Chiang Rai is a popular destination for a short getaway for Expats living in Chiang Mai. Having only recently become expats ourselves, we hadn’t yet ventured to this part of Thailand. Late on a Thursday night Lee, my boyfriend, suggested the trip. Friday was fully booked so we opted for Saturday morning giving us one night there.
After a sleepy 3 hour coach journey, we arrived in Chiang Rai. Checked in to our guesthouse and rented a bike. Didn’t fancy driving our own bike here, especially being the rainy season so renting here was easier. 250bt later, we had our own transport and headed to Chiang Rai’s main attraction, The White Temple or Wat Rong Khun as its known to locals.
As the name suggests, this temple on the outskirts of Chiang Rai, is completely white, including the white catfish we spotted in the water too! It definitely stands out as a temple so different to those you usually see because of its quirky design.
You could tell a lot of thought and determination went into creating it. Don’t get me wrong, all the temples I have visited in Thailand have so much effort and time go into them, this one was just very unique.
Even the bathrooms were golden!
Driving back, we headed to the North of Chiang Rai ‘Baan Dam’ (The Black House). I was the designated navigator (not that anyone should trust me as navigator, I’m sure my boyfriend would agree). Thinking we were lost, even with google maps for direction, we continued along the suggested route, taking us down dark roads and past a lake. We even saw a woman walking two cows, having to slow down so they didn’t get scared and knock our bike into the lake, a pretty daunting experience I must say.
Arriving at our destination 1 minute past 5 o’clock, we found the place had just closed! Took a few photos of our trip anyway, couldn’t have travelled that far getting lost and not document it!
We continued being tourists into the evening and visited Chiang Rai’s night bazaar. Small in comparison to the one in Chiang Mai but the minute you enter you notice the difference. The stalls are not catering for tourists with elephant t-shirts and wooden frogs. Instead they have something different on each stall, a traditional Thai market. Quite a few stalls were closed though because the Saturday walking street was on across town.
Heading to that we found a quiet and relaxed atmosphere, we were some of the only farang’s around. Didn’t need to negotiate prices either because they were very reasonable! We headed to where we heard music and saw a live band surrounded by hundreds of local Thai’s dancing to a particular routine they all knew. It was amazing to see and such a nice surprise to end our night on.
Sunday was pretty much the same in the way of being tourists before heading back to reality in Chiang Mai. Headed out to find the tea plantation at Singha park. Half an hour’s drive from the centre, we arrived to see a giant Singha beer statue at the entrance to the park.
There’s a small coffee shop too which serves the best apple pie! Considering I’m British and haven’t had one for so long, it was incredible and you’re served a huge slice too! There were limited areas you could drive your bike through the park but we opted for that instead of waiting an hour and a half for a tour bus.
Despite the rain, the Tea plantation was great to see, it was just a shame we couldn’t taste any of it. You could buy some in their overpriced gift shop but we gave that a miss.
Decided to check out Chiang Rai beach on the way back. The name grabbed our attention being far up north.
Although we knew it wouldn’t be an actual beach, we arrived to another amazing view looking out at the Kok river and sat for a while in a little bamboo hut to admire the scenery.
Perfect way to end the trip and a great recommendation for anyone seeking a visit to Chiang Rai.