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.
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.
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.
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……”
After a week of navigating the streets of Chiang Rai we up’d the ante to a 125cc motorbike. Pimpin’ aint easy.
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.
Parking at the mall around the holidays got you down, get yourself a motorbike.
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.
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.
The White Temple
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The White Temple19.824405, 99.763048[caption id=\"attachment_172\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"300\"] White Temple[/caption]