Thailand | Bangkok & Chiang Rai


thailand, chiang rai, white temple, wat rong khun2016 was a year of a LOT of travel: Muscat; Istanbul; Barcelona; Istanbul (again), Cappadocia & Ephesus; Beirut; Rabat; and Singapore, New Zealand & Australia. 2017: Not as much.I blame credit our CPC mentality of always looking forward to the next trip. That, and disposable income that has since gone away after I stopped working in August.bangkok, thailand, eathai, central embassy, thai foodEathai at Central Embassy.We did manage to take some trips in 2017, including about a week in Bangkok and Chiang Rai, Thailand. Kail had some training in Bangkok so I took a few days off work to join him.bangkok, thailand, okura hotel, afternoon teaAfternoon tea at the Okura lounge.We had traveled to Bangkok together before, and this time around I had a couple days on my own while Kail was in training. I mostly just enjoyed our sumptuous hotel, ate delicious food, and shopped (and did homework — always homework). We also caught up with some friends from Kabul who now live in Bangkok. Not a bad way to spend time!thailand, chiang rai, blue temple, wat rong suea tenOutside the Blue Temple.We took a weekend trip to Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand, which a friend had recommended as a less-traveled version of nearby Chiang Mai, but still offering beautiful temples, good restaurants, and other cultural attractions to visit. She essentially handed us a complete itinerary including hotel recommendation, so I was sold on ease of planning alone. Turns out it was a good decision, and we had a great time (thanks, Alder!).thailand, chiang rai, white temple, wat rong khun, chalermchai kositpipatThe White Temple.We arrived on a Friday night and departed late Sunday afternoon, so we didn’t have a ton of time to explore — just one full day and a morning. We booked a half-day tour through our hotel to explore some of Chiang Rai’s most famous temples: the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), the Black House (Baan Dam), and the Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten).thailand, chiang rai, black house, baan damThe Black House.It was late March/early April, and we really lucked out with the weather. The White Temple usually closes when it’s raining, and upon arrival, a steady drizzle started. We first visited the museum, hoping the weather would clear up — and it did.thailand, chiang rai, white temple, wat rong khun, chalermchai kositpipatKail with a cardboard cutout of White Temple artist Chalermchai Kositpipat outside the museum.thailand, chiang rai, white temple, wat rong khun, chalermchai kositpipatWith the real deal — same shirt and all.By chance, we also happened to meet Chalermchai Kositpipat, who designed and owns the White Temple (he financed the construction largely with his own money). The Blue Temple, completed in early 2016, was designed by a student of Kositpipat.thailand, chiang rai, blue temple, wat rong suea tenThe Blue Temple.The Black House is a large park containing several buildings, sculptures, and collections of artist Thawan Duchanee. It’s very eclectic, including the artist’s own installations as well as animal tusks and hides, masks, pottery, and other items from many countries.thailand, chiang rai, black house, baan damPosing with collections at the Black House.Our final morning in town, we visited the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) and Chiang Rai’s famous Golden Clock Tower, also designed by Kositpipat. The Emerald Buddha was originally discovered in Chiang Rai and has since been moved to Bangkok’s Wat Phra Kaew.thailand, chiang rai, golden clock tower, chalermchai kositpipatChiang Rai Clock Tower.We had a couple more days to enjoy in Bangkok (well, Kail was technically working and I was enjoying my time) before returning to Amman. It was nice to have a couple additional days of downtime to relax, which I largely planned around food.bangkok, thailand, mango & sticky rice, thai foodMango and sticky rice!What’s your favorite Thai dish?

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

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