Two of the most popular attractions here in Chiang Rai (outside of mountain trekking, yeah right, like I am going to do that, or visiting the human zoos known as hill tribe villages, yeah, like either of are going to do that) are the Black House and the White Temple. Both are art installations, although the White Temple is also a religious institution as well.
The problem is that both are out of town, in opposite directions, so transportation is a bit of an issue. Tourists can take a tuk-tuk or taxi, but prices depend on negotiating ability. Tourists can also take the local bus which is dirt cheap, but takes quite some time and there doesn’t appear to be a set schedule. Or, tourists can join a tour group. We, of course, did none of those things.
We rented a scooter. It gave us full control over our schedule, allowed us to detour where we liked, and it was fun!
We had read the Black House was really quite dark and it was, of course, tops on our agenda. It is about 10 km out of town and consists of a variety of, you guessed it, black houses with various art work inside.
And it was pretty cool. Although for the two of us, not nearly as “dark” as we had expected. Lots of skulls and animal pelts, but nothing all that creepy.
The White Temple, on the other hand, looks beautiful on a first glance.
It sparkles in the sun and looks like something out of a Disney movie. From a distance.
Then, once you get up close, you realize not all is white and lovely. There are reaching hands, agonized faces, gargoyles and skulls.
After that, a drive through the country was in order. We liked the scooter so much we might just rent one again tomorrow! How else can we see scenery like this or randomly happen upon the Singha lion?