“ Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” - Gustav Flaubert
Wat Rong Khun, or the White Temple in Chiang Rai, is a strange and striking sight to behold. It is definitely a tourist attraction with many details, and I wish I had known more of the symbolism of all the pieces when I visited. But here it is. The picture above shows the main temple, which you arrive at by crossing a bridge of the cycle of rebirth. Inside the main temple, different from traditional Buddhist temples, are murals, with modern representations of good and evil. I did not see any! But supposedly, Elvis and Spiderman were depicted.
We resumed the tour to the Golden Triangle, which would take us to where Myanmar (Burma), Laos, and Thailand meet on the Mekong River.
And here is Laos, where we had about 30 minutes to shop. for oh you know, snakes, scorpions, and stuff like that.
We had to tell our guide and driver to stop for this photo op on the way out.
The itinerary is a bit confusing to me, not sure what happened first. I think we went to lunch. It was a buffet, next to a jewelry store. It seemed there was some kind of relationship with the store and the tour companies, and set up for another shopping opportunity. There was no pressure, and we did not get anything there. Food was not memorable. At some point, we went to the Myanmar border, where we had another rushed opportunity to shop. I feel like you have to be an impulse buyer because there is no time to look around for the best deals. I bought some nuts that looked like big roasted beans.
I believe our last stop was at a Long Neck Village, but if you wanted to see them, you had to pay more. We didn't. Instead we visited the vendors, who were dressed in their traditional wear. I did not take a photo of the beautiful women, but wish I had. I bought a silver chain here from a pregnant woman. The above photo is the only one I took here. Strange.
Was this worth it? We spent most of the time on the road, driving from place to place, and we were so rushed because we had to do all that they promised we would. It's like we got snippets of everything. I read that the Opium Museum was the best museum in Thailand, and we thought it was included, but apparently not. I'm glad we went to all these places. I got a blouse in Laos that I get compliments on. I love my silver chain from the Long Neck (less) village. I say, if you're pressed for time and you are in Chiang Mai, like we were, it gives you a taste of the area. But it's not a satisfying meal. If you have more time, break it up into two days, at least.
I have traveled quite a bit, and am using this page to record some memories. Travel is a wonderful education, expanding your view of the world, of other cultures, of the beauty of diversity.