Before planning our South East Asia trip, I thought that we will just spend several days in Bangkok since this is the capital of Thailand and I have little knowledge of the country. But to my surprise, Thailand is a very diverse country and all nature lovers, and adventures seeker should not miss visiting the northern part of Thailand – Chiang Rai.
After spending 3 days in Bangkok with my co-Blogger ad friends, we head straight to Chiang Mai. Took a flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai via Airasia and we booked out ticker via Traveloka for only 1,500 / 30 USD per pax/1 way.
Chiang Rai is a province located in the northern part of Thailand. About an hour away from the border of Myanmar by bus or private car. If only we knew about this before planning our trip, we could have planned to go to Myanmar however, that gives me a reason to be back in Thailand and cross-border to Myanmar.
On our second day in Chiang Mai, at 7 in the morning, our shuttle from Travel Hub pick us up in our accommodation at Buri Siri Hotel. First in our itinerary is the Thaweesin Chiang Rai Hot Spring. In this area, vendors are selling boiled eggs which are cooked at this hot spring. You’ll see that it’s boiling and the smoke shows how hot this water is.
2. Hot Spring Foot Spa
Another attraction here is a foot spa where you will dip your feet/legs at this SUPER hot spring, I mean it’s freaking hot and feels like your feet are being cooked! That’s how hot the water is. Alongside us are the Korean group of tourists and one lady from that group could dip her legs in that boiling hot spring! 1 second of dipping will make your feet really RED and soft which I like the most part of it.
3. Elephant Sanctuary
Our second stop is this amazing Elephant Sanctuary – Elephant Valley, about 30-minutes away from the Hot Spring. The difference of this sanctuary from other Elephant Camps in Chiang Rai is that guests can only watch how the elephants are being bathed, you can feed bananas the elephants over the fence and watch them from afar.
In other camps, you can bathe the elephants, feed them so close and you can ride on top of the poor elephant. Here at the sanctuary, they eliminate all those things that make an elephant stressed and sad.
Yes! Animals can get stressed and SAD!
One particular female elephant here is just recently saved from a camp that tortures elephants and forced them to work by allowing humans to ride on top of them, work for 12 hours and even longer. Let’s face the fact that Thailand is known for elephants and riding on it but the odd thing is Elephants in Thailand are sacred so how come these poor animals are being tortured in the camps?
But the good thing is slowly the government is prohibiting elephants to be a tourist attraction where tourists and guests can ride on them. This particular camp has less than 10 elephants as of the moment because they want the elephants to freely roam around and enjoy the nature and the vicinity.
At this camp, we are taught the importance of the elephant in the Thai culture and little that we know that there are very few elephants now in South East Asia and we must protect and conserve them.
4. White Temple
The third visit is the White Temple or Wat Rong Khun, a Buddhist Temple privately owned by Chalermchai Kositpipat – a rich Thai artist who dedicated build this temple with intricate designs from million pieces of mirror glass.
The silver lining/design is actually mirrored glass. Because this is a private temple there is an entrance fee of 50 BAHT for foreigners and from the entrance, the staff will give you s small plastic bag where you can place your footwear before entering the temple.
Photography inside the temple is prohibited.
This golden temple-like is actually a toilet. Cool eh? A GOLDEN TOILET! Lol.
5. Blue Temple
4th is the Blue Temple or Wat Rong Suea Ten – a public Buddhist temple where you can see a HUGE Buddha inside the temple. No entrance fee but getting here is not easy, you need to hire a tuk-tuk or motorcycle or perhaps avail a group tour in a travel agency.
Suea Ten means dancing Tiger but outside the temple, you will see dragons. When inside a temple or any religious house/building observe silence at all times. Respect the customs and traditions.
6. Black House
Our 5th stop is the Black House Museum or Baan Dam – owned by a famous Thai artist Thawan Duchanee. Also, showcases works of other Thai artists. Inside the museum is not well lit, works and art are mostly in wood, in red-colored paint or even black. That’s because of the theme of the museum. Also, there are lots of animals head as a design on the wall (which by the way I didn’t bother taking snaps of it I find it creepy!)
7. Mae Chan Tea House and Plantation
And last on our last itinerary is the Mae Chan Tea House and Plantation. This massive tea plantation not only houses different tea plantation but also pineapples. The tea house sells different types of tea leaves and you can taste all for free. They sell affordable and high-quality tea leaves.
We ended our whole day trip at 4:30 in the afternoon and were able to get back at our hotel at around 8:30 in the evening because it was raining in the middle of our trip to Chiang Mai. It was really tiring but totally worth our time. We’re able to appreciate more the country and the countryside. Will I go back to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai – DEFINITELY!!!