Friday 3rd of November 2023 – Chiang Rai
After a light breakfast of eggs and toast ( DIY at the guesthouse ) we walk to the scooter shop and pick up our reserve steed: a Honda 150cc.
We then get on the road to the white temple. It’s a good 10 kms out of town, so no way to walk there. The temple is fairly new but spectacular.
We arrive mid morning to find out it is completely mobbed with tour operators in massive coaches and many mini buses from smaller tourist agencies.
We decide to have a look around the many shops in front of the temple and sit in prime position opposite the temple to sip a smoothie while observing the crowds and people watching. Always a fun activity!
After a while, as the big crowds return back to their big coaches, and before more arrive, we finally leap into action and buy our tickets.
The site, temple and all other buildings, is magnificent and definitely worth the detour. It is the brain child of a famous Thai artist turned architect.
Inside the main temple ( photos forbidden) it is covered in murals. In one side it shows plenty of western artists and movie characters like Michael Jackson, Yoda, Spider-Man, Batman, luxury items, the minions, the twins towers in fire, Neo from the Matrix etc… in the opposite side is Buddha.
From what I understand, the Buddhist artist tried to show the good and bad and that people should free themselves from bad intentions, hedonism, greed and violence.
The visit takes a while, despite the fact the main temple is small inside, but there are gardens and other buildings and constructions that are superb too.
Later on we retrieve the scooter and ride all the way back to, and the opposite side of, Chiang Rai. We go to visit the Blue Temple.This one is also very popular with the crowds. It so much smaller in grounds than the White temple but still very beautiful.
Then most of the day is gone and we go back to our guesthouse. Alistair then takes the scooter to the travel agency to pick up the paper bus tickets that we bought online. Need then to board the bus tomorrow. And then drop the scooter back to the shop.
We go back to have dinner at the same place than last night, sea bass and mix vegs. Really good.
Saturday 4th November 2023
The night bus leaves at 4:30pm so we have plenty of time. Check out at the guesthouse is 11:30.we leave our backpack there and go for a walk.
We end up at the Cat cafe. It is very convenient as there is no push to keep consuming, it is not crowded, has good AirCon, good Wifi and cats! It seems it is also popular with digital nomads! We spend a good time there then go back to pick up our backpacks. We have to be at the bus station an hour before departure, apparently.
On pictures, the VIP night bus to Bangkok (about 13 hours drive) seems ideal. It has one seat on each aisle, 10 rows, plenty of space for legs, the seats slide but not enough to be flat. Except there is no way to find a comfortable position to sleep.
Around midnight, we stop for our included VIP dinner. The food is terribly uninspiring, a bowl of white glutinous gloop and tiny portion of vegs and unidentified stuff. I pass.
Sunday 5th November 2023 – Bangkok
We arrive in Bangkok ahead of schedule at 4:15 am. We find a taxi to take us to the centre.
Our hotel is near but, as I contacted them few days before for early check In, they said it would be be impossible as they were fully booked. We decided to stop at the local McDonalds. We can sue the WiFi and I can crash with the luggage while Alistair tries to find a room somewhere for few hours, until we can check in with our other hotel.
By then it’s 6am. All hotels seem fully booked! Maybe something to do with the streets closed and runners…. The Bangkok marathon or some special event is going on.
Eventually Alistair find a place and we move there. The room is the size of the bed, but it has a shower. It also has signs saying if you bring a Thai lady in you must pay 100 Bahts! That sort of place.
Anyway, it’s clean and quiet so we get few hours sleep and rest until 1:30 pm, when we finally walk to our booked hotel.
This one is really nice. Even posh looking. No stinky or cheap guesthouse!
To be honest the cheaper hotels were all fully booked so… We even get upgraded to Super Posh room for free. Not sure why. Usually, our rooms, if booked with booking.com, end up being at the end of a dark corridor and the least attractive or most inconvenient!
Ah well, luxury is nice occasionally.
The weather turns to storm and a wall of rain. Eventually as it gets dark we can venture outside for a quick dinner of noodles in a little place.