Quiet surroundings and poolside gin rummy is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Don't just swim there, let's get to it. Strike a pose, there's nothing to it.
Don’t just swim there, let’s get to it. Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it.

Known for its beautiful countryside and relaxed atmosphere, Chiang Rai is about a three hour bus ride north of Chiang Mai that includes some great scenic views along the way. Chiang Rai Homestay is a small boutique guesthouse about a 15 minute ride from the city center and an ideal retreat from the fast pace of traveling.

Wat Rong Khun (White Temple)

Postcard perfect exterior view of the White Temple.
Postcard perfect exterior view of the White Temple.

The White Temple is one of the biggest attractions in Chiang Rai and for good reason. It’s a contemporary, unconventional art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist Temple created in 1997 by the artist Chalermchai Kositpipat and still being expanded on to this day. He estimated that it will take another 20 years for the work to be completed.

Touring Northern Thailand on Two Wheels

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They see me riding, they hating, patrolling they trying to catch me riding dirty.

Our homestay rents out bicycles to guests for free and so we spent a few hours one early afternoon getting lost in the surrounding countryside. Dirt roads meandered through lakes and passed a Buddhist temple where monks smiled curiously as they went about their daily life. We eventually made our way down to the nearby Rimkok River to dip our feet in its cold waters and skip stones, as you do.

Food & Drinks with a View

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Enjoying a pit stop at the Rimkok.

Following a hand drawn map provided by our homestay’s gracious proprietor, we stumbled upon a great restaurant overlooking the river. A handful of locals were enjoying lunch while adorable puppies playfully chased each other on the lawn. Glass noodles with shrimp was definitely the best dish ordered and washed down with some refreshing cold Singha beers. The sun setting over the water in soothing gradients couldn’t have been a more calming end to the day.

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Many rivers to cross but I can’t seem to find my way over.

 

A Night Out in Chiang Rai

Time goes by, so slowly.
All along the clocktower.

The clock tower at the center of the city, used as a landmark to orient yourself around town, is another piece by Chalermchai Kositpipat and no less impressive than his other works. Three times in the evening on the dot, the tower lights up in an array of colors and accompanied by music. Dinner at Jatujak Restaurant and drinks at the chilled out Cat Bar rounded out the evening.

Also: playing with a cat at a bar named Cat Bar? Super meta.