It really makes a difference sleeping in a proper hotel, the peace and quiet was absolute bliss! Today was the first, and only, full day in Chiang Rai having only come solely to see the white temple and black house. The hotel was able to source a Hog and after a small wait in reception for delivery it was not long before we was cruising down the highway heading to the white temple.
The white temple his one of the most beautiful buildings we have ever seen and is today’s Blog photo. Created, funded and owned by artist Chalermchai Kositpipatin, costing him well over £700,000 so far and it is not planned to be completed until 2070. Chalermchai Kositpipat sees this as an offering to Buddha and will grant him immortal life. This is the most popular tourist attraction in Chiang Rai and you can really see that with how many people are here. I don’t think it helps that fact that it’s free, but we will take crowds of people over paying for anything any day. The artwork and sculptures around the temple were very satanic, a pool of hands protruding from the ground along the cause way and faces in absolute agony as thorny plants are tearing them apart. A very strange sight just outside a temple of worship, and one I have yet to find the meaning of them.
We only spent about thirty minutes in the temple grounds and then decided to grab some drinks to cool off. I think I had the best Oreo milkshake ever, it was only 60p! The black house was about 25km from the White Temple and took about 30 minutes to get there, it was literally the opposite side of the city. The Black House is not a religious site at all but a gallery for artist Thawan Duchanee that has a fascination of using dead animals and their parts in his art work. I think we must have seen 7 dead crocodiles. The site consists of 40 black houses made from wood, glass, concrete, bricks, or terracotta in various unique styles and design. It was all a bit weird but defiantly worth checking out if the dead animals won’t Freak you out.
Realising we had only been out for 3 hours at this point we decided to checkout another temple that cropped up in a few internet searches of thinks to do in Chiang Rai, this was the Wat Huai Pla Kung Temple, a 7 tiered temple that actually had 9 tiers and you was allowed to go all the way to the top giving you a fantastic view of the surrounding landscape and like the white temple and black house was completely free. We even to see a new giant Buddha being built right next to it.
When we was trying to leave we almost destroyed the scooter by not realising I had left the chain and padlock still wrapped around the front wheel. Two Thai people came running at me screaming, maybe they thought I was trying o steel the bike!
Having nothing else to do we decided to just open the map and start driving looking for streets and restaurants that might be worth stopping for. We didn’t have much planned but ended up passing a restaurant called “The Pizza Company”. We have seen these all over Thailand but had yet to try it out. With an offer outside of a pizza for £1.40 we could not resist. It turned out to be a very small pizza but to our delight we realised there was a Swensens next door, an Ice Cream restaurants that we have been resisting for to long so decided to try it out. Both having exactly the same taste in junk food we went with two scoops of ice cream on top of a waffle with whipped cream, fudge sauce and a single Oreo on top, delicious. We headed back to the hotel and spent the evening researching our next business venture and planning what we was going to do with the 6 hours we had to wait between flights tomorrow.