This weekend’s adventure was to Chiang Rai, located in northern Thailand. I left Thursday night after class and took a 10-hour overnight bus ride. The ticket indicated that the ride would be much longer, so it was exciting when the bus arrived in Chiang Rai at 8 a.m. instead of later. I slept surprisingly well, thanks to my eye mask and neck pillow! After the bus ride, we headed to our house where we would be spending the weekend. We stayed at Ban Ban Homestay (and could not stop making jokes about the name).
Once our bags were dropped off at the house, we were ready to go exploring—but we stopped first to play with the owner’s adorable cat, Kepmoo. Kepmoo loved us and followed us around meowing and begging for pets the rest of our stay. Once out of the house, we stumbled upon a cute used book store, then incredible temples, and a wonderful café that made pancakes. We were all really excited about the pancakes! In the afternoon, we went to Wat Huay Plakang, a beautiful nine-story temple. We climbed to the top for a beautiful view of Chiang Rai, the mountains, and a gigantic white Buddha statue. (Since I love Buddha statues so much, I was very excited to see it!)
On Saturday morning, we had planned to take a biking tour to the White Temple. Unfortunately, I woke up with my eye swollen shut, so ended up going to the hospital instead. I was sent from room to room, struggling to communicate what was going on to non-English speaking nurses. Finally, they put me on a hospital bed, held my head down, rinsed my eye (which was extremely uncomfortable), and administered some pain killers. I was then honored to wear a sexy eye patch, with my glasses over the bulky eye patch. (HOT! – not!) I still have no idea what was wrong with my eye, but at least after I eventually removed the eye patch, I could see (somewhat), and, thankfully, the hospital visit didn’t take up too much of the day.
Even after the hospital and wearing an attention-drawing eye patch, I was not going to miss out on the trip. We proceeded to the White Temple and the Black House museum. The White Temple was magnificent and intricately decorated (at least from what I could tell with one eye)!
Here we are visiting the White Temple. (Luckily, my sunglasses hid most of the eye patch!)
The Black House museum was the weirdest collection of animal bones and trippy art. At this point of the day, my pain killers made me feel completely out of it. I fell asleep in the back of the songtaew, and my friends forced me to go take a nap (which I apparently fought them on saying that I was fine and not actually tired). Later, we went to the night bazaar, which had tons of different things to buy. My depth perception was a little off, which meant I was constantly running into people, the booths, and stumbling over the uneven pavement.
One of the 40 houses of the Black House museum. Each house was decorated in a unique way with animal skins, bones, rocks, and different pieces of art.
On Sunday morning, we flew back to Bangkok and when the flight landed, I startled awake from my position against some lady’s shoulder (OOOPS!). My nap felt great, so I didn’t mind that much—I’m sure she did though! This weekend in Chiang Rai was terrific, despite the eye patch and the hospital visit. Chiang Rai was a beautiful, quaint town, but still offered an abundance of things to do to keep busy all weekend. We wish we would have had more time to hike in the mountains, but it was great to be where it was cool and where we weren’t sweating all day (77 degrees is now apparently cold to me—I wore a sweater during the day and a sweatshirt at night).
My Chiang Rai weekend will be one that will be hard to forget!
Wat Rong Khun, perhaps better known to foreigners as the White Temple, is a contemporary, unconventional, privately owned, art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand.
Buddha statues –as well as memorials to the late king—are in every temple