So I arrived in Chiang Rai Thursday 17th Nov at 7.30pm after a very kind lift from a Thai girl Mary and her husband as I had missed the last bus from the Chiang Kong border. I had no accomodation booked, as that tends to be what I am doing now, but was a little tricky trying to find somewhere in the dark that didnt overcharge! Got quoted some expensive prices, so I presisted and kept walking, eventually finding ' Y Y Ti Amo' Guesthouse. right by the Golden Clock Tower in Chiang Rai, which was 150 baht a night, so 3 pounds for a private room.
I really enjoyed my 2 nights in Chiang Rai and used the time to have a few more relaxed days, do some MUCH needed laundry after my village homestay etc (clothes were stinking!!). Chaing Rai is a bussling little town which isnt too big but isnt too small at the same time. I met an Argentianian guy the first night (we had met in Laos also so decided to met and have dinner to have some company) so we had some dinner at the famous night food market which has fantastic food stalls, and then little tables and chairs and someone signing etc. Was lovely. Was so crazy to be sitting there eating at 9pm knowing that that morning I had woken up in a hilltribe village in Laos, to the sound of the roosters crowing. Amazing how much things can change in just 24 hours.
On the Friday 18th Nov I got the local bus to the well known 'White Temple' which was only 15 mons on the bus...what a temple!! Its a a modern temple, also known as 'Wat Rong Koom' by the Thai people, a Thai atrist dedicated his whole life to designing and building it and there are still some works and paintings being finished off here, Its free admission and like no other temple I have seen in the last 5 weeks...its completely modern and seems to be partly a warning of the modern world and the evils it has, eg there is a really amazing no smoking sign and then a mass bed of arms and hands coming out of the ground, presumably warning of human greed. It was so fascinating to look around and so so different. It has pictures of modern day objects eg superman, mobile phones etc, within the tmeples themselves and the toilets there are AMAZING.... made out of gold.
Chiang Rai's main attractions are the white temple, the night market and the other temples it has, so Fri pm I spent a few hours walking around and seeing lots of 'Wats' (temples), eg Wat Phra Singh, Wat Phra Kaeo AND i WALKED UP THE HILL TO see Doi Tong Wat which was supposed to have great views over the river, but didnt haha!! On the way back to my hostel I saw my first tesco since being away, err, they are are taking over eh, didnt go in!! I enjoyed a really lush strawberry smoothie which was amazing, while watching the clock tower do its hourly show which it does in the evenings...lights and music, really pretty. On Fri night I met Mary (the girl who had helped me cross the border into Thailand from Laos) and trated her and her friends (who wanted to pratice her englihs ha) to dinner at the night market as a thank you for her help the other day. We shared a lovely traditional Thai market meal, fresh fried fish and noodles and veg and egg which you cook up in a pot over a wee stove they bring to the table. Was rly yum but I was glad Mary and her friend were there as I would not have known how to cook or eat what we were given ha! Mary was really funny and was amazed that I away travelling alone, she kept saying 'you strong lady, so strong' ha ha! I will definitely be keeping in touch with her.
Chaing Rai night market was lovely to look around for souvenirs/gifts so I spent some time doing that although it is really tricky as I cant carry much so have to limit what I can but which is soo hard when things are so cheap and so lovely!!
So tomorrow morning I leave Chiang Rai and head to its 'big sister' Chiang Mai which is exciting. I cant beleive that in a week I will be in Sydney and that I only have a week left in my S.E.Asia adventure. Quite sad really as I have seen and done so much here and feel like I sort of know the place a bit, getting more comfortable I guess. But my adventure will continue....