Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chiang Rai Tour

On our third day in Thailand we went on the Chiang Rai van tour that we had booked only the day before. This trip began at about 7 or 8 I can't quite remember. After about an hour and a half we stopped at some hot springs which while unimpressive did give everyone a chance to go to the bathroom, buy some delicious corn on the cob and recover from their motion sickness.

Our next stop was the White Temple or Wat Rong Khun, which was actually built only 15 years ago for around 400 million baht. While there was no charge you have to get in line as the masses move across the bridge and inside the temple. If you dally too long there are a few staff members with a loud speaker to yell at you to keep moving.

While the temple is intricately carved and truly white it seems to have been made for tourists with modern images painted inside the main room. Inside you will see Star Wars characters, Nero from the Matrix and other movie characters. I was very upset that pictures were not allowed to be taken inside so I was unable to capture these impressive and unique images, blah. Outside the temple you will even come across a Predator seeming to crawl out of the ground.

After the White Temple we headed towards the Mekong Delta for a boat ride and a brief jaunt to Laos. This area is known as the Golden Triangle and is where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Burma meet. The boat ride will bring you by an island where opium dealers trade at night and you will see several large casinos on the far banks. This is because casinos are illegal in Thailand. The quick stop to Laos offered no sights or cultural interactions but was simply a large shopping area. It was still interesting as you could try a sample of snake whiskey if you are brave enough!

After the Golden Triangle we headed towards the northern most point of Thailand, with some more shopping opportunities :-{. Finally, our last stop was at the Karen tribe or long neck tribe. This was very interesting and, you guessed it, you will have plenty of chances to buy products made by the Karen Tribe. As xmas was coming up we bought 2 wall hangings, a scroll, small wood carving, bracelet, 3 scarfs, a small snake whiskey bottle and souvenirs patches for about 1,400 baht.

All in all this was a long, exhausting trip that was mediocre. From here on out we made it a point to do things on our own which was quite easy and much more fun and relaxing.  

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