Chiang Rai - A city not known to many, tucked away in a northern corner of Thailand. It is 860 kilometres north of Bangkok, about 200 kilometres northeast of Chiang Mai. Filled with natural beauty, this city is one that's not to be missed.
In a nutshell, it's Chiang Mai - but the quieter neighbour with more mountains and a slightly cooler temperature. My mum made a last-minute decision to drop by Chiang Rai, after booking flights to Chiang Mai (pretty confusing, yes) but I'm glad she did. Despite having to drive 3 hours up to Chiang Rai, it was all worth it.
If you did not get to book direct flights to Chiang Mai, transiting at Bangkok can be quite tedious especially on your return flight. We took 2 hours to transit from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, for our flight back home to Singapore. It would be best to get a direct flight if you wish to save the time and worry of missing your next plane home.
For this trip, we took Thai Airway and I'm never disappointed with their service. Silkair does direct flights to Chiang Mai (if anyone is wondering)We booked a driver from Trip advisor for the entire trip.
Wherever we wanted to go, he'd bring us there. So, of course it is not like Thai Fruit Fest where everyone cycles around. But, definitely can't wait to head back in June to have the whole experience.
While driving up to Chiang Rai, we took a pit stop at the hot springs. My mum and I were expecting something bigger. And our faces when we saw the hot springs... speechless.
There were tons of shops there selling apparels, food, drinks, souveneirs and little knick knacks, even a 7-11! That way you don't have to worry about being hungry while on the road.
I love this coffee stand - definitely something I wouldn't get to see in Singapore. With the lack of communication, I was afraid to patronage at the stall, but my sister had an ice coffee and she said it was good. Super cheap and a big serving as well!
From here, we drove to the famous white temple, also known as Wat Rong Khun. It is a contemporary, unconventional art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai. It's opened all year round and there is no admission charge for all.
I don't think I have ever told anyone this, but I wanted to pursue a Diploma in Interior Design. Of course, that did not happen, but I do appreciate architecture. When I saw this building, I fell in love immediately! It was so structured and detailed that it stood out so well. The reflection of it against the water was so beautiful!
You definitely would not miss the toilet when you are there. But, don't mistake it for a temple since it's painted gold. Yes, gold. The entire building, even the toilet cubicles are gold.
If you watched my Chiang Rai Day 1 vlog, you would have seen the interior of the toilet - how the walls and doors were all painted gold.
It was so crowded with so many tour groups coming in, so my family and I left shortly after. We treated ourselves to mango sticky rice because why not? After all, we were in Thailand and you can't go to Thailand without having mango sticky rice! ;) Not forgetting a cup of mangoes that we bought that were so sweet!
P.s: These were all shot in my vlog: http://bit.ly/1Pk4RVM I filmed my entire trip and uploaded the daily vlogs on my Youtube channel. Do give it a watch if you haven't already :)
We stayed in Upcountry Bungalows, halfway up the mountains so it was pretty chilly up there. Our rooms were connected (I shared one room with my sis, and my parents had the other) and really spacious as well. The toilets were clean and there was an outdoor shower area.
If you have seen my Instagram post, you'd have seen the Beagle that lives there. Her fur was so soft and she was so gentle! I couldn't keep my eyes off her. The next morning, she looked for me to play - how cute?!
Soi 1 Mu 5, อ.เทิง Phu Sang District, Chiang Rai 57160, Thailand http://www.upcountrybungalows.com/
At Upcountry Bungalows, they have a huge garden filled with pretty flowers (you'll see it in my next post), and they also grow their own vegetables so the food we had was really really fresh.
After helping us with our luggage, they immediately got us to the dining area and told us they will be serving us dinner. I love how they were so friendly and accommodating to us.
The staff there only understood basic English, so I had to use Google Translate to tell them that I am a Vegan, and I also do not wish to have fish sauce, egg or dairy in my food. They seem to understand it well, so I'm hoping there wasn't any miscommunication between the waitress and the chef.
They cooked 2 different stir-fry veg for me and I had it with plain white rice (of course) The food was good, but slightly oily and salty.
After dinner, we called in a night and headed back to our rooms to rest because we had a reeaally long day. We also set our alarms for 430am the next day because we were going up the mountains to catch the sunrise!
Day 1 was basically driving up to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai and doing really touristy stuff. But it gets more exciting so stay tuned for the other posts coming soon!