Our trip up to Chiang Rai seems as if it were a dream. We took the scooter 100 miles north-east of Chiang Mai (taking nearly 6 hours) through the beautiful countryside of Thailand. We met wonderful people creating many memories and saw fascinating sites. Here are a few of my favorites from the trip.
Our first night in town while exploring the city on the scooter we came across Wat Longtarn with a ceremony in progress. Removing our shoes we joined in the back of the temple. As we sat you could see the wave of people turning to look at us (you could tell they don’t see many foreigners). There was one little girl in particular that kept staring at Andrew. Soon after a lady turned to us saying, “She speaks English”…and that’s all it took.
Angie introduced herself, a sweet, adorable six year old who was eager to practice her English (which she spoke extremely well). I have always loved the curiosity of children and how genuine they are. Angie turned out to be just that…the first thing she asked was what my favorite animals were, followed by many more questions, stories, playing and laughter. We shared pictures of our family and pets, sat in a circle with her sister to enjoy a “tea party” and much more. Angie was full of heart-warming compliments; one of the sweetest was when she bashfully said, “I like your pretty green eyes.” My heart melted.
As the night went on locals continued to converse with Andrew and take our photo...we kind of stole the show from the monks! We also participated in the melting and pouring of wax, other than that I don’t really know anything about the ceremony.
By the end of the ceremony (lasting about 2 hours) Angie had stole my heart…we were inseparable. It was truly a night I will never forget. We met such welcoming, kind-hearted people who allowed us to participate in their Buddhist ceremony…and for that I am forever thankful.
Before going to the temple we ate at a Korean bbq restaurant (excellent food!) and were invited out by the owner and his wife to their new coffee farm. The following morning we headed out of town to find Sawan Coffee and Fruit Farm (all organic by the way!). I was in awe when we arrived…the view was incredible. Oho greeted us at the door and brought us through their little shop. We sampled a coffee wine they make…it was pretty strong and tasted just like booze, but still good! They grow the coffee on the mountain and bring it down for roasting near the café...and let me tell you, this was the most delicious mocha I have ever had along with the best view and great company of new friends. I was honored to have met such generous, welcoming people.
Our main reason for visiting Chiang Rai was to see the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun). It was unlike any temple we have seen. Everything was white (hence the name) and consisted of dark gothic subject matter. The whole thing was covered in tiny mirrors...the statues, wat, bridge, everything! It was even surrounded by a moat filled with large white fish. In order to reach the temple one had to cross a narrow bridge surrounded by hands reaching up from the ground. Inside the wat the walls were filled with painted scenes of war, fire, and tons of movie scenes and characters such as Freddy Kruger and Kungfu Panda. The whole complex was very fascinating and decorated with an abundance of little details. One really can't put this temple into words so you'll have to check out the photos!
I made many unforgettable memories that I am so grateful for. Thailand truly is the land of smiles.