Now why is today so amazing? I think I may have found my own personal Mecca. The White Temple of Chiang Rai. This STUNNING peice of architecture and sculpture decked out with tens of thousands of mirrored glass tiles ta,especially you on a gorgeously sculpted journey across a demon protected bridge from hell… complete with fangs, reaching hands, screaming faces, skulls and trees that contain hanging heads (of demons, humans, hellboy, hellraiser, Freddie kruger, batman, ironman, and a host of other modern pop culture references)… over to a heavenly bridge with guardian angels and images of Buddha before entering an enormous temple structure with a few buddhas, a wax monk and a giant demonic mouth/face mural with George.W. Bush Jr/Bin Laden eyes on the wall behind you. You enter through the hell side… admire the gorgeous art dotted with movie, tv and cartoon characters (from tmnt, hello kitty, superman, darts vader, a terminator, sailor moon, etc etc) and exit through the heavenly side expunged of sin. Then see spectacular pagodas festooned with silvery tributes like religious love padlocks on bridges, a chinese horoscope mini temple with wishing fountain… a gigantic temple to Ganesh… gorgeously crafted toilets complete with demon male and female statues on either side (they even have sculpted poop behind them)… its like someone crossed a Gaudi thing with a temple, the Taj Mahal, pop culture and glitter. Just mind blowing stuff… utterly loved it! Oh… there is even demonic “no smoking/no alcohol” signs, skull topped road works witches hats and a green glittery spiderman/ironman/Thai temple mash up man sculpture on on a park bench. This thing is just the best!
Then we pull into Chiang Mai proper… the most vibrant city in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has many famous temples and an interesting old city area. This ‘Rose of the North’ is also known for its beauty and the friendliness of the local people. After our late check in, we head out to climb up Doi Suthep temple… well we take the elevator up. It was getting late and we didn’t have a lot of time… Heck even our tuk tuk driver was taking all the mountainous turns very fast to get us up and back on time. But once there we catch an amazing view, an incredible temple and even get to witness the magic of the buddhist monks there in full chant as the sun set. Absolutely spectacular. Then we are off to dinner and the local night markets, one of the vastest I’ve seen! Streets and streets and streets of stuff…and very little repetition of merchandise… I got a few interesting bits there, including my souven-ears (see pictures… it’ll make sense)… and the best part of the markets was very little repetition of the merchandise :). Also saw fried quail eggs and micro ice creams… brilliant. Chris and i even spotted a side show b-b gun shooting range for a while 20 baht. Great fun! Finally we cap the evening with a relax to the old muscles with some traditional Thai massage. Not my cup of tea… I prefer an oil or Swedish massage personally.