temple may be, it was the little things in this city that made a lasting impression on me.
What do you get when you have The Predator, Hell Boy, Pin Head, and Freddy hanging out? You get of course either an epic free for all killing festival ( or a B remake of one) or wat rong khun. This white temple has been on my bucket list for years now, not only because I’m a fan of the above mentioned villains but due to it looking so otherwordly and yes morbid that my horror loving, Thailand dwelling self just had to go photograph it.
To my suprise, not only did my husband and I enjoy crossing hell and enter nirvana at wat rong khun, but my daughter found it to be a treat. She couldn’t figure out why The Predator was stuck in the ground, but I’m guessing it’s due to him having too much Hong Tong before entering the grounds. Just a hunch.
The Chiang Rai Hotel is located in the center of town, close to the ornate clocktower. The dorm style feel of the large, almost empty building gave it a laid back feel. The Night Bazaar became our favorite place to explore, and has some of the best food in town. But it wasn’t where we had our first meal. In fact, we ended up splurging on a terrific Italian feast ( if you can believe it) at DaVinci; we needed some wifi and directions and made a pit stop, only to find out our hotel was in fact right next door.
The next day- after our trip to the White Temple- we had lunch at the uber popular Chivit Thamma. Although touristy, this place has a really magical feel to it. You feel instantly transported to Savannah, with the American style architecture and old school Southern antiques and furniture. The food is slightly pricey but organic and worth every penny. I ordered the red curry and my husband had one of the best Western Style omelettes he’s ever had.
That night, we headed over to the Night Bazaar and had some cockles and a few Leos as a few lady boys sang and danced.It was the epitome of sabai sabai and very Thai.
The drive to and from Chiang Rai is stunning. Our pit stop on the way back was at Jujube World, where we ate a steaming bowl of hot Khao Tom pla.