All posts by Mike

The Clock Tower

The clock tower is a popular landmark and ‘must see’ in Chiang Rai. Built in 2008 in Honor of The King, the clock tower lights up and plays music every evening at 1900, 2000 and 2100 hrs. Our favorite restaurant for Khao Soi also sets up a little stand on the southwest corner of the Clock Tower just before show time every night. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the light show and music of this popular site.

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Clock Tower

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Clock Tower 19.907166, 99.830956

Doi In Cee

This is a must see for anyone visiting Chiang Rai, the drive up is a bit precarious but the views from the mountaintop are gorgeous. We can even see it lit up at night from our balcony.

A video of our ride up the mountain on the motorbike.

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Doi In Cee

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Doi In Cee 19.906090, 99.737440

 

Wat Tham Phra – Buddha Images Cave

We just happened upon this Temple while out on a motorbike ride. This temple was built into the side of a limestone mountain and included a number of different access points. While the main temple  appears to be fairly active, we ventured up a steep set of narrow stairs into a cave further up the hillside. Once inside, it didn’t take long to notice that the ground was covered in bat dung, but it was too irresistible to not venture the rest of the way up. There was a large, sitting Buddha statue inside but we weren’t about to use a flash and possibly disturb all of the bats that were overhead. There was some natural light inside and I bet at the right time of day, the Buddha statue would be illuminated just right. It’s worth noting for anyone interested in seeing this temple, the stairs are very steep and the climb requires some physical agility.

In the main temple, there was a single monk sitting by himself and I couldn’t help but wonder what he may reflect on all day if anything at all, I envied the solitude in many ways. The large Buddha carved into the limestone was one of my favorites so far.

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Buddha Images Cave

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Buddha Images Cave 19.917504, 99.788929

Wat Hyua Pla Kang

This beautiful temple is just a few kilometers from our house, you can’t miss it on the drive in. I hope that we’re still in the area when the giant Quan Yin statue and temple is done, I imagine there will be quite an opening ceremony.

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Wat Hyua Pla Kang

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Wat Hyua Pla Kang 19.949610, 99.806478

Getting Around Town

So now that we’re in Chiang Rai where it’s not quite as crowded and we aren’t walking distance to ………. well ……… anything really, we decided to rent a motorbike. Renting the actual motorbike was another interesting experience vs. what one might experience in the US. I think I signed my name on one form, gave the nice lady a copy of my passport, one month’s rent and she handed over the keys.

Thank god for automatics because I’ve never been on a motorized bike before. But ‘When in Rome……”

Our 110cc Motorbike
Our 110cc Motorbike ,The Green Machine

After a week of navigating the streets of Chiang Rai we up’d the ante to a 125cc motorbike. Pimpin’ aint easy.

Upgraded to a 125cc. Vroom Vroom
Upgraded to a 125cc. Vroom Vroom

Anyone that has cycled in a major metropolitan area knows what navigating traffic is like on a bicycle …… let me tell you ….. driving a motorbike in Thailand is in a class all by itself. While we haven’t seen any accidents, I can understand why it is ranked 2nd in the world as one of the worst places to drive. Lanes are merely guidelines, it’s not uncommon to see motorbikes going in the opposite direction on the shoulder, parents with children (3 – 4 people total), passengers sitting sideways using their phones, etc. are all regular occurrences. And, we still haven’t figured out how right-of-way works at a 2-way stop.

The ironic part is we rarely hear horns, haven’t seen any rude gestures, nasty comments or even ugly looks (we may not be able to identify these things either so maybe I am being naive). Never the less, if I had to describe it, it’s organized chaos with a hint of Zen. It’s not for the faint of heart, that is for sure. I actually enjoy it and I’ll tell you why …… it requires that I be present fully, it’s almost meditative in many ways.

It's amazing what we can get home on a motorbike.
It’s amazing what we can get home on a motorbike.
Made it home on the motorbike in one piece.
Made it home on the motorbike in one piece.

Parking at the mall around the holidays got you down, get yourself a motorbike.

Motorbike Parking at the mall.
Motorbike Parking at the mall.

The White Temple – Wat Rong Khun

This was a spontaneous trip to the White Temple and we weren’t dressed appropriately so we weren’t able to go in. I will post additional pictures and information when we can spend more time there.

Additional photos from our most recent visit to the White Temple. There is visible damage from the earthquake in May of 2014 however visitors are still able to go inside the primary Temple. Unfortunately, pictures are not allowed to be taken inside however it’s worth noting that there is a great deal of symbolism about the current state of the world, the influence of media and other propaganda outlets that currently alter the perception of the general public.

There was a beautiful art gallery next to the temple containing many pieces of art from Chalermchai Kositpipat. If this statue of Ganesh would have been for sale, I would have picked it up on the spot. Getting it home on the motorbike would have been exciting but we could have made it …….. haha. Prints ranging from 500 to 3,000 THB can be purchased so be sure to bring some extra cash.

Lord Ganesh
Lord Ganesh

The White Temple can be incredibly busy during the peak of the tourist season. Try to arrive as early as possible and please be mindful of others.

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The White Temple

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The White Temple 19.824405, 99.763048 [caption id=\"attachment_172\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"300\"] White Temple[/caption]

Day Trip

A Royal Project – prior opium fields turned into organic farms to provide a means of sustainable income for the local hill tribe people. Overnight camping and vegetarian meals are also available

We found this temple after making a wrong turn. Not a single person was around.

Had lunch at this little resort / restaurant tucked away on the side of the mountain. I was waiting for King Kong to come out of the jungle at any moment.

The view from our table at lunch.
The view from our table at lunch.