Rest Up Chiang Rai

22 January 2024

Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai: Rest, Relaxation, and Local Gems

Our adventure in Northern Thailand begins with a relaxing drive from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai! This charming city promised a week of tranquility and exploration, and it certainly delivered.

Wat Phra That Doi Saket: A Spiritual Ascent

Our first stop couldn’t have been more energizing! We embarked on a climb up the 350 steps leading to Wat on top of the hill. The effort was rewarded with breathtaking views and a deep sense of serenity. Reaching the top, we were greeted by the magnificent Golden Buddha, a beacon of peace amidst the vibrant murals by the renowned artist Khun Chaiwat Wannanon. A new addition to the site, the glass walkway, offered a unique perspective of the surrounding landscape.

Chiang Rai Unveiled: Settling In and Night Bazaar Delights

Finally arriving at our Chiang Rai haven around 4pm, we indulged in some well-deserved rest before venturing out to explore the city’s vibrant night scene. As dusk settled, we made our way to the bustling Chiang Rai Night Bazaar. Immersed in the lively atmosphere, we savored a delicious Massaman curry – a perfect introduction to the culinary delights that awaited us in Chiang Rai.

23 January 2024

Chiang Rai Day 2: Leisurely Exploring and Local Eats

Following a restful night’s sleep, we embraced a slow start to our second day in Chiang Rai. The city’s relaxed pace was already seeping in! Today is Thailand’s Soldier Remembrance Day. Alison always donates and today received a thank you salute.

Big C Bonanza: Food Park Feast and Mall Adventures

Before lunchtime, we strolled down to the local Big C, a large supermarket chain in Thailand. Here, we discovered a haven for the senses – the Big C Food Park! This vibrant area offered a vast array of local specialties, and we couldn’t resist indulging in two classic Thai dishes: Khao Pad Krapow Gai Kai Dao (stir-fried chicken with holy basil and fried egg) and a fragrant green chicken curry.

Feeling satiated, we ventured over to Robinsons Mall, another major shopping center in Chiang Rai. Here, we explored the diverse shops, soaking up the atmosphere and getting a feel for the city’s modern side. After satisfying our curiosity, we returned to Big C for a second helping of exploration – there’s always something new to discover!

A Relaxing Evening

The afternoon unfolded peacefully with a return to our accommodation for some well-deserved rest. As the sun began to set, we revisited the Big C for dinner, treating ourselves to another round of delicious local fare.

24 January 2024

Chiang Rai Day 3: A Tranquil Day at Singha Park and Big C Delights

Our third day in Chiang Rai continued with a relaxed pace, perfectly reflecting the city’s laid-back charm.

Singha Park: A Serene Escape

After a restful morning, we embarked on a quick visit to Singha Park. This sprawling complex, encompassing tea plantations, vineyards, and a petting zoo, offered a welcome change of scenery. We strolled through the fresh markets, which seemed quieter than our previous visit in 2020, perhaps due to the earlier hour. Despite the calmer atmosphere, the vibrant stalls still promised a delightful exploration for later in the day.

Big C: A Culinary Haven

Following our park visit, we retreated to the comfort of our hotel for some afternoon relaxation. As hunger pangs set in, we revisited our newfound favorite spot – the Big C Food Hall! This haven for foodies presented an enticing array of Thai specialties. We savored a delicious lunch, our taste buds dancing with the explosion of flavors.

A Night of Culinary Comfort

Replenished and content, we returned to our hotel for a relaxing afternoon. As the day drew to a close, we once again found ourselves drawn to the irresistible allure of the Big C. Here, we indulged in another satisfying dinner, concluding the day with happy tummies

25 January 2024

Chiang Rai Day 4: A Border Adventure to Mae Sai

Day four brought a thrilling excursion to Mae Sai, the northernmost town in Thailand, situated a scenic 70 km drive away.

Mae Sai Exploration Begins

After arriving and securing parking on the bustling main street, we embarked on a walk towards the border crossing point. A nearby money changer provided a convenient opportunity to check the exchange rates. Continuing our exploration, we grabbed a refreshing morning tea from a familiar haven – 7-Eleven.

Commemorative Moment: The Northernmost Point

Reaching the designated spot for the Northernmost Point of Thailand at 10:50 am, we captured a photo to commemorate this special moment. This marked the perfect spot to enjoy our morning tea, reveling in the accomplishment.

