Tourists in Chiang Rai

Friday, 25 Jan, 2019

Chiang Rai

We could have cycled to the White Temple but the kids decided they had done enough cycling so today we hired a songthaew from the bus station to take us to the White Temple and the Blue Temple. We negotiated a price of 500 baht and hopped in the back.

We knew that the White Temple could get incredibly busy so we made that our first stop. We had met for breakfast at 7:30 and it was around 9:30 by the time we were buying our tickets. The crowd wasn't too bad and we could move round easily and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of this dazzling white structure.

There was much to look at, from the dragon fountains, dancing crabs and giant fish as well as the amazing architecture of the building itself. Even the toilets were impressive. There were people praying inside the temple as we walked through respectfully.

In contrast, the Blue Temple was quieter and much more sedate - more like an actual temple. The dragons at the entrance were particularly impressive.

We had been told of a good coffee shop in the river just a few minutes walk away so we headed there. It turned out that Chivit Thamma Da was much more than a coffee shop, being a cafe, bistro and bar set in an old rambling house on the banks of the Kok River. It was a magical setting. The drinks were amazing! Georgia had a mango sago smoothie, the boys had pineapple and lemon and I had mint lemonade and ginger ale. They were all sensationally good.

Refreshed, we started back to the temple to find the driver parked just nearby. Back at the bus station we found somewhere to top up Simon's mobile then decided it was time for lunch. We used another recommendation from the hotel and had excellent Khao Soi - probably the best yet.

Back at the hotel, Simon and Jonno got to work cleaning the bikes and bagging them ready for our flight tomorrow. I went in search of a massage at Ansara, another hotel recommendation. I opted for a two-hour deep tissue massage and it was wonderful, though incredibly painful at times as her strong fingers prodded and kneaded relentlessly into my tight muscles. It felt so good at the end.

There was time for a beer in our room before we walked across town for dinner at Barrabar which specialises in northern Thailand cuisine (yet another hotel recommendation, we were on a roll!). We had a pork Barrabar which was like a spicy mince that you ate with cabbage and lettuce leaves, yellow chicken curry and a hung lay, a pork belly curry (both served with roti bread) and some chicken satay (served with toast). All incredibly tasty.

We returned the way we came so that Georgia could buy a stuffed corgi - she had been eyeing these stuffed toys since spotting them in Chiang Mai. We then detoured via the night bazaar as the kids were looking for a few more elephant souvenirs. We ended our night with yet more coconut ice cream as we wandered back to the hotel.