THAILAND: Chiang Rai & Laos

We decided that we wanted to see the white temple badly enough to make an entire day trip out to Chiang Rai and beyond. It took approximately 3 hours in a van from Chiang Mai, but we managed to find a tour that included the temple, lunch, the golden triangle, and Laos (because when you are that close why not?).

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The white temple in all it’s magnificence.
To start our journey we took a pit stop half way there to take a picture with a geyser. David is sporting his “Matt’s shirt” which was left in his possession by, you guessed it, Matt. Now it is his goal to make Matt’s shirt more well traveled than Matt.

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#MattsShirt again

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#elephantpants are super comfortable!
This temple is privately owned by an artist who has the ability to change it at will. He has funded the whole project and continues to update and changes pieces of it as he sees fit. It is really quite an incredible structure, with one of the more interesting pieces being the inside (where no photos are allowed). Inside are paintings of Buddha and lots of little pop culture reference that you are not supposed to notice. To notice them means you are not paying attention to the right things. I still enjoyed the comic book and fast food references interspersed throughout the painting. There was also an art gallery we got to walk through, and to be honest, this man may have just become one of my favorite painters of all time. I enjoy the array of colors and different mediums used. The woodblock carvings and prints were incredible.

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Welcome to the entrance where you have to make it through purgatory of sorts with all the hands trying to drag you down.

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Dragon!
The amount of detail that has gone into this temple is one of the most astonishing parts. All those little sparkly pieces are square mirror sections carefully worked in around the outlines.

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It goes on, and on, and on…

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From the back, juxtaposed with what looks like a scraggly dead tree.

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Tunnel of hanging leaves.

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Similar to the bells found at other temples, these leaves can have a name inscribed on them and will be hung up for a time. Eventually they will be cast into the image of Buddha.

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Because who doesn’t love more pop culture references just hanging around?

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The “golden bathroom,” never have I seen a nicer bathroom in Thailand.

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New friend, sparkly Thai Iron Man.

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The attention to detail is awesome. Parking cone.
After our adventure at the white temple we got lunch at a local restaurant which was pretty good and then set off for the second half of our tour: the golden triangle. This is where you can see Thailand, Myanmar (or Burma as the Thai people still refer to it), and Laos.

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I found a swing at lunch!
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Waiting to get on a boat to go across the river to Laos. Also getting excited about elephants the next day.

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We didn’t spend much time in Laos, and could likely have done without that part of the trip, but we got to check of trying beer in another country. It was not our favorite, but it was beer. 🙂
The white temple visit was totally worth the drive, the rest of the tour was a good way to fill the day, but did not leave us wanting more. We needed to get back to our hotel and get to bed so we could get up early the next morning to go meet some elephants!

 

 

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