View our location map in Chiang Rai
We arrived in Chiang Rai after a long haul – we arrived at the Sukhothai bus station at 8.30am only to be told that the 9am bus was already fully booked since the trains weren’t running. So we managed to get on a 9.30am bus to Lampang (the only city in Thailand that still used horse-drawn carriages) and then another bus to Chiang Rai and didn’t get here until about 6pm.
Since arriving in Chiang Rai we’ve done quite a few things; visited the largest waterfall in Chiang Rai, the White Temple – the inside is the coolest we have ever seen and Dre even asked the artist if he would paint one of our houses – the painting is so intricate and fantastic. It is a new temple that isn’t actually finished yet and so we weren’t really expecting too much, so it was nice to be blown away with it’s coolness.
Our first 2 nights we stayed in less-than-fantastic guesthouses, (a different one each night in an attempt to move to a nicer place) so we were really glad to move into the house with Ben and Christerine when they arrived here. The house is 12 kms out of town so we have a couple of motorbikes to get around. It is on quite a large piece of land, with it’s own pond and views of the mountains, it’s really beautiful and quiet.
We also decided to celebrate Guy Fawkes and bought heaps of fireworks and made a bonfire at the house. It was such a fun night which ended in us all releasing a huge lantern (which is part of the festival that is currently taking place in Thailand and Laos and everyone is releasing lanterns every day at the moment). It has taken us by surprise how freezing cold Chiang Rai is – our winter clothes have come out and the evenings are very chilly. It is the first time we’ve had blankets on the bed, and it’s 3 blankets, not one! It’s a welcome change from being hot all the time though and we’re quite enjoying it.
Our plans for the following couple of weeks have taken a slightly unexpected turn (again!) as we have to go to the Laos border to renew our visa’s today, and also we were going to spend the next couple of weeks staying in Chiang Rai town instead of the house because Christerine’s mum is coming to stay at the house… so this was fine and then everyone we met in Chiang Rai were on their way to Laos and we spent the week telling everyone how amazing northern Lao is… then it dawned on us – we could go back! Why not? We are going to be at the border anyway and all we have to do is cross the border and get the bus for 4 more hours to our beloved Luang Namtha. Ever since we left Luang Namtha and northern Laos we have been searching for the peace and beauty that we found there, and haven’t quite found it…so Laos take #3, here we come! Woohoo!!! Our photos are here.