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Phanom Rung light phenomenon (Buriram province)

Four times a year, the historical park of Khao Phanom Rung in Buriram province offers a rare spectacle to all visitors: sunrise or sunset through 15 perfectly aligned doors of Phanom Rung Khmer temple, a former monastery built on an extinct volcano.

Phanom Rung Light phenomena Thailand

Four times a year the sun goes through the 15 doors of Prasat Phanom Rung

Four times a year the sun aligns perfectly through the doors of the Phanom Rung temple.
This beautiful solar phenomenon occurs only four times a year, from 5 to 7 March and 5 to 7 October for sunsets or from 3 to 5 April  and from 7 to 9 September for sunrises (dates can slightly changed), and is accompanied by a series of rituals, processions in honor of the gods and cultural performances. It is also a must-have for many photographers who try to immortalize it on pictures. But they are very numerous.

For those who want to discover the Phanom Rung, surely one of the wonders of Isan, we advise you to find a room in Nang Rong rather than in Buriram further and somewhat less bucolic. A stay in Nang Rong is also the opportunity to discover another great Khmer temple, the well restored Muang Tham and why not add a tour at Wat Khao Angkhan ?


Schedule of Chinese New Year 2019 in Chinatown Bangkok

February 5th will be the Chinese New Year. It will be celebrated all around Thailand (see this post) and of course in Chinatown in Bangkok. Essentially in Yaowarat Road and around the Big Chinese Gate facing Wat Traimit. Here is the official schedule of the festivities.

nouvel an chinois

Chinese New Year 2019 in Bangkok

The festivities will take place on February 5th and 6th, 2019.

The most emblematic moments of the Chinese New Year celebrations are the lion and dragon dances. The program only speaks of lion dance on the other hand.

 

Tuesday, 5th February, 2019

Yaowarat Road, Bangkok.

  • 12.30 – 13.00 – The lion dance performance.
  • from 15.30 – Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presides over the event.
    – Special performances from the People’s Republic of China and Thailand.
    – Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn visits the event.
  • 19.00 – 20.00 – Cultural performance from the People’s Republic of China.
  • 20.10 – 20.40 – Special performance from schools in Samphanthawong district.
  • 20.40 – 20.50 – Lucky draw session 1.
  • 20.50 – 21.10 – Changing mask performance.
  • 21.10 – 21.30 – The Chinese soap opera performance.
  • 21.30 – 22.00 – Lucky draw session 2.
  • 22.00 – 23.00 – Show from Thai singer.
  • 23.00 – 23.05 – Lucky draw session 3.
  • 23.00 – 24.00 – Show from Thai singer.

 

Wednesday, 5th February, 2019

Yaowarat Road, Bangkok.

  • 13.30 – 14.00 – Special performance from schools in Samphanthawong district.
  • 14.00 – 14.45 – Cooking demonstration by a chef from Thailand.
  • 14.45 – 15.00 – Activities on the main stage.
  • 15.00 – 16.30 – The lion dance performance.
  • 19.30 – 21.50 – Special performance from the People’s Republic of China.
  • 21.50 – 22.00 – Lucky draw session 1.
  • 22.00 – 23.00 – Mini concert by BNK48, a Thai girl group.
  • 23.00 – 23.05 – Lucky draw session 2.
  • 23.05 – 24.00 – Show from Thai singer.
  • 24.00 – Lucky draw session 3.

See you on Thailandee.com for more information and upcoming events in Thailand !

 


Ban Pa Pong Piang, the most beautiful rice terraces in Thailand

The small hamlet of Ban Pa Pong Piang lost in the mountains of the Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai province undoubtedly offers one of the most beautiful rice terraces in Thailand, if not the most beautiful ones. I was there 4 days ago. Let me explain you everything you need to know go there and enjoy it !

ban pa pong piang

Beautiful scenery of Ban Pa Pong Piang at the beginning of September

 

Ban Pa Pong Piang and its terraced rice fields

After a long journey by local transport which I will explain in detail later in this article, here there are: Ban Pa Pong Piang rice terraces that I can watch from Ban Nong Nam Pu wooden house the my guesthouse for the night. The view is just beautiful with the terraced rice fields and a mountain range in the background.

ban pa pong piang rice terraces thailand

Ban Pa Pong Piang rice terraces (the view from the terrace in front of my room)

