From Chiang Khong, we traveled via local bus to Chiang Rai. It was pretty simple a far as travel days go. Our hosts directed to the bus station, which was a ten minute walk from our guesthouse. Buses leave every half hour, cost 65 baht, and take 2 – 3 hours.
Chiang Rai was a bigger city than I expected. It is a lot like Chiang Mai, only smaller. (But still bigger than I thought it would be). I was thinking Chiang Rai was a small mountain town. I guess being surprised is what happens when you are not the trip planner.
We planned for 6 days in Chiang Rai, but arrived a day early because we got bored in Chiang Khong.
It turned out there wasn’t as much to do in Chiang Rai as we thought. So we had a few “rest” days where we blogged and did school stuff and only left the guesthouse for meals.
Chiang Rai was a nice town to just hang out. There were plenty of food options nearby our guesthouse (Baan Bua) and it was easy to get around on foot.
Of course we did get out and see some sites. Here are some fun things we did in and around Chiang Rai.
Wat Phra Kaew
Like the same name temple in Bangkok, this wat also has an emerald Buddha.
Chiang Rai province tour
We hired a driver for the day to take us around Chiang Rai province (1800 baht) where we saw:
The Black House
This place was odd. Apparently the owner had an obsession with death and liked decorating with dead animal skins and bones?
Mae Sai border with Myanmar where we were seriously tempted to pay the 500 baht per person fee to go into Myanmar, but then remembered that we didn’t bring our passports.
Instead we climbed a bagillion stairs to a wat with views of Myanmar.
Visiting a Monkey Cave that freaked Kali out, but it turned out there were no monkeys inside, just milling around the temple grounds. I was more frightened by the skeleton statue in the pond.
The Golden Triangle where we took a boat ride (700 baht) on the Mekong to the spot where Mynamar, Laos, and Thailand meet.
Lastly, we stopped in Chiang Saen where we visited a wat on a hill overlooking rice fields and an ancient wat.
Watt Rong Khun
On another day we hired a driver to take us to the famous White Temple (300 baht).
This glittering white temple was spectacular. Before leaving on this trip, I played the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I felt like Queen Jadis would feel right at home here.
Hill Tribe Museum
On our last day in Chiang Rai we stayed in town and walked over to the Hill Tribe Museum. It was interesting especially since we had lived with a Karen hill tribe family in Mae La Oop.
Also in Chiang Rai, my oldest daughter finished submitting her college applications, which for me may have been the most exciting thing to happen in Chiang Rai.
Oh, and also Chiang Rai has a cool clock tower.