When you hear someone mentions Thailand, the first thing that you will most probably think of is its capital city, Bangkok. But, in the most northern part of the country lies Chiang Rai, one of the richest cities in that region in terms of culture. There are a lot of reasons why this city differs from the other cities in Thailand and maybe it’s because every reason has a beautiful story behind it. One of them could be city’s somewhat isolation which resulted in uniqueness and noticeable civilization, architecture, landmarks etc.
Let me explain –
The White Temple
Wat Rong Khun, or the White Temple as visitors would call it, is simply something that you have to see with your own eyes to believe it actually exists.
It was opened in 1997. The person who stands behind this piece of art is Chalermchai Kositpipat – a visual artist who designed, constructed and opened it for visitors. The construction is still ongoing since Kositpitat has a perfect vision on his mind for this temple and tends to make it tangible. Even natives love to say that Kositpitat literally made one of his dreams into a reality.
Visitors don’t call this Buddhist sanctuary, “The White Temple” for no reason. Its specific white color comes from the millions of glass fragments embedded in the white stone that temple was built of. These glass fragments make extraordinary sight of everlasting brilliance.
The temple itself has hundreds of statues and figurines which are religion based. To enter the temple you will have to cross the bridge and then through Gate of heaven. But, beware – gate is guarded by two creatures called Death and Rahu and they decide the fate of the dead. So, are you ready to face your fate?
This Temple is open throughout the year and it’s located about 15kms south of the town.
Chiang Rai’s Night Market
If you are a lover of unique and rare things which you can add to your collection, then this is the place where you can get your bags filled.
Night market is an every night event located in the center of the city. It gathers the salesmen from around the town. They have their food stalls and they tend to make less spicy food so that it would be more tourist ready. You can also order different kinds of alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks and some of the stalls even have music playing. You could easily say that this is a mini festival of sorts.
The real deal comes from the hill-tribe Thailand people that live nearby Chiang Rai. They make beautiful and unique handcrafts and they also come to sell their products on the market. You can easily recognize them because they are usually sitting on the blanket with their products in front of them. They will gladly and proudly present to you all of the items from their offer but only if you show them your interest. Products are very much affordable and it’s a guarantee you will be satisfied with their quality.
After you spend a lot of time admiring work of many talented handcrafters and market closes, you can visit nearby bars, theaters, cinemas etc.
Phu Chi Fah
If you are a real nature lover or simply enjoy capturing that one mesmerizing dawn moment on your camera, you will fall for Phu Chi Fah’s beauties instantly.
Phu Chi Fah is a national forest park in Thailand. It’s a home to many different animal and plant species which make that mountain area one very vivid and an alive sight. If you are ready to see a barking deer casually walking amongst the trees or to feel canaries flying above your head, be ready to be amazed.
Beauty of Phu Chi Fah’s sunrises is that one thing that will make you say that you want to live there forever. For the best experience, you would want to get to the top of the hill, get yourself a comfortable place and just watch as magic happens in front of you. They called this magic show “The sea of mist”. When you look at the hills around you, you will notice that all that you can actually see are peaks while the rest of the hills are covered in mist.
The Thai people call them Floating islands or Islands in the mist.
Boon Rawd Farm
If you ever wished to know how actors feel on any set of Tim Burton’s movie surrounded by all that colorful scenography you can make your wish come true.
Boon Rawd Farm, or Singha Park, is actually owned by the Boon Rawd Brewery. This Brewery produces their famous Singha beer but don’t get your hopes up if you are imagining rivers of beer for you to drink or an actual brewery to see here. Boon Rawd Farm is a friendly place where you can take your whole family to visit one sunny morning or afternoon.
What makes this farm so beautiful are endless fields of different fruit and plantations forming an extremely colorful. Amongst others, you can find strawberries, mushrooms and salad vegetables here.
If you would like to visit this farm with your children, you can take them to the petting zoo. If you get hungry during this visit, there are a lot of places on the farm where you can freely pick up some fruit or vegetables. If you are lacking some physical exercise, you can take a bicycle through the park and make sure that those calories are burnt.
This farm offers a lot of activities and it has a very homely feeling. Make sure you don’t miss out.
The Golden Triangle
Fans of turbulent history, which makes adrenaline start coursing through your body, will love this place.
The Golden Triangle is actually an area which covers three separate countries; Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos. What makes this triangle even more exciting is the fact that this was the place where they used to (at least by Thai side of the border) grow opium widely and shipped it around the globe during WWII.
Now, you can visit The House of Opium which is a museum where you can see and hear a lot of interesting stuff related to the opium industry. You will be introduced with history of opium trade and how it affected the relationships between the Golden Triangle countries. You will also be shown different tools they used to take this drug. Production tools used in this industry are exposed in an old fashioned way, but don’t forget, you are not allowed to touch them.
Featured image via Flickr by Vashkar