I can see the rain is coming but I still decide to walk on the labyrinth of the slopes of the rice fields. After a one hour heavy downpour, I resume my walk. The rice is fairly high and has an intense green almost fluorescent color. The sky is loaded with clouds that drop a little drizzle on me but nothing that can restrain me from enjoying the scenery.

rice terraces chiang mai

We can clearly see the rain in the distance that inexorably comes closer . Mai pen rai 😉

rizieres escaliers thailande

The afternoon moves forward and I see some couples descending into the rice paddies and photographing each other. AL of them are Thai. The majority of the visitors who come here are local tourists. Not a lot foreigners know about this place.

ban pa pong piang selfie

The next morning, I woke up at 6:30 am, the weather is a little bit less covered so I rush in the rices fields again for more pictures.

chiang mai rice terraces thailand

 

Accommodation in Ban Pa Pong Piang

If it is possible to come stay a few hours to see the rice fields and go back to Chiang Mai on the same day (but not with local transport, it would be too tiring), you will only really know what Baan Pa Bong Piang is by passing the night here. This will give you a chance to see the sunset exactly in front of the huts of most guesthouses. Considering the weather my sunset was not that nice but you may be more lucky when you come.

ban pa pong piang sunset

There are a few guesthouses in Ban Pa Pong Piang , I stayed at Ban Nong Nam Phu but not really by choice, it was the only one that had room (I called 2 others before). Because that is the main difficulty to come here: find a room available.

In any case all accommodations in Baan Pa Pong Piang are almost the same, they are all in wooden cabanons on the mountain flanks with a terrace that overlooks the rice fields and small rooms with mattresses on the floor and a mosquito net and a small shed outside hosting a common bathroom (usually for 2 bedrooms) with Turkish toilets and a large barrel of water with a small basin with a handle to shower. No electricity, at night they give you candles that you dispose of as you want. So if you are looking for comfort, this is not the place for you 😉

guesthouse ban pa pong piang

The rooms are very basic but you come here for the view not for the comfort;)

guest house ban pa pong piang

guesthouse ban pas pong piang

All rooms at Ban Pa Pong Piang are at the same price: 500 THB per person per night (so if 2 people in the same room, it will be 1000 THB), this price includes dinner and breakfast (rice soup).

ban pa pong piang dinner

Dinner is served ! 😉

There are very few accommodation options up there and each has a small number of rooms, I put on this page the guesthouses of Ban Pa Pong Piang. Book your room in advance especially if you plan to go on weekends or holidays !

Coming to Ban Pa Pong Piang by booking a guesthouse is the best way to come safely. They will take care of sending you a 4×4 car to pick you up for the last few kilometers.

 

When to come to Ban Pa Pong Piang ?

What makes the charm of Ban Pa Pong Piang is its rice fields so it is only interesting to come when the rice is planted ie from early-mid-July to late October early November. The rest of the year,  they do not welcome visitors. The guesthouses are closed.

And for me the most photogenic moment, it is probably at the beginning, right after the rice is planted around mid-July (the date depends on the rainfalls) when the rice is still quite short and the rice fields full of water with the sky and the clouds reflected in it. I had seen it during my small weekend in July in another mountain with rice terraces. And by coming at this time, you will also be able to participate and plant rice with the locals.

rice fields chiang mai

The rice fields just after the rice paddy in July 2017 (in another mountain near Chiang Mai)

 

Getting to Ban Pa Pong Piang from Chiang Mai

A beautiful landscape like that, you have to deserve it!  Coming by local transport from Chiang Mai may seem complicated but it is mainly long (3h30 minimum), it is the cheapest option of course but also the longest and the least comfortable one. This is obviously the one I have chosen to be able to explain it to you in detail.

Coming by local transportation from Chiang Mai

The journey takes place in 3 stages. First you have to go to “Pratu Chiang Mai” one of the 4 gates of the central square of Chiang Mai city. This is the gate next to Saturday Walking Street for those who know it. Otherwise, say “Pratu Chiang Mai” to a tuk-tuk or a red car, he will know where to bring you.

