Upon arriving in downtown Chiang Rai, my first thoughts took me back to the White Temple and its homage to whisky. Point taken.
The designer of the White Temple also constructed the Golden Clock Tower to provide the city some architectural significance. Directed to come by here while searching for mango with sticky rice, I happened to learn that it features a light and music show at 9 pm.
Nosing around the area by the homestay, I spotted these.
Our room had an en suite bathroom, albeit outdoors. While on the subject, there is an elaborate collection of tabos in Thawan Duchanee’s toilet.
I was able to peruse his facilities while wandering the grounds of Black House, his museum-like collection housed in 40 or so structures in a garden setting. I most enjoyed his Darth Vader-ish self-sculpture and coveted his over-sized black leather purses. He is also from Chiang Rai, which made me wonder about the water.
While Chiang Rai is a destination for many tourists, we were only passing through on our way to/from Phu Chi Fa. Should you Google the name of the forest park, you will see stunning sunrise views of the mountain scenery overlooking the Laos-Thai border. Normally, an entire post would be devoted to Phu Chi Fa. We were not so fortunate. After rising about 4:30 am, we hopped on our scooters and headed to the base. From the parking area, it’s about a half mile walk to the top. Despite being early, the trail was rather crowded. Once I found a good spot, I curled myself into a ball and tried to keep warm until the sun rose. Despite a promising start, the fog kept rolling in too thick to see anything besides hundreds of people taking selfies with a blank background. Eventually, the call of hot drinks and warm beds grew too strong to resist and we headed back to town.
No road trip is a loss, though, as I always enjoy the rides and the recuperative massages I treat myself to afterwards. While it is burning season and quite dry, it’s also time for strawberry picking and we saw lush fields for days. We stopped and sampled a few as well.