Northern Thailand: Pai & Chiang Rai

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After Bangkok and Chiang Mai, we were already halfway through our thirty day visa. Since we didn’t want to rush through the southern part of the country, we headed farther north to Pai for hiking and beautiful scenery before continuing on to Chiang Rai, our last stop in Thailand.

Pai itself is a pretty small town full of hippies and expats, and unless you’re staying in town, you need some form of transportation. We chose to rent a scooter so we could explore the surrounding region. We had been craving some outdoor activities so we found a long hike through rivers and forest, swam in the pools of a few waterfalls, looked out from the hill in the Chinese Village, scootered up and down the mountain roads, and watched sunset from the canyons.

One night in town, we stumbled upon Jikko Bar which specializes in craft beer! In addition to great imports from around the world they had a delicious local IPA from Happy New Beer. It was a tasty break from all the Singha and Chang we’d been used to.

This little guy (and eight of his siblings!) were the highlight of our hostel!

If Pai had decent internet, we may not have left, but with only a few days remaining on our Thai tourist visa, we headed to Chiang Rai to see the famous white temple. After having seen a lot of wats throughout Thailand, we honestly weren’t too excited about seeing another one, but we were going to Chiang Rai anyway before crossing into Laos. Turns out the white temple is unlike any other temple we’d seen before! This “Disney” temple is more art gallery than temple. Wat Rong Khun is a large campus where the main building has a completely white exterior decorated with dragons, demons, and other creatures, while the inside (which prohibited photography) is covered in vibrant murals depicting many modern cultural icons such as Hello Kittty, Harry Potter, and Michal Jackson. You can find photos here.


Our last night in Thailand, we enjoyed some delicious pad see ew and live music at the night market before heading off for the slow boat down the Mekong River in Laos.

Around Chiang Rai's city center.
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