Some travellers bypass Chiang Mai and make the bee line to Chiang Rai as this smaller brother of the former has it all. This small city has a night bazaar, lots of beautiful wats(temples) including the wat-rong-kun( white temple), and offers proximity to the mountain villages and to some of the interesting river towns like Chiang Saen or Chiang Khong.
A size of Rotorua in terms of population, Chiang Rai is used as base point from which to explore nearby attractions. Many backpackers make a day trip to places mentioned above and come back to stay here enjoying relatively cheap accommodations, food, and transport options.
Coming on a bus from Chiang Mai arcade terminal, it is the terminal 1 or old terminal where you will hop off the bus in Chiang Rai.
Just before catching the bus met a nice South African couple in Chiang Mai bus terminal. Say hello to Fred and Lyn who have traveled South East Asia extensively over the years, and another longer trip is on the plan when Fred retires off the school principal.
Buses in Thailand divide into 3 or 4 categories.
Ordinary bus looks like this. Full of characters, heaps of ventilation, stopping for every waving hand of course you will meet lots of locals, bags, live chickens or dead ones on board.
First/2nd class air-con buses usually come in 40 to 45 seater single decked bus. Mostly the Chinese made brand new-ish Sunlong brand or old Japanese made Hinos or Isuzus.
Here goes VIP or Super bus used on a long haul trip, mostly European made coaches.
Chiang Rai also has got a small area that cafes, bars, massage shops and travel agencies are packed, close to the Wat-Jet-Yot and the night bazaar.
Well meters, not in my backyard, all on a power pole.
Wat Jet Yot, everything is here whatever you need in Chiang Rai.
Pedicab is still used in this old kingdom.
Chez Nous(pronounced che noo) is French for ‘at home’ and this is the name of our homestay here. French husband with Thai wife and a baby Selena runs this four room only house for every budget. Twin bedroom costs only 250Baht($9.00) cooled by a fan with a shared bathroom, full of characters and artistic touches. I love this place.
Bonus 3mins walk to the bus terminal and the night bazaar. Motor bike rental is available for 200Baht a day.
Walk up stairs to the toilet and you are on your high arse.
Now out to the night bazaar, in a smaller scale, never pretends to be Chiang Mai.
You don’t have to scrub your shoulders with other walkers. Plenty of room and pondering time before making a purchase.
A free live songs. Chiang Rai Style.
Draught beer stand pumps out the most famous Thai brand Singha(Pronounced Sing not Sing-ha).
Tomorrow I will see you again in Mae Sai, the northern most city of Thailand. Good night.