Chiang Rai: Why 1 day is enough
You may have seen my post where I said that biking out the back roads of Chiang Rai was one of my favourite parts of Thailand. It was! Despite that I felt really uneasy there and I would be highly unlikely to go there again in the future.
There are some beautiful places in and around Chiang Rai, such as the wonderful views and lovely mountains to the north. There is also the spectacular White Temple which is a must see! It is very crowded through and a Chinese man we met in Chiang Mai advised us not to go inside. He said it was made really modern recently and even had posters of Batman?!
For me, the atmosphere in Chiang Rai was enough to leave after 1 day there.
When we arrived at our hotel we found out that a friend of ours had lost his phone on the bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. We were lucky enough to find someone at the reception who was willing to help and called the bus office to ask if they had found it. They had! We organised to go pick it up as they left it at the station for us. The hotel helped us rent some bikes so we could make out way there.
The guy gave us a map and showed us where to go. Well his directions were completely wrong. We ended up lost on the outskirts of Chiang Rai, our first time on bikes, and in a massive hail storm. Fantastic. It took us hours to find the bus station where we finally got the phone.
Trying to get food
Being lost for so long obviously really works up an appetite. We parked up on some side street and restaurant after restaurant turned us away. We were even told some of the places didn’t serve food, food we could see nearby. It was like they didn’t want to serve any falang (westerners.)
We decided to give up and head back to the hotel and rest up for a while before trying again. We headed back out and still really struggled. The result was being in a packed, high school cafeteria-like restaurant with the locals. Nothing has made me feel more awkward or out of place. They really couldn’t understand why we were there and were staring at us until we left.
Meeting the teachers
A few teachers and long-term travellers were staying in our hotel and we sat with them until late chatting away. The teacher we met was really blunt and honest and told us how much he didn’t like Chiang Rai. He though it was really boring and the others with him said we would be better off leaving early and heading somewhere new.
Of course we did leave early and wished we had listened to the people in Chiang Mai who told us 1 day was enough in Chiang Rai. You can get a day trip from Chiang Mai to save you heading up there yourself.