After already having visited an Elephant Sanctuary, taken a Thai cooking class and wasted an entire day by just hanging out at the hostel and walking through the streets of Chiang Mai, I had one full day left before the morning after my flight to Krabi would leave.
And I really wanted to visit the White Temple in Chiang Rai. You might have seen the picture of the beautiful white temple when you were still planning your trip to Thailand. I have, however, did not know where exactly it was located but I knew it was somewhere in the North of Thailand.
I was thinking if I should spend my money on a zip lining tour but also thought it was too expensive for only lasting half a day. Instead, I went to the travel agency and asked if they were offering trips to the white temple. And if you have the time, a tour to Chiang Rai and the White Temple should also be included in your Thailand itinerary.
And it was not only the temple itself, but they were offering full day trips that would also take you to the Hot springs, Black Temple, Long Neck village and the Golden Triangle, where the country boarders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet. This tour sounded fascinating and I booked it for a price of around 1000 Thai Baht (= 26,46 euros), which included transfer and lunch.
The next day I got picked up at 7am in front of the hostel I was staying at. It took about another hour to pick up all the other passengers and then a 1.5 hour car ride to the hot springs. We stopped, got out of the car and took some pictures of some water fountains. It was nice but not the most interesting place I have been at and after a couple of minutes we continued our ride. Half an hour later, we arrived at the white temple. The main reason why I wanted to go on this tour in the first place.
The White Temple in Chiang Rai
It really was magnificent! Built in so much detail and by far the most beautiful temple I have seen in my life. Definitely worth a visit. We were also allowed to go inside. Also, the area surrounding the temple was fascinating. Little shops, some smaller temples and statues and I could have definitely spent some more time there for sure.
We met back with our tour guide and went to some kind of cafeteria across the street. It included all kinds of different foods and was structured like a food court. The lunch was included, we got handed out a card with some money already topped up on it. Having booked the day trip by myself I just sat at a table by myself but then gladly made a Russian friend who was also on the trip.
It was good to know that I would not need to spend the rest of the day talking to myself. I do not remember what I ate but I do remember I had food poisoning the night after and felt pretty horrible. I can’t say where I got it from, but it could have been this place. Sooner or later you might experience some kind of food poisoning on your Asia trip anyway, so do not let this stop you.
The Black Temple
Not knowing how the day after would go we got back into the van and continued driving. The next stop was some temple called Black Temple. You could say it was the total opposite of the White Temple. Decorated with skulls and snake skins and no buddhas around, it did not look like a temple at all. I think nowadays it is more like a museum.
Some parts were not even accessible, and all in all there were so many little houses that we did get a bit lost on the way back to the parking spot and almost missed the van. Black Temple was really something different and a little bit scary.
Not having heard anything about it ever before I couldn’t help but put it into google later that day, and it is not actually a temple. Apparently while locals refer to the white temple as heaven, the refer to the black temple as hell. That explains the scariness.
Complete guide to solo female travel in Thailand!
Some tours also visit Long Neck Village
My tour had also visit Long Neck Village and I really should have done more research about it beforehand as I really wish I didn’t. Please be smarter than me and choose a tour that does not encourage visiting this place.
The Golden Triangle
The last stop out of many was the Golden Triangle. It is the most northern point in Thailand and the place where three country boarders meet: Thailand, Myanmar and Laos.
Looking across the river you can see Laos. It basically includes little souvenir shops and loads of travel company places. Also, big Buddha on the hill could not be left out. I ended up paying another 300 Baht to take a boat across the river and visit Laos. We spent around half an hour over there and I do not think that was enough to take it off my bucket list.
The part we visited was only small and consisted of people trying to sell us liquor with dead snakes and scorpions in it. We politely declined. Usually you will need a visa to visit Laos, but we were only able to stay in a restricted area and only for a couple of minutes. We also had to leave our passports in Thailand which I was not really happy about but eventually we got it back and all was well.
By the time we were back on Thai ground it was already around 6pm. It has been a really long day. It was time to get back to Chiang Mai. This took about 4 hours including a little stop on the way home to get some more food. I used the break to make friends with the stray dogs as usual. I probably slept through most of the ride home. By the time we got back it was around 10pm.
I can definitely recommend booking a tour like this. While we spent most of the time in the car we have still seen a lot. It has been a great experience. There will be a lot of different travel agencies that will offer tours like that but they will most likely be similar.
Talk to you soon x