From there, yellow cars (songthaews) to Chom Thong depart every 20 minutes or so,Take it. Make sure it goes to Chom Thong before climbing in as there are several yellow cars . Mine was parked almost exactly in front of “Pratu Chiang Mai” but ask the driver to be sure. (35 THB per person you pay when you arrive)

songthaew chiang mai chom thong

Yellow car (songthaew) from Chiang Mai to Chom Thong

After about one hour and a half, you will arrive in Chom Thong and will be dropped off thirty meters from the main temple, right in front of the market, to a small bus station to take a second yellow car to Mae Chaem.

bus station chom thong

Local bus station in Chom Thong

horraires bus locaux mae chaem

Departure Times for Mae Chaem

Be careful, for this one, there are departures only every 2 hours (see picture) . In order to not spend too much time waiting but still have enough margin to be sure to not to miss the 2nd yellow car, I advise you to leave from Pratu Chiang Mai 2 hours before the time of the 2nd yellow car that you want to take. As for me the best is to leave Chiang Mai at 9:30 am and take the 11:30 am yellow songthaew to Mae Chaem.

Please tell the driver that you are going to Ban Pa Pong Piang (or tell him ‘Namtok Mae Pan’) . After another 1h30 journey on a winding mountain road you will be dropped on the road.

local bus chom thong mae chaem

You will be dropped off at an intersection: on the left, the road to Mae Chaem, on the right, the road to the Mae Pan waterfall which is a few kilometers before Ban Pa Pong Piang (70 THB per person) . This is where you will pick up by a 4×4 car sent by your guesthouse.

Mae Pan Waterfall intersection

The yellow car will leave you there. The guesthouse will send a pickup to pick you up here.

Oh yes, I almost forgot, in your ascent in the 2nd yellow car, you will pass Doi Inthanon National Park checkpoints, the entrance fee is normally 300 THB per adult and 150 THB per child but by taking this mode of transport, you will not be asked to pay it. I think that even if you come by your own and tell that you go to Ban Pa Pong Piang, you can go through without paying. But I am not sure. When you arrive at the 2nd checkpoint, make a call to your guesthouse to ask them to send the pickup to take you at the intersection you will be dropped to (it avoids waiting too long).

The price of the pickup that will take you on the last kilometers is 700 THB for a round trip regardless of the number of passengers (you will pay the driver when you leave Ban Pa Pong Piang). You may be lucky enough to have other people doing the same route as you, which will divide the price. It may sound expensive but when you see the state of the last 2.5 kilometers on a rugged and muddy road, you will not regret taking a seat in this 4×4 with a driver used to drive here!

 

Coming by car, motorbike or van

Coming by public transport as I explained takes around 4 hours. It is long and not always very pleasant. For more comfort you can hire a car or a minivan with driver to take you to the Mae Pan waterfall and then ask the guesthouse to send a pickup to pick you up there. It should take you around 2 hours from Chiang Mai to reach the waterfall.

Most travel agencies can find you a car or a van with driver. It should cost around 2,000 THB (about 50 €) per day so 4.000 THB if you sleep one night over there.

You can of course make the same trip with a rental car or scooter but leave them at the car park of the Mae Pan waterfall and take the vehicle with driver sent by your guesthouse to finish your journey. You risk getting bogged down or even worse by venturing by yourself on the last 2-3 kilometers.

The road on the last few kilometers and still it's not the worst part...

 

Small tips and advice if you sleep up there

Avoid coming to Ban Pa Pong Pieng on weekends and holidays, it’s full weeks in advance, coming here is very popular with Thai people. When I was there, 2 girls traveled from Bangkok by plane just to come to Ban Pa Pong Piang and go back. During the week days you will have more chances to find a room.

Bring something to cover (sweater, socks …), it can be cold especially at night. Take a flashlight and a powerbank to charge your cameras and smartphones because up there, it will not be possible.

If you like nature and mountains it is really an experience to live! 

Follow me on my Facebook page for more trips and tips in Thailand.


Chiang Mai: massages and restaurant by women prisoners

If you go to Chiang Mai during your trip in Thailand, you will definitely be hungry and want a massage at one time or another. The city does not lack of restaurants and massage parlors but there is a place where you can eat or have a massage while doing a good action : the Women Correctional Institution Training Center. A name that is certainly a little long and not the most glamorous but lovely place with a restaurant and a massage parlor whose employees are inmates of Chiang Mai Women Prison.

Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institute Massage

Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institute Massage

 

The concept

The goal of this place is to help the women prisoners to make a fresh start in life after their release from prison. Each morning 25 of them leave Chiang Mai Women prison to go to this nice little institute in a wooden house with a small courtyard under a tree that hosts the restaurant’s outdoor tables. The place is charming and if you did not see the 5 guards (unarmed but expert in close combat according to what the manager told me ;)), this massage parlor and restaurant all quite “classical”.

