The next morning, we woke up early and had our last breakfast at the hotel. I love breakfast in Asia because it always includes fruit that is always significantly sweeter there than in the States. Plus you get to eat certain fruits that you don’t always get here so getting to sit down to a breakfast full of passion fruit, papaya and dragon fruit is always a great treat. After breakfast, we had a few hours to kill before Chiang Rai so we decided to go wander the city and check out the temples that are all around the Old City. You really can’t walk more than a few blocks without stumbling upon a temple, it’s kind of amazing. If you only get a few hours in Chiang Mai, I would highly recommend checking out the temples there.
The first temple we stopped at was Wat Phra Singh which is one we had stumbled upon previously. Everything here is ornate and wrapped in gold, definitely worth walking around and check out the different areas of the grounds of that temple. From there, we decided that we needed to go see the oldest temple in Chiang Mai which was the Wat Chiang Man and on the way we stopped by Wat Duang Dee and Wat Chang Taem.
Each of these temples have special characteristics that make them slightly different than the next one. I was definitely starting to get to a point where I would see a temple and then feel like I had seen it previously until I would notice the special thing like all concrete elephants or a crystal Buddha. After completing our walk through the Old City and checking out all the temples, we made our way back to the hotel to grab our stuff and hopped in our taxi to Chiang Rai. As I’ve mentioned previously, you can hire taxi drivers to take you around to places around Thailand so we decided to hire a private driver to drive us the three hours out to Chiang Rai to see the White Temple and then drop us off at the airport in Chiang Rai.
We loaded all of our belongings into the taxi and we started the journey through the mountains of Thailand and ended up in one of the most northern cities of the country. If you get a chance, I would highly recommend this drive but if you do get motion sick then I would be cautious as the road is definitely full of twists and turns. But it’s definitely a great experience driving through the mountains and it is absolutely beautiful. Plus, if you’re lucky, you may get to see some interesting trucks driving by. We constantly saw trucks driving with large piles of things on the truck bed and each truck load seemed to get larger and larger as we drove further into the mountains. At one point, we saw a truck with piles of chairs stacked 20-30 high and then… people sitting on the top of the chairs. It was terrifying and actually very impressive. After awhile, we finally arrived in Chiang Rai and saw the tops of the White Temple in the distance.