Our Thailand tour started in Chiang Rai, we arrived by plane from Bangkok and found our way out to Chiang Rai Homestay, a lovely place outside town. The owners Tony and his wife Padie are great hosts I can truly recommend that place. Probably the softest sheets I ever slept in!
Chiang Rai is a large city with everything you need, there are restaurants and shops every where, it is not the cheapest place to eat, besides the night market but we found the food quality there a bit low.
We found a nice restaurant, Aye´s which is also the name of the really friendly owner. I had my first Khao Soi here and it was delicious. (Northern Thailand signature soup)
We went to see the famous temples, the blue, the Chinese and the white. All stunning but you do have to share them with a lot of other tourists and for us that´s kinda a downer.
So after we did the tourist stuff we wanted to see some of the original. We went for a walk outside the town, to a small temple in a cave, it was an amazing experience. We where the only people there besides a monk who was cleaning it. This felt like the real deal and was quit a spiritual experience. Right beside the temple by the river there was a big Buddha and we were lucky enough to be there at the sunset. I felt so happy afterwards, this was definitely the highlight of our stay in Chiang Rai.
I am glad I have seen Chiang Rai, I kinda want to see the whole world : ) and I learned that on the rest of this adventure, I will avoid most tourist things and just go explore the local areas and enjoy being in this amazing country.
I asked my husband to write a little bit about Chiang Rai to here it is : )
After a dozen sleepless hours and a couple of forgettable meals we arrived in Chiang Rai. Dishevelled and sweaty, we were relieved to arrive at the homestay. owned and run by Tony, a wild-eyed Dutchman, his wife Padi, the embodiment of Thai hospitality, their teenaged daughter Cindy, and the reticent, though friendly grandmother Bibi.
We visited the blue temple. Does what it says on the tin. It was blue. It was a temple.
We visited the Chinese temple. Ditto.
Thanks to my wife’s negotiating skills, the tuk-tuk driver who took us there can now send his children to a private school.
Tony took us to the white temple, and the short car ride there was longer than we spent in the place. It was like a fucking fever-dream nightmare. Heads hanging in trees, grey arms reaching out of a pit like pleading souls from hell. One, memorably, had red nail polish on. Even though we arrived early, the place was overrun with tourists.
Disillusioned by this experience, my wife and I took a walk to the cave temple, close to our homestay. This was a much more spiritual experience altogether. Taking off our dusty shoes, we climbed the temple steps to find ourselves the only ones there, save a solitary monk, diligently sweeping.