We took a day trip from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, the drive was approximately 3.5 hours. Chiang Rai is the northernmost large city in Thailand. We stopped at several places such as the Pha Soet Hot Springs, Wat Rong Khun-White Temple, Karen Long Neck Tribe and The Golden Triangle.
Pha Soet Hot Springs
A quick stop in route to Chiang Rai is a parking lot with two artificial hot springs. For 20 Baht locals sell quail eggs that you can actually cook in the hot springs and eat afterward.
Wat Rong Khun-White Temple
Chalermchai Kositpipat is a local artist from Chiang Rai. In 1997, he opened the Buddhist White Temple for visitors. Kositipipat has spent over 40 million Baht of his own money and plans to be finished building in 2070. He believes that is an offering to Lord Buddha and will guarantee him immortal life. The hands reaching up represents Hell, human suffering, and desire. The bridge is the “Cycle of Rebirth” represents crossing over from death into a place free of suffering. Happiness is gained from resisting temptation, desire, and greed.“Gate of Heaven” is guarded by creatures representing Death and Rahu who decide the fate of men. Kositipipat has spent over 40 million Baht of his own money and plans to be finished building in 2070. As you can see construction is on-going. He plans to have 9 buildings, meditation hall, art gallery and living quarters for monks.In front of the Golden Building aka the restrooms. Gold represents the body and symbolizes our desire for money and worldly desires. The purpose of the white building is to focus on the mind instead of worldly possessions.
Karen Long Neck Tribe
Due to the conflict in Myanmar, many people fled to Thailand. As a result of not being recognized as refugees or Thai citizens, they were not able to obtain jobs. In order to earn money, they set up tourists site where people can purchase handmade items and pay a small fee to take photos.
The Karen Long Neck Tribe women wear brass rings around their necks, shins, and arms. Although it appears as if the neck is stretched, the collarbone is pressed down and the rib cage is compressed. They wear them for several reasons such as tradition, beauty, and protection. While the men were out hunting, tigers would come into the village and bite the women on there neck resulting in death. The brass ring around the neck would protect them from being killed. In addition, the rings are a seen as a sign of beauty in the village.The girls start wearing brass rings as young as 5 years old. A ring is added for each year they are alive until they are 21 years old.
We were allowed to try on the brass rings and they are heavy. I’m amazed that they women wear the rings every day.
The Golden Triangle
Our last stop was the Golden Triangle- China, Myanmar, and Laos. We went on a small boat to Laos, where went shopping for souvenirs and held some small dead animals such as snakes and scorpions.