Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chiang Rai

We arrived in Chiang Rai early evening by bus from Chiang Mai. The ride was good, although we had our first Lonely Planet fail – since publication there has been a new bus terminal constructed, which is 7km out of town, instead of the 1 km out we thought we were. After trying to understand the TukTuk driver we finally made it to a guest house on the main strip. There wasn't a lot to see in Chiang Rai on arrival, and matters were made worse when we realised we'd left a camera, two hats and a pair of sunglasses on the bus. After a TukTuk ride back to the bus station, a confused conversation, we were finally taken to the bus depot to find that all our stuff was still on the bus!

Chiang Rai was just another city to us, so we decided to try a guest house run by the Akha Hill Tribe high up in the surrounding hills. We were so pleased we did as the place was amazing. We stayed in a bamboo hut overlooking green tea plantations and the surrounding jungle. At night the sounds of the insects, birds and other animals in the jungle were incredible. The guesthouse employs an honesty system in the common room. Each room has a notebook and you just hit the well stocked fridge as hard as you like, write down what you take and pay at the end. Nearby is a waterfall, and a hotspring. The ride up and down in the 4 wheel drive was pretty bumpy, but it made it feel like a real adventure. The guesthouse has won numerous awards, and part of their profits are donated to the local school where their kids are educated.

We left this morning and made our way up to Chiang Khong and crossed the border into Laos. Excited about a new country. The border crossing went smoothly and there was no mad rush like I'd been told about. We found a good guesthouse, ate some food, and I'm now sitting here next to the river peeling back a few Beerlao's. Tomorrow we make our way down to Luang Prabang on a 2 day slow boat. Should be interesting, hope its not packed too tightly...

1 comment:

  1. My family has booked at a comfortable hotel in Chiang Rai for the weekend and we are all looking forward to the trip.