Oct 11 - Chiang Rai; the White Temple
We felt that the cost of the taxi from the public boat landing to the Laluna Hotel was way too much (200 baht), but we didn't know where we were, certainly couldn't walk the distance to the hotel, and just had to smile and pay the fare. Agoda was having this crazy sale on this resort, and we booked our room not realizing we were "stepping it up", a lot! At any rate, the next morning we took a tuk-tuk to bus station #2, bought our Chiang Rai to Bangkok VIP bus tickets via The Transport Company (980 baht), then took a tuk-tuk to Wat Rong Khun, known as the White Temple. Do not see this wat if you happen to be tripping on any mind-altering substance. It's all white with mirrored chips everywhere, and is unlike any wat you're likely to see elsehere. The architect is Chalermchai Kositpipat, and his gallery is adjacent to the wat. This guy is a national treasure, and to say he's incredibly talented and inspired is a vast understatement. You simply must see his works, and we think you'll agree with our enthusiastic opinion. On our return to town, we relaxed a bit then walked to the night market. Chiang Rai has a number of night markets; their traditional ones, the Saturday night market and the Sunday walking street market. All of them have an incredible variety of food stalls, crafts and woven goods, as well as the typical tourist crap you see everywhere. Live music, dancing, singing, and shows are also going on, and there's a carnival atmosphere. Bargaining is taken for granted, so practice up.