Artful Delights and Exquisite Souvenirs

Drawn by the allure of unique treasures, we peeked into a shop brimming with art-quality souvenirs. Vintage-looking puppets, grand in size and intricately crafted in a captivating Chinese style, immediately caught our eye. Further exploration unveiled a trove of awe-inspiring souvenirs – Buddha masks and heads, exquisite wooden carvings, and elegant vases. While some pieces originated from China, others showcased the craftsmanship of Thailand. The artistry on display was truly incredible, though we knew some items wouldn’t make it back to Australia due to import restrictions.

Wat Phra That Doi Wao: A Majestic Panorama

Venturing deeper into the town, we navigated the vibrant market alleyways, bustling with stalls and shops. After conquering another set of stairs, we were rewarded with the sight of Wat Phra That Doi Wao, a magnificent temple perched majestically atop a hill. The panoramic city views from below hinted at the additional marvel awaiting us – a skywalk!

Skywalk Thrills and Breathtaking Vistas

The ascent of the steep stairs was well worth the effort, culminating in breathtaking views of the picturesque city. The most captivating aspect? The sight of the city bisected by the border between Thailand and Myanmar. The vibrant temple itself, adorned with sculptures and Nagas, displayed a striking color theme dominated by rich purples.

The recently built skywalk was an engineering marvel. It offered not only panoramic vistas of the city but also the exhilarating (or perhaps terrifying, depending on your perspective) experience of walking on a glass walkway. At a reasonable price of 50 baht with no foreigner surcharge, it was an experience not to be missed.

Descent and Departing Delights

Our descent back down the stairs led us to the bustling main street once more. A quick stop at Bangkok Bank ensured a fresh supply of Thai Baht, followed by a currency exchange to convert some funds into Malaysian Ringgit for our future travels. With a successful morning behind us, we embarked on the scenic drive back to Chiang Rai. The afternoon offered a well-deserved coffee break and relaxation at our hotel, culminating in a delightful dinner back at our newfound favorite – Big C.

26 January 2024

Chiang Rai Day 5: Home Improvement Adventures and Culinary Delights

Day five took a practical turn as we embarked on a journey to explore Chiang Rai’s home improvement havens.

DIY Exploration: Global House and HomePro

Our morning unfolded with a trip down the road to visit some of the leading home improvement stores in the area. First on the agenda was Global House Chiang Rai, followed by HomePro Chiang Rai. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or simply browsing for inspiration, these stores offer a comprehensive selection of tools, materials, and homeware to suit every need.

Lunch Break at CentralPlaza Chiang Rai

After a productive exploration of home improvement possibilities, our rumbling stomachs led us to CentralPlaza Chiang Rai, a modern shopping mall. Here, we indulged in a delicious lunch, refueling for the remainder of the day.

Big C Beckons Once More

As the day drew to a close, the familiar allure of Big C beckoned once more. We returned to this haven of delicious Thai cuisine, savoring a satisfying dinner to conclude another fulfilling day in Chiang Rai.

27 January 2024

Chiang Rai Day 6: Unveiling Local Gems and Festival Delights

Our sixth day in Chiang Rai unfolded with a delightful exploration on foot, allowing us to discover the city’s hidden treasures and vibrant atmosphere.

A Walk Through Time: Backstreets and Ancient Temples

Following breakfast, we embarked on a scenic stroll through the backstreets, heading towards the iconic Chiang Rai Clock Tower. This captivating journey allowed us to experience the charm of local life in Chiang Rai. Our first stop was Wat Chetawan (Phra Non), a historic temple offering a glimpse into the city’s rich past. We continued our exploration, arriving at the magnificent Clock Tower, a landmark pulsating with the city’s energy. Following this, we ventured to Wat Ming Mueang, another ancient temple steeped in cultural significance.

Lunchtime Delights at CentralPlaza Chiang Rai/Robinson

Our exploration built up an appetite, and we found ourselves at CentralPlaza Chiang Rai/Robinson once more. This time, we ascended to the upper floors, where we discovered a diverse selection of restaurants, treating ourselves to a delectable lunch.

Relaxation and Evening Festivities

The afternoon unfolded with a return to our hotel for some well-deserved relaxation. As evening approached, we were drawn back to the Robinsons mall, where we enjoyed a satisfying dinner. Energized and ready for adventure, we ventured out to experience a local festival unfolding in the area surrounding the old Chiang Rai Airfield. Immersed in the vibrant atmosphere and the throngs of people, we soaked up the unique cultural experience before concluding the day with a return to our hotel.