Inmates who work there before returning each night to Chiang Mai Women’s Prison have been scrupulously selected and trained. Only those with a remaining penalty of less than 3 ½ years can integrate the program. They have to follow 300 hours of massage classes in prison and then the 150 hours class to obtain the masseuse certificate mandatory to practice this profession in Thailand They also learn to cook and serve in a restaurant and to speak English and Chinese (80% customers are Chinese). With test and evaluation at every step.

Prisoners who have successfully completed all the stages work here for 2 to 3 months and receive 50% of the money they generate, which corresponds on average wage between 14,000 and 17,000 THB monthly, when basic wage in Thailand is THB 10,000. This money will help them start a new life after prison.All of them are sure, if they want, to have a job as a masseuse and to be hired in the network of parlors in Chiang Mai who work with the center.

massages prisonnières chiang mai

 

The massage parlor

For 14 years that the place is open, the salon and its massages practiced by prisoners became an institution in Chiang Mai. Here you can only get body massage or foot massage (my favorite) for a rate of 200 THB per hour (the most common rate in Chiang Mai for one hour massage).

You can not make any appointment, you have to come and possibly queue and wait your turn sipping a drink at one of the tables of the restaurant for example. It is therefore advisable to come early in the morning. Around 10 am, there are already quite a lot of people…

Massage Rates

I did not take pictures from the inside to respect the privacy of the prisoners working there, we are not allowed to take pictures on which we can see the faces of the masseuses.

 

The restaurant

The restaurant offers a nice setting in the courtyard when it does not rain but also has an air-conditioned room. You can only come for breakfast or lunch as the center closes at 4.30 pm so too early to have dinner here.

At the restoraut, however, there is almost all the time table available. The prices are very reasonable. For example, right now, Pad Thai cost 45 baht.

restaurant  by prisoners chiang mai

The restaurant courtyard

There is also a small souvenir shop selling handicraft made by other prisoners in the prison’s workshops.

 

Where is Chiang Mai Women Correctional Training Center?

This small resort with massage parlor and restaurant is very easy to find. It is located in the city not far from the iconic temples of the city, just behind the Three Kings Monument, one of Chiang Mai’s most famous squares.

 

 

Women Correctional Training Center massage & restaurant
Open from Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm
and from Saturday to Sunday from 9 am to 4:30 pm
100 Rachawithi Road, Siriphum T, Muang Chiang Mai


4 amazing views in Thailand that you have to deserve !

In many trips around Thailand I always loved to climb mountains and stairs to see the landscape from some heights. And today, I present you 4 places in Thailand with amazing views over the surroundings that you can enjoy… after some effort ! 😉

amazing views thailand

 

The Tab Kak Hang Nak Nature Trail

krabi trail

View from the top of Tab Kak Hang Nak Nature trail

I start with Tab Kak Hang Nak Nature Trail, a trek near Krabi. After a 2 hours climb, the summit offers breathtaking views over the valley and Phang Nga Ba. And you will also find there the famous rock partly above the void on which almost all visitors sit, or stand up for the bravest, for a cult picture that is become ritual for all ascension up there.

The starting point of this trail is about 30 kilometers from the city of Krabi. You will find all the details to get there and make this trek on this page.

 

Wat Phu Tok

Wat phu Tok Udon

Wat Phu Tok is a temple but it is for its mountain and the wooden footbridges and stairs climbing around it in several levels a little like a video game that people come here.

You are often above the void trusting these wooden path that separate you from an impressive fall. And if you are not too impressed or subject to vertigo, take some time to look at the scenery around you, it is just superb!

Wat Phu Tok is located in the province of Bueng Khan in northeast Thailand near the border with Laos. You will find all the details to visit it on this page.

 

Wat Chalerm Phrakiat Phrachomklao Rachanuson

wat chaloem prajomklao lampang

This temple in Northern Thailand, two and a half hour drive from Chiang Mai has the double advantage of offering a magnificent view over the valley and being itself a superb view. With its elements scattered over the mountain peaks it is truly an amazing place. One of my favorite in this part of Thailand !

And if pickups take visitors to the mountain, it will then remain a quite sporty climb on steep paths, footbridges and metal stairs to reach the temple at the summit.

Wat Chalerm Phrakiat Phrachomklao Rachanuson is 65 km from Lampang. it is a 2-hour and 30 minutes drive from Chiang Mai. You will find all the details to visit it on this page.

