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Tami and Pat Travel Adventures Tales Tall and Small where we are and have been...

The Golden Triangle

THAILAND | Saturday, 6 December 2008 | Views [1305]

white temple

white temple

Thankyou for your comments and saying hi everyone!  It's really, really nice to hear from you and it's fun to come online and see peoples responses :)

Pat and I have ended up staying longer in Chiang Mai than originally planned.  Partly due to lack of trains out of the city.  They were all full because so many people got stranded in Thailand and are now able to get out through Bangkok again, oh shucks right?  Of all places to be stranded... And partly because there is so much to do around the area. 

Our latest trip out of the city took us to Chaing Rai, the smaller, more laid back version of Chiang Mai.  Along the way we stopped at the White Temple.  One of the most popular in Thailand.  Easy to see why, it is so different.  It is entirely white, with shards of mirrors embedded all over the structure.  Its art around the temple is strange in a way that you don't expect to see violent depictions in the carvings and murals.  The entrance is a Dragon's mouth that you enter, and at the base, before a bridge are a pond with hundreds of carved stone hands reaching and grasping out of the ground, like it is coming out of the Dragons mouth.  And the mural on the inside wall of the temple depicts sky, the heavens, and futuristic rockets, pics painted  and hidden within the mural of odds and ends like a cell phone, Superman, things out of Star Wars, Neo from the Matrix, and some man standing in a g-string, bent over, and giving you the finger.  Not at all what I expected to see.  Inside a temple. 

We followed further up north to the Golden Triangle, which is where Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar, or is it Burma, I can never remember, meet.  The countries converge in a river, and in the center, there is a triangle island, the 'Golden Triange'.  This dot of land is no mans land.  It belongs to no one and is completely free.  Apparently, you can still get opium here because there is no law.  But, if you bring it back, then of course, you get busted.  So, smoke it there!  Pat and I sat on steps to the riverbank and looked across at Laos.  We could've swam it.  We also visited a golden Buddha statue that was enormous.  It was beautiful and the temple grounds around it amazing.  The entire hours long grueling ride up there was worth it. 

Finally, we went as far the Myanmar border, where we chose not to cross over just to get our visas stamped because the border town we were in was so fun to walk around in.  There were literally hundreds of stalls of Chinese wares, Burmese wares, of course Thai, and a conglomerate of people roasting chestnuts in woks with coals, carts of pomegranates, tangerines, nuts, noodles, you name it.  And among all this hundreds of the protesters like we had seen on the news came riding there bikes throught the streets, all donned in yellow.  Quite a sight to see.

Just a side note on the protesters, in talking to some of our guides, mostly in the village we had stayed overnight in, we were told that about 35% of the people don't like the prime minister and government, and 65% do.  The guy that was telling us about this was one of the 65% and the village we stayed in that was poor, was his home.  We had gone through several villages that the current prime minister had installed solar panels in to bring electricity to them.  And his industry was tourism and he was most upset about the effect the protest would have on people coming to visit Thailand and therefore supply his income.  So, of course, we were getting one side of it.  But Pat and I couldn't help but talk about the differences, first off, how peaceful the protest had been generally, second, that they actually were able to get the prime minister banned from politics for 5 years, and third, that the airport and areas they protested against were unharmed, unvandalized, just dirty.  In comparison, in the states, masses of people probably wouldn't make it to, say LAX before army would be called in, people arrested, maybe tear- gassed, and mob mentality would very possibly ended up in looting, vandalism, violence, and President Bush absolutely would not have stepped down.

It's interesting to talk about anyway over dinner.  Thai food, and Singha of course.  I like my Singha.

Take care everyone, sorry for rambling...

We went further north

Tags: chiang rai, golden buddha, golden triangle, white temple

 

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