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White Temple & Hilltribes in Chiang Rai

THAILAND | Friday, 28 June 2013 | Views [864] | Comments [2]

Chiang Rai to Chaing Mai:  Last day in Chiang Rai so I arranged a tour to see the sights in the 4 hours I have left and it was well worth it.  Fortunately I was the only one on the tour today so they were able to customize it to my needs (I had to catch a 12:45pm bus back to Chiang Mai).  We started off going to Wat Rong Kuhn (White Temple).  You most likely can guess from the photos why they call it the “White Temple”.  This is Chiang Rai’s version of the “Catedral de la Sagrada Familia” in Barcelona.  It eventually will be 6 buildings but as of this writing, it was basically just the temple.  The restrooms outside of the temple cost 55,000,000 baht (1.7 million USD).   These have to be the best restrooms in all of SE Asia.  Check out the pictures to see what happens if you smoke or drink.

It was then onto the “Black House”.  I guess you can guess by now why they called it this.  Some pretty interesting sculptures there.  After that it was onto the Hill Tribe Villages.  I must admit that I had mixed feelings about this.  I rationalized it by saying it was like Williamsburg, VA but with real people.  The 300 baht ($10) entrance fee they collect goes towards the villagers themselves.  It basically is a “fake” village that the different tribes come to and stay there for one month.  They basically pose for pictures and hope that you will also buy some of their handicraft.  The three tribes that were at the village were the Lu Mien (Long Neck Karens) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Neck_Karen , Akha (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akha_people )and the Palong http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palaung_people  .  The Long Neck Karen are noted for the brass rings they put around their necks.  The Palong are noted for their big earrings and the Akha are noted for their tribal dressings.   Upon entering and exiting the village, there are some spiritual totems the ward off the evil spirits.  These totems are definitely not PG-13 so caution when looking at the photos.  You are not allowed to touch these totems.  If you do, they must be destroyed (see photos). 

 

After this, it was off to catch the bus.  The ride back to Chiang Mai was through some beautiful countryside.  The only downside to the bus ride is being subjected to 3 Thai guys rapping in a video for an hour and a half.  The Thais however seem to really enjoy this.  I guess they are funny.  After arriving in Chiang Mai, I hit the night market.  Bad news:  the price of Rolex watches went from 200 baht ($7) to 800 baht ($25).  The only thing I can figure out is that maybe I was looking at a REAL Rolex!

 

Today is the 7th day of the trip so far.  Where does the time go?  I am off to Laos tomorrow!

Comments

1

Would Arely mind if you rearranged your schedule and made it a 3 month midlife crisis trip? It seems it is hard to do it justice in such a short time.
And... are you even reading our comments or just counting the views?

  Renie Jun 29, 2013 11:00 AM

2

Renie,
Yes...I am reading them all? Oppss...did you guys expect answers? I am really enjoying the comments. You and Joe were the #1 posters (Pete..close 2nd)...I hate to think it was just for the watch!

  Chris Jun 29, 2013 12:15 PM

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