Chiang Rai To Lampang
15 February 2017
First stop of today was breakfast, followed by fuel for the 4WD. Diesel was 27.50 Baht / litre or about A$1. From here it was a short drive to Ban Thaton where we found what we could only describe as the most amazing temple complexes we saw on the trip. Wat Thaton Chedi. I think we spent a couple of hours exploring the temple and its surrounds. The views across the flood plains of the Mae Kok River were also extensive.
Heading north again we once again found ourselves in the Hill Tribe villages where were saw markets and tea plantations. The roads here were extremely steep. Eventually we found ourselves at Doi Chang Mub Viewpoint which overlooks Myanmar (or Burma). The viewing platform looks like a military strategic point, which is heavily fortified with sharpened bamboo. The views are simply beautiful. Driving on from this point google maps shows the road ages into Myanmar.
Next stop was accomodation at Mae Sai. We found a restaurant a few kilometres from the hotel and once again enjoyed a great evening.
16 February 2017
Today we made our way towards the Golden Triangle. A point where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos join on the Ruak and Maekong Rivers. Our first quick stop for the day was the border gate in Mae Sai, one of the major crossing points between the Thailand and Myanmar. From here we travelled along the Ruak River. We stopped at a temple that was being constructed and was shown by the builder how they created (by hand) the deal designs on the temple exteriors. Eventually we arrived at the tourist hub where the Golden Triangle is. After stopping for a while to have an iced coffee it was onwards along the Maekong River back towards Chiang Rai. Here we found a local resort which we had to ourselves for the night. As the restaurant was not open we ventured out to find some local food. After missing a turn we drove for what seemed like kilometres through the fields before locating a restaurant on the side of a lake. Another great night was had by one and all.
17 February 2017
After a hearty breakfast it was off to Wat Rong Khun or as it is better known the White Temple. This temple is unique to every other temple we had visited. Owned and renovated by Chalermchai Kositpipat, an artist the is trying to illustrate orthodox Buddhist teachings about heaven, hell, karma and sin. These are graphically seen in the white hands reaching up from hell that greet you as you cross the bridge to the temple. Inside the temple murals depicting modern icons, including Neo, Avatar, Superman, spaceships, Freddy Kruger, Terminator, Harry Potter, Hello Kitty and even Michael Jackson further representing the excesses of human society.
Outside busts including Predator, Wolverine and Captain America can be found. The whole site was certainly a modern interpretation of the world.
Today there were lots of local school children at the temple. They would stop you are ask you questions, practicing their english. A nice experience. After some hours had passed, it was back to the 4WD and off south to Lampang. We could see off in the distance Wat Chaloem Phrakiat Phrachomklao Rachanuson, a temple on an impossible to reach mountainside. Just incredible.
After a long day we reached Lampang, and yes another temple.
About 20 kilometers before reaching Lampang we came to the old temple of Wat Phra That Lampang Luang. It is certainly more rustic and resembled fortress. This is because the temple was built on the site of an eighth century fortification, called a wiang.
Just after dusk we found a hotel before we setoff for a street side feast. This dinning experience was with no english menus and turned out a yummy meal. Thai for Chang Beer is easy when you can point to another fellow diner.