Once arrived in Li, Caroline tells us that she needs to go to Chiang Mai for her visa purposes on January 16 and offers to go with her. Of course, we agree. Chiang Mai and Nong Khai were the cities in Thailand we didn’t want to miss out.
Chiang Mai Sights
Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand, which used to be a capital of the Kingdom of Lanna during 1296-1768. The name meant “new city” and was called so when it became the new capital of the newly founded kingdom.
After settling at the hostel, Caroline became our guide and showed us the city. Before moving to Li, she used to live here, so she knew all the spots and beautiful areas in town. The city is full of foreigners, western style restaurants, and temples; however, once you traveled in Thailand the temples rarely amuses you anymore. Thus, there are still some worth visiting.
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is the most famous temple on Doi Suthep hill and dates from 1383. Located 15 kilometers from the city, its accessible by songthaews from Chiang Mai University for 40 Baht. Once at the entrance, you can take either 309 steps to the temple or a rope-way.
The entrance costs 30 Baht for foreigners. You need to take your shoes off at the door. The area boasts with pagodas, statues, bells and shrines. If lucky enough, you can even get the blessing from a monk and a modest rope bracelet.
Wat Chedi Luang, another area full of wats and pagodas. Some of them have a wax statue of monks, which looks quite realistic and a bit scary at one point.
Another interesting place to visit is the Night Bazaar in downtown. Huge Bazaar can make you dizzy with all the varieties of t-shirts, souvenirs, scarfs, decor and much more.
On January 17, we said goodbye to Caroline who headed back to Li, while we continued our way to Nong Khai.
Sala Keoku also referred as Buddha Park, features massive and bizarre sculptures inspired by Buddhism and Hinduism. Located near Thai-Lao border, the site is less touristy and costs only 20 Baht to enter. Unfortunately, there is no public transport going to the park – your only option is a tuk-tuk, which waits for you.
The park of a similar concept is two, one here and another in Laos, 25 km from Vientiane. Luang Pu, a Lao citizen, created both parks. However, Thai one has bigger and extravagant sculptures.
Probably one of the most interesting parts of the park is the Wheel of Life. It shows life and death of a human being, which continues forever unless one escapes it through Nirvana.