The White Temple, Chiang Rai, & Mae Sai Visa Run

Mae Sai is a town with a bridge crossing into Burma from Thailand. It's a place people go to extend their tourist visas. Locals there sell lots of fruit wine and the other usual Thai thingy-ma-bobs. And that's really all that can be said about the town of Mae Sai.

The actual town of Mae Sai is not the interesting part about this trip. As a traveller you might have to make a visa run now and then, and many stories are less than encouraging. My own experiences with visa runs have left me running back to my temporary city of Chiang Mai. But the trip to Mae Sai can be made into a great little adventure. Here's what you'll need in your imaginary adventure bag:

• A vehicle - preferably a hired 110cc scooter, so that you can experience all that lovely plastic rattling and coughing while you drive at 80km along the highway.
• A passenger - this has to be someone who doesn't complain about having a sore backside, or not having toilet stops for several hours.
• Toilet roll - for when you actually do find a bathroom.
• A towel - you can sit on this to ease your sore backside, and use it to dry you off after splashing about in rivers along the way.
• Sunscreen - the amount of times humans have ended up looking like lobsters because they "forgot the sunscreen" must be astronomical.
• Clothes - I would recommend two shirts and a pair of pants for the more brutish of our species, and a sundress, bikini, lingerie, tank top, shorts, jersey, t-shirt, jeans, high heels and make-up, all in a Louis Vitton bag, for the more sensible of our species. Not! Go as minimal as possible - you're the one who has to lug it around everywhere you go. Plus you're weighing down that 110cc scooter.
• Camera - and the charger.
• Mosquito spray - you think you know all about mosquitoes? Welcome to the world's most incomprehensibly mean mosquitoes. I think they lacked love growing up.
• A bad sense of direction - this talent proves to be invaluable when you find yourself parked at the top of a mountain exclaiming, "I've found the top of the world!"
• An easygoing nature - you're about to eat at places on the side of the road that will put all sorts of creatures on your plate, and you're about to stay at places where the ceiling drips brown goo - into your eye. You're probably also about to drink all night in a dodgy little bar when it's election weekend, and therefore drinking is temporarily banned. On top of that, you're going to come across hundreds of people trying to sell you all the same touristy junk they try and sell you in Chiang Mai. And because you forgot the sunscreen, you're going to be horribly grumpy and sunburnt. All in all, you've got to have taken a massive dose of chill pills when you were a teenager, and they're still busy working their way through your system now. Mai bpen rai, no worries, hakuna matata.

Enjoy the (many) photos from our trip to Mae Sai:

Wat Rong Khun, aka The White Temple, in Chiang Rai. 
Amazing glittery statues at Wat Rong Khun.

A weird dragon/sea creature continually throwing up.
Wat Rong Khun.
Spot the eyeball, and the red fingernail.
More intricate statue-design.
My boyfriend pointing at evil-looking statues.
By far the best temple I've ever seen. And I've seen way too many.
The white temple roof against an overcast sky.
A pig statue on a corner of a roof.
A cow statue on an opposite end of the roof.
A beautiful golden building on the temple grounds.
Notice the detail on the flames?
Even the traffic cones matched the evil look of the temple.
Some terrifying whisky.
One last shot of the temple before leaving.
After being back on the road for a little while, we decided to stop and get lost here.
The usual Northern Thailand landscape.
A road to nowhere.
Roadtripping in style!
Finally in Chiang Rai. This is the clock tower in the centre of the town.
Some golden Roman soldier statues, in Thailand? A bit odd.
The cosy little bar in Chiang Rai, where we ended up drinking with the locals til the early hours.
A very strange place we stopped at for some food - Cabbages and Condoms.
An infographic on condoms at Cabbages and Condoms.
Another random stop, which led us to spindly bridge over a river.
The river where we perfected the art of skipping stones.
Myself and some local kids playing in the water.
Almost at Mae Sai.
Our final destination: Mae Sai. Now to drive all the way back.

1 comment:

  1. This makes me remember my trip to Mae Sai, I did the condensed version though and missed out on all the scenery and photo-taking, memory-making opportunities. Beautiful photos(Especially of The White Temple):)