Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai Travel Blog

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Arrived from Bangkok to Chiang Rai and was picked up by my good friend Eak and his friends. We went to his home, left my luggage, and drove to Theung. Theung is a small city where we were invited to a big dinner and accompanying show. The show lasted for like 4 hours, traditional folk dance etc...  On my iPhone I have a decibel meter and it was constantly around 95-100 decibels – the Thai’s like it LOUD! So after 2 hours of ear massage I sat down with another Norwegian, married to the hostess, and drank beer instead. The next day there was a ceremony for Kanithas dad who died 100 days ago. The tradition is to burn his ashes one more time mixed with Powder. They all set it on fire and BOOM, the man is buried in the proper manner according to Thai tradition.

The next day we went back to Chiang Rai and got some well deserved sleep in the evening. But around midnight it’s party time again. This time we went out to our favourite disco in the middle of the town. Packed with people, hosting around 700 people. Everyone drinks whiskey here and I had prepared my mind and body long time before I entered Thailand.

Sunday.... sleep during the day, river party in the afternoon, sleep, another party at night.... The River party was a completely new experience. In the middle of the Kok River they have put many small bamboo huts where a group of 5-10 people can sit, eat and drink. When you get to hot, just slip down into the river and cool down.

Monday is the first day of the Songkran festival and this event was also new to me.

Everywhere you go or drive, people will get you wet. There’s water everywhere and they even buy huge ice-blocks to cool down the water, making it a freezing experience to get 5 litres over your head. Bringing cameras and expensive mobile phones is a high-risk project but I managed to keep my equipment dry.

There’s a big parade in the centre of the town and afterwards people line up in a big car caravan. At that time, people are quite drunk but you never see people fighting – just sheer joy and fun!  I have to admit – this happening was one of the funniest in my entire life (and i’m getting old...)

Day 2 of Songkran we had a barbeque in Eaks home and I had to have a timeout NOT going out partying in the night.

Day 3 of Songkran is dedicated to the old people.

It’s a tradition to go from house to house, bringing a small gift to the old ones in the house. The house often serves a whiskey, beer or even worse – the local Thai whiskey (les: hjemmebrent). It’s not for the weak hearted... we started around 12:00 and finished off 6 hours later, covering 15 to 20 homes (I lost track after 15...). Eaks neighbours were not used to have western people (Farangs) in their house, so it was a special feeling for both me and them. Everywhere you go where people are not used to tourists, they treat you like the king is visiting.

I want to give all my best wishes especially to Eak, his family, and friends. They have treated me so well all the time. I had to fight with them to let me pay some of the bills, and I owe them big time! Thanks a lot for making my one week in Chiang Rai one of the most memorable experiences ever!

It’s Thursday April 17 now and I’m sitting on the plane going to Manila.

It’s a 3 leg flight from Chiang Rai to Bangkok, Bangkok to Manila, Manila to Caticlan. From there I go by a 15 min boat ride to Boracay. White Beach all over, and according to the locals –the best week in the year.

I had an incredible cumbersome check-in process in Bangkok. Every boarding ticket was written by hand, checklists completed manually, and at the gate everything was manually checked again. When we were almost ready for take-off, passengers at the 5-6 rows in the back had to move forward to make the weight of the plane evenly distributed. I thought a modern airliner had computers in 2009.... Well well, anyway I’m looking forward to 3 weeks here in the Philippines. I’m planning to take the Padi course at Boracay, so hopefully the evenings and nights will not be as crazy as in Chiang Rai... time will show...

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Chiang Rai
photo by: Pearl510