Today, Ramesh and I were going on the Golden Triangle tour — one of the most popular and common full-day tours tourists do while in Chiang Mai. I had been to Chiang Rai and the point where Thailand’s border meets Laos and Myanmar in 2010. But I didn’t get the chance to hop across the river and set foot in Laos, because it’s much easier to do that when you go as part of a tour group.
One and half hours later, we reached Chiang Rai province. The van dropped us off at the famous White Temple.
Inside the main prayer, our guide told us we would find a Buddhist monk who has been praying/in meditation for years and is not be disturbed. Of course our guide told us this with a smile on his face. We could see why. The “monk” was just a wax figure, made to look like the real person. But when I saw what was painted on the walls inside the hall, I lost all religious consideration for this “temple”. In a galaxy painting was Neo from The Matrix, Optimus Prime, Alien and Predator, among other popular sci-fi characters. Seriously, don’t take Wat Rong Khun seriously — it’s just a massive art project, disguised as a temple.
In 2010, I came to Chiang Saen by bus, toured the surrounding sights but fell short of doing the boat ride on Mekong river as I had arrived too early in the morning and there were no other visitors to share the boat with.
Docked, I excitedly jumped on to Laos soil! 🙂
I let out an instant cough as soon as I took the first sip. Needless to say, this was no Scotch. It was pure spirit and quite tasteless. Another reason not to buy it.
At this point, we were already pretty tired, but the tour was still not over. We drove a bit inland to visit a “tribal village”.
At ฿1400 (Rs. 2500/$40/€30) per person, the Golden Triangle tour is one of the more expensive tours I have done, but it’s really worth it in my opinion. If you are short on time and can’t afford to visit Chiang Rai to go to the Thai border or see the White Temple, just do this tour. It will take up an entire day, and time on spent on road is a couple of hours, but you do get to see and experience a lot.
We picked up dinner and had it in our room. Good thing there was a mini-fridge to chill the Beerlao I had bought from Laos.
A tiring but befitting end to our day. Tomorrow was the big lantern festival for which I returned to Chiang Mai for. You can view that post here.