So the travelling has began…
When I arrived at Mochit bus terminal, I purchased a ticket for my destination and waited for my departure time. Thebest way to travel around Thailand is by local bus: it’s cheap and you are provided with snacks, a meal, pillow, blanket, a movie and a comfy reclining chair. I managed to get about 7 hours sleep but got woken up at 12.30am for food.
Once I arrived at bus terminal 2 in Chiang Rai, I chatted to some American girls, who were going to the same hostel ad me. We got on a 15baht songtaow to the other bus terminal then walked to our hostel.
Fun D hostel were friendly and informative and offered me breakfast. I chilled for a bit to plan out my days here and charged my phone. I couldn’t check in until 2 but this was no big deal.
At 9.30, there is a free tram that goes around the city and temples so naturally I rush to catch it at the King Mang Rai Monument. The tram took us to see Wat Phra Singh, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Doi Ngam Mueang, Wat Phra That Doi Jam Thong, Wet Ming Mueng and pass the Golden Clocktower. They were all slightly different and had beautiful decor.
On the tram, there were only Thais and the guide was explaining thing in Thai so had no idea what he was saying. One girl about my age started talking to me and soon hit it off. She explained different aspects of the tour and showed me where to go. She was here with family for a holiday but lived just outside of Bangkok. She was lovely and asked if I wanted to hang out this evening.
After the tram tour had finished, I wandered around the town; it was extremely quiet, not what I’m used to since living in Bangkok. I felt like I had head space to think and take in the place. I visited the Hill tribe museum which was interesting, providing information about the different tribes and tradition, his they live and the history of opium. I went to Chiang Rai park for a sit down then came across a huge market with food, clothes, bags etc.
I then tried to find an Art Gallery but didn’t succeed so ate some pumpkin and egg with rice before heading back to the hostel. I chilled in the hostel, chatting to an California girl, telling me about her travel. She had the same name as me. It’s encouraging that she has travelled on her own to more ‘dangerous’ countries like India.
In the evening, I met up with the Thai girl from this morning along the Sunday walking street. It wasn’t too busy with mostly Thais wandering around and had extremely cheap clothed. There were girl performing Thai dances and a younger boy dancing with knives. She got me to try loads of different foods: a green leaf stuffed with peanuts, onion, carrot with a tangy sauce; Thai sticky, jelly-like sweets, a kind of pancake in a fish shape with strawberry jam in, another bready, waffle dessert with sugar and sweet corn (surprisingly delicious), fried squashed banana with a syrup sauce and Thai mushrooms in batter.
When we had walked the whole street, we strolled to the night bazaar, which was a huge market. I was going to rat standard pad Thai but the girl I was with wanted me to try something different so we shared a seafood hotpot. It was amazing: you just chuck in the seafood, egg, cabbage, mushrooms, glass noodles and wait for it to boil. On the stage, there were singers and Thai dancers. It was just the perfect night.
We visited the clocktower at night before saying our goodbye and sleeping in the hostel.
The next day, after eating some complimentary toast in the early morning, I hired out motorbike to explore the outskirts of Chiang Rai. As I hadn’t risen a motorbike for one two months, I was slightly nervous at the prospect. However, I was feeling confident in no time.
My first port of call was the White Temple, which is a beautiful, amazingly designed and not surprisingly white temple. There were a few odd things about this temple like as you entered the path, there was a sculpture of a pool of arm trying to get out of the water and skulls scattered around. Inside the temple on the back wall was such a cool painting, which as a distance looked like a Buddha looking over a desert. However, I was pointed out the desert was actually made of different picture including space and well known characters like Harry Potter, a minion, Michael Jackson, Badman, Spiderman and the list goes on. Unfortunately, photo are prohibited but I took a blurry picture of a postcard with the wall. The toilet here were luxury in a picturesque golden temple. By the temple is a art museum of the guy’s work who designed and painted the temple. He is extremely talented using a mixture of medias and creating some thoughtful and humorous art.
After, I drove on an never ending road with views of mountains and fields to Khon Korn waterfall. It was going to be 1.5km hike to the waterfall and let me tell you, it wasn’t the flattest pathway. A couple of time, I had to balance myself over bamboo bridges, which were neither safe or stable. However, the climb was worth it as the waterfall was magnificent. Here, I met a tour guide, who took my photo and offered me water. I was truly dripping in sweat.
Next on my one person motorbike tour was Boonrawd Farm, where I drove around Singha park and visited the tea plantation and took in the incredible views.
I then motorbike to find Ping Phra Bat Hot Spring but was unsuccessful due to the lack of road signs. I even missed the black house which is a top destination in Chiang Rai as the sign was so small. The black house looked cool with various houses and odd sculptures surrounding it.
The last two places I kind of saw was the Long Neck Village, which in the end I decided not to pay 300bt for a set-up village and a tourist scam place. (I also got told that it wasn’t worth it). I then looked at the Doi Din Dang Pottery, where they were making different pots but all electronically compared to Myanmar.
After driving back to the hostel, I waited for my housemate and sister to arrive and settle in.
In the evening, we all plus another girl from the wandered around the night bazaar to have dinner, where I had another hot pot with fish. For dessert, I had a scooped out watermelon with mango and strawberry ice- cream and jelly. It was so refreshing. The market was huge with millions of flies lurking around the lights. We walked to the clocktower before heading to bed for an early night.