 

The Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi

tiger cave temple

Even though the name of this temple refers to its cave, what the most courageous visitors remember of their visit here is the 360 degrees view over Krabi province from the top of a mountain peak on which sits a Buddha image and a small sanctuary and than can be reached after climbing … 1260 steps !

This is probably the most difficult climb of the 4 I present in this article. On your way up there, you will meet visitors going down who will wish you very sincerely “Good luck! “ .

Wat Tham Suea ( Tiger Cave Temple ) is located about 10 kilometers from the city of Krabi. You can find all the details to visit it on this page.

These 4 exceptional places are among my most memorable visits in Thailand and I have seen many many places in the Land of Smiles !

P.S: of course, if you are subject to vertigo, this article is not for you 😉


Maya Bay closed for tourists from June to October

Maya Bay, the iconic beach of the film “The Beach” by Dany Boyle with Leonardo Di Caprio and two Frenchies Virginie Ledoyen and Guillaume Canet, will be closed to visits this year from June to October.

maya bay koh phi phi

Maya Bay beach at 10am in low season

Maya Bay closed during low season

The head of Haad Nopparatthara Mu Ko Phi-Phi National Park, Sarayuth Tanthien, said that the closure of the bay for tourists, was designed to protect corals damaged by human activities and allow them to rehabilitate and grow.

Human activities and boat engines have degraded the quality of the water in the bay and, therefore, affect the corals.

The exact dates of the closure are not yet known but it should start in June. Agencies and local operators will be informed.

This temporary closure is good decision that was expected. Other places like the Similans Islands are already closing each year during the low season to allow corals and the whole environment to regenerate.

A limitation on the number of daily visitors in Thailand’s national parks to protect them was also under study but for now, no such decision was taken.

Maya bay thailand

From June to October this year more tourists to Maya Bay…

Maya Bay overcrowded with tourists

Ao Maya is part of Haad Nopparatthara Mu Ko Phi-Phi National Park. Every day thousands and thousands of tourists visit the place. Its popularity is such that many tourists come back disappointed ending up in such a beautiful place among a huge and compact crowd.

This is the reason why I recommend you to privatize a longtail boat from Koh Phi Phi and leave at dawn to arrive before the tour groups.


Guidelines to visit Grand Palace in Bangkok during mourning period in Thailand

Bangkok’s Grand Palace is reopening its doors to tourists and visitors from 1 November, 2016. However, as Thailand is still in an official mourning period for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, visitors to the Palace should wear appropriate and respectable attire.

temple bouddha emeraude

The Bureau of the Royal Household as well as related authorities including the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Ministry of Transport’s Marine Department, and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration have announced the following advice for tourists who would like to visit the Grand Palace.

Entrance and exit

• For tourists, the Grand Palace is open every day from 08.30 – 15.30 Hrs. Tourists and visitors are advised to enter and exit at the Wiset Chaisri Gate only.

Drop-off and pick-up locations

For group tours
There are three drop-off and pick-up locations for tour companies taking foreign group visitors to visit the Grand Palace.
1. Travel by car only: drop-off and pick-up at the Royal Rattanakosin Hotel.
2. Travel by car and boat: arrival by car, drop-off at the Royal Rattanakosin Hotel; return by boarding the boat at the Tha Chang Pier.
3. Travel by boat only: boarding the boat (maximum capacity: 400 passengers) both ways at Asiatique The Riverfront, and access via the Tha Maharaj Pier. However, there is an extra cost of 130 Baht per person.

Tour buses can park at the Rama VIII Bridge, the Old Southern Bus Terminal (about 1 km past Central Pinklao), Wat Dusidaram (at the foot of Phra Pinklao Bridge on the Thon Buri side). For smaller tour vehicles or private cars, the drop-off and pick-up is at the Chang Rongsi Bridge.

For Individual
1. Travel by BTS Skytrain: get off at the Saphan Taksin Station and take a boat to the Tha Chang Pier or the Tha Maharaj Pier.
2. Travel by MRT Bangkok Metro: get off at the Hua Lamphong Station (Bangkok Railway Station) and take a bus to the Grand Palace.

grand palais bangkok

 

Tourist facilitation and assistance

The Department of Tourism in collaboration with the Tourist Police has deployed special-task officers and volunteers as well as Tourist Police officers with the ability to communicate in foreign languages to facilitate tourists and provide assistance. The six officers and volunteers are stationed at the Tourist Assistance tent opposite the Wiset Chaisri Gate from 08.30-16.30 Hrs., or call +66 (0) 2642 2767 (Chinese language) and +66 (0) 84 651 5549.

