Our expert local guide will pick guests up from their hotels around 09:30. From there, we’ll embark upon a journey showcasing the highlights of Chiang Rai. Along the way, the guide is there to share their expertise and offer insights into the northern Thai way of life.
The first stop is Huay Pla Kang temple. This is a relatively new attraction in Chiang Rai – its huge white statue of Guan Yin, goddess of mercy, and its 9-story pagoda, both perched atop hills, offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.
There are several statues and Buddhist imagery to dive into in the ever-evolving complex – the guide is on hand to unpack all the meanings behind the symbolism and explain the visiting worshippers’ actions.
After this, it’s on to the iconic artist’s establishment – The Black House, or Baan Dam. This site is a unique creation of national artist, Thawan Duchanee, who thoughtfully combines traditional Lanna and Buddhist architecture with outlandish, salacious modern art in a series of buildings. The result is a complex meshing of cultures that is at once a museum and evolving art studio.
For lunch, we’ll visit a local restaurant to try several specialty northern Thai dishes. Be brave and embrace the locals’ lust for spice!
After lunch, we go from the black house to the white temple, Wat Rong Khun. The White Temple is the creation of Thai artist, Chalermchai Khositpipat, and is one of the most visually striking, iconic temples of Thailand. To say the gleaming white building and surrounding complex are unusual would be an understatement. It’s a nightmarish contemporary take on traditional Buddhist design, with a lot of death-related imagery to marvel at.
There also aren’t many Buddhist temples in the world where images of Elvis and the Hulk sit alongside the Buddha himself.
The final stop is a trip to Singha Park, a landscaped area outside the city that guests will explore by golf cart – admire the tea plantations, orchards, trails, and the petting zoo.
Arrive back at the hotels around 17:00.