Two Chiangs and their surroundings

by Bngrtw June. 12, 2013 2953 views

We had arrived in Thailand, and were determined to make the most of the 2 weeks that the Thai government allows overland border crossing travellers to stay in the country without visa (if you arrive by plane, it's 4 weeks!). We would spend about one week in the North of the country, and the other week between Bangkok and the paradise islands of the Gulf of Thailand.

Our first stop was the city of Chiang Rai, which is famous, among other things, for the work of this local artist [en.wikipedia.org]. Among his works, the White Temple, shown in the first picture. This is a very peculiar building where the traditional meets the contemporary. Buddhists use the temple normally, whilst tourists can enjoy some really unusual sculptures and paintings, including life size statues of The Predator, Freddie Krueger or Batman.

Going through the surrounding countryside on a motorbike, we found some elephants. Many people choose to do elephant treks in North Thailand, and you can even volunteer to do some elephant caring (which, we believe, involves a shovel and is smelly!).

From Chiang Rai, we went to Chiang Mai, where we saw a Muay Thai bout (exciting, but we couldn't get good pictures) and got a Thai massage (ouch!). Not far from there, you can visit the Kayan people, whose women are famous for wearing a set of heavy rings around their necks, which gives the impression that the neck is stretched (in fact, the weight of the rings pushes their clavicles downwards). It's interesting, if a bit controversial as a tourist activity.

Of the many temples in Chiang Mai, we show you a picture of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep [en.wikipedia.org]. In this temple, we learned that Buddha has different positions for each day of the week (2 positions for Wednesday), and each position has a different story. Buddhist people may keep a shrine at home with the Buddha corresponding to the day of the week when they were born.

Every day it was getting hotter, so at some point we decided we wouldn't go to Bangkok, as we knew we wouldn't enjoy the megalopolis with such heat. We headed straight for the islands instead!

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