This story is getting a little old. You see we found a guy in Chiang Mai who could get us a car. His credentials you ask? He spoke good English, and he smiled as he walked by pointing towards the place to get coffee. What else does a Westerner need first thing in the morning? No talk, No Tuk-tuk, just some coffee and then we can embrace all that you have to offer.
It turns out he lived in Baltimore for many years and could get us a car for $3000baht which would include a stop at a hot spring and at the White Temple.
We left the hotel and found out his car fell threw (his sister took it out for the day?) but he knew another guy who had a car – shabang! we are back in business. 5 minutes later we are en-route in an off duty taxi to Chiang Rai.
Before leaving I asked the concierge about the hot springs and whether you can swim in them. He said it was too hot. I asked our smart English speaking car-getter guy and he said you could change there if you need to. He didn’t really answer the question and you can see why in the photos below.
The White Temple
Our next stop was the illustrious White Temple which is on the outskirts of Chiang Rai. It is a beautiful place and worth a stop.
It turns out the original temple, Wat Rong Khun, was in terrible shape so the visual artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat, who was born in Chiang Rai invested his own money to build a private temple with his own innovation and learning style as a place for people to get a better appreciation for Buddhist teachings. Hence the modern images to attract young people.
Le Meridien Chiang Rai
We stayed at this wonderful resort with awesome pools and beautiful grounds to walk upon. The breakfast, was good although cooking eggs western style is a mystery yet to be learned. Colleen and I were invited to a Buddhist ceremony where nine monks chanted prayers and we were showered with holy water. It was at 07:00 am so in my haste I forgot my camera. The one thing we both noted was how fidgety and informal the monks are – we always equate them with peaceful serenity and movement but they are anything but. Towards the end of the ceremony we were both asked to make an offering to the monks (each received packages of robes and other stuff from the hotel) so we ceremonially gave it to them.
My running paid off when I found this laundry machine by the side of the road. It looked in good condition so after a visual check from Colleen we were good to to some laundry! Our hotel room ended up being the drying rack!!
Chang Rai was a brief stop and in hindsight it would have been nice to stay a couple of days longer but the value of the Le Meridien stay is really on the weekend so we moved back to Chiang Mai – with a car booked through the hotel.