White Temples, Black Houses, and Opium?
No grass growing under our feet as we have been constantly busy exploring new areas of Thailand. We flew from Bangkok to Chaing Rei, which is in northern Thailand and stayed at the beautiful Meridian Resort for a couple of days.
The town of Chaing Rei is considerably smaller than Bangkok but in order to get around we hired a driver to take us on a tour of the area. With small children in tow, it’s a little difficult to see more than a couple of places each day but they were troopers as we dragged them around in what felt like 100-degree heat.
The white temple was high on our list and not at all what we expected. We have visited a few Buddhist temples here and just thought it would be another Buddhist temple that was painted white but found instead that is was created by a Thai artist with a different idea in mind. There is a great post here http://www.thailandforchildren.com/chiang-mai-family-travel/chiang-rai/white-temple-wat-rong-khun-thailand to give you a better idea, than I can, about all that is represented there.
Next, we headed to the Black House, which was also quite different. There were several buildings, all black, which looked a lot like temples but contained long wooden tables and chairs made from animal horns.
Many wooden carvings on poles and tables, which displayed crocodile and snake skins. Additional buildings on the property housed an elephant skeleton and large fishing traps hanging from the rafters.
As with everything to visit around here, there was a gift shop just in case you wanted to purchase your own “look alike” crocodile handbag.
Finally, the last stop of the day was at the Golden Triangle where the countries of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand come together.
This used to be the largest opium producing area and there is now an Opium Museum to visit. It’s pretty much a tourist trap but was filled with all types of pipes, and smoking paraphernalia.
Apparently you could rest your head on one of these marble and ceramic “pillows” as you smoked the pipe and soon it would feel like you were “floating on a cloud”. Ha!
There was even a replica of a prisoner to show you what can happen to you if you decide to go down this path.
I guess I was expecting to see fields of poppies instead and had great visions of making a poppy quilt! Not a poppy in sight!