Day 7 of my Indochina trip was spent on traveling from Siem Reap to Bangkok. I used the service of Giant Ibis again because I found them very efficient in handling the cross-country border aspect of the ride.
The whole ride took us around 8 hours. Also we did not have to change rides in the border. I have read some blogs saying that they switched buses when they arrived at the border. I arrived in Bangkok at around 4 in the afternoon and proceeded to I-sleep Silom Hostel to get some rest.
I woke up very early to catch my flight to Chiang Rai. I was able to book a very cheap flight from Don Mueang International Airport to Chiang Rai via Thai Lion Air.
I booked a taxi going to my hotel because I did not see any buses around. During the ride, I noticed that there were not many locals or tourists in the area. It surprised me because I thought Chiang Rai was a popular destination for backpackers. I booked a room at Na-Rak-O Resort, which is local family-owned accommodation.
I met the owner of the hotel that morning and I booked my ride through her for my tour the next day. The hotel had unlimited espresso coffee, bread and bananas and I made sure I fully enjoyed those freebies.
Wat Rong Khun, also known as The White Temple, is one of the largest art installations in the town. It was built in the style of a contemporary Buddhist temple and has become a very popular selfie backdrop for tourists.
Upon exiting the temple, I saw this golden building which turns out to be the most beautiful restroom that you will ever see. The building symbolizes the body in direct contrast with the ubusot or white temple which symbolizes the mind. The golden color represents the wordly possessions we humans strive hard to get.
A storeowner had some stories about Pinoys working in Doha. He could not speak much English but a neighbor translated for him. Somehow, I got the feeling that he felt appreciative talking to foreigners (even to the one whose looks could pass for a Thai – ME). I reckoned that they do not get many tourists here in Chiang Rai. It is a sleepy town, after all. There were adequate accommodations and restaurants but it was lacking a certain charm that Thai towns usually have. I later found out that backpackers probably skip this town because there wasn’t much nightlife!