A tour in Chiang Rai
After 20 days of straight teaching (I’m not complaining because – money, money, money!) we were so thankful to be invited to a day tour outside of Chiang Mai. A local tour operator, Stay In Chiang Mai, invited us to join them on their 1 day tour in Chiang Rai. I could hardly contain myself as a trip to Wat Rong Khun aka the White Temple had been on my bucket list for years. It’s the first thing I looked into when I began planning our trip to Thailand so it goes without saying that I promptly accepted the opportunity.
We were picked up from our condo (which we had booked through Stay in Chiang Mai) at 8am in a comfortable minivan. Our tour was full, with the max 12 people. We had a mixture of tourists from Australia, China, Portugal and Switzerland, which was lovely as is was easy to make conversation within the group and learn about everyone’s home country.
The 4-hour drive to Chiang Rai is broken up with a pit stop at the Thaweesin Hot spring. 2 hours after leaving home we were given around 20 minutes to grab a snack, use the bathroom and dip our toes in the warm running waters from the springs.
Thaweesin Hot Spring
Back in the mini van for another 2 hours and we arrived at Wat Rong Khun. This magnificent temple did not disappoint. Better known to tourists as the White Temple, this temple is an on-going art project by artist Chalermchai Kositpipat.
As you walk through the temple grounds, you travel through life’s endless circle of life, death and rebirth. The one-way road leading to the entrance is surrounded by hands reaching skywards and symbolises the sinful world.
Pictures are only allowed outside the temple and the artwork around the entire area is simply beautiful. This is 100% a must do for your trip to Thailand as the pictures, as stunning as they are, do not do this temple justice.
Next up; lunch. Lunch is included in the price of the tour and to my surprise we had a vegetarian option. The food was delicious and a great chance to catch up with the rest of the group.
Baan Dam Museum
The third stop on our tour was the Baan Dam Museum aka the black house which was created by Thailand national artist Thawan Duchanee. The cluster of houses accommodates the artist’s collections of paintings, sculptures, animal bones and skins.
Long Neck Tribe
Back in the minivan for a 40-minute drive and we arrived at the famous Long neck tribe village of Chiang Rai. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of these women to show you. As enjoyable as this part of the tour was (honestly, it was a really nice experience and the hand made bracelet I purchased will be a souvenir I cherish), I do not feel comfortable taking photos of people in this environment. It was so interesting to learn about the tribe’s reason for wearing the brass coils around their necks. Originating from Burma, these women were at risk of regular tiger attacks. The golden rings protected their necks from tiger bites and they now continue to wear them as a sign of beauty.
I definitely recommend this part of the tour and I’m sorry I don’t have photos of these beautiful women to share with you.
Finally, we were treated to a boat trip along the Mekong river to witness the Golden Triangle. This is where the Ruak river and the Mekong river meet to form natural boundary between three countries, Laos (to the east), Myanmar (to the north), and Thailand (to the west). We were given a chance to stop off at Laos for an hour and sample some local delicacies; coffee, beer and whiskey. Tourists need to pay a land tax when arriving at Laos. This isn’t included in the tour and costs 30baht per person (less than £1).
We then drove back to our condo, arriving home at 10pm. The day is a long one but the comfort of the minivan gives you a lot of opportunity to nap.
Tour content: 10/10 It’s a full day and they pack in so much!
Staff: 10/10 our tour guide Toon, was an absolute joy to be around for the day. Our driver got us home in one piece so top marks from us!
Did we enjoy our day?
Would we pay to do the tour again?
Absolutely. I would 100% choose this tour in Chiang Rai again
If you’re interested in doing the same tour in Chiang Rai, just follow the link
We were guests of Stay In Chiang Mai. This does not affect this article and all opinions are my own. As always, I pride myself in only accepting sponsorship on tours that I would 100% recommend.