The Department of Tourism in collaboration with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has arranged to set up signage for the drop-off and pick-up locations in English and Chinese.

The Marine Department will deploy Tourist Assistance officers at three piers: Tha Chang, Tha Maharaj and Asiatique The Riverfront.

Tourists must show their passport at the checkpoints before entering the Grand Palace, and It is advised not to bring many belongings.

Overview images of The Grand Palace, Bangkok on 1 November 2016.

(Source: TAT News)


Thailand Historical Parks and National Museums free until Januray 31

I announced it 2 days ago on my Twitter account : Thailand national museums admission will be free for several months. In fact, the lifting of entry fees also cover Thailand historical parks like the one in Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, Kamphaeng Phet …

Sukhothai Historical Park

Free entry to Sukhothai Historical Park until 31 January 2017

It was announced by TheFine-Arts Department , two days ago to pay tribute to the late King and will apply until 31 January.

 

Free admission to Thailand Historical Parks

Admission to the 10 national historical parks in Thailand will be free for both Thai and foreigners visitors  until the end of January 2017.

The most famous historical parks in Thailand are in : Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, Kamphaneg Phet and Sri Satchanalai.

kamphaeng phet

Historical Park Kamphaeng Phet

Here is the complete list of historical parks in Thailand :

Free admission to all  theseplaces but the fees for vehicles including bicycles remain.

 

musee thailande

The entrance of the National Museums inThailand will be free until the end of January 2017

Free admission to Thailand national museums

Similarly, you will not have to pay entry ticket to visit all national museums in the country until 31 January.

Here is a small non-exhaustive list of Thai national museums :

  • National Museum Bangkok
  • Royal Elephant National Museum (Bangkok)
  • National Museum of Royal Barges (Bangkok)
  • Nan National Museum
  • Phimai National Museum
  • Chao Sam Phraya Museum (Ayutthaya)
  • Ramkhamhaeng National Museum (Sukhothai)
  • Chiang Mai National Museum
  • SurinNational Museum
  • Kamphaeng PhetNational Museum

It will not save you big money, the prices of historic parks or museums are not exceeding 100 baht in general but it is always interesting and a good opportunity to discover the thai museums.

PS: this information like all those published was checked and cross-checked and in this case was confirmed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand


Chiang Rai White Temple will not be free of charge any more

White Temple is the most visited landmark in Chiang Rai province in northern Thailand. A place very popular among tourists, built by a local artist, whose entrance has always be free of charge but will be paying from 1st October. The price will  then be 50 baht for foreign visitors.

white temple chiang rai

The White Temple of Chiang Rai entry will be 50 THB

The White Temple entrance will cost 50 THB

Chalermchai Kositpipat, an artist born in Chiang Rai built this unique Buddhist temple with its own funds and had chosen to allow visitors to discover his work for free. And that was the case for 19 years since the Wat Rong Khun (the real name of the White Temple) exists.

But today, the temple has a management committee and its members decided that admission fees should be collected in order to pay for the improvement of facilities of the White Temple Chiang Rai to accommodate the very large number of annual visitors.

It’s true that this is somewhat in contradiction with the Chalermchai Kositpipat statements whenhe built the temple and said its intnetion of making it the first tourist attraction of the country with noadmission fee.

But the temple committee, agreed that admission fees has also to be collected to raise au fund to manage the temple after its creator no longer lives.

white temple chiang rai

Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) is the most visited monument in Chiang Rai

 

Entry to White Temple will remain free for Thais

This collection of the entrance fee will start in two days but only for foreign visitors, the locals will not be affected and will still enjoy free admission. Dual pricing, or pricing only for non-Thai visitor is common in Thailand and is debated regularly. I already took a position on the subject, I will not do it again here.

In the past, Chalermchai Kositpipat used the money earned by selling his paintings and books to advertise and promote his temple in the world and manage it. Only, few visitors actually  buysomething during their visit. They were more than a million last year to visit the White Temple without buying anything.

white temple thailande

chiang rai temple blanc

 

In exchange for 50 baht admission fee each foreign visitor will receive a ticket and a small manual on the temple and a bag. And frankly, this price is more than reasonable.

Despite the introduction of this entrance fee, I highly recommend you to visit Chiang Rai White Temple ! It is truly an amazing temple and a must go on any stayin the province. And of course, you find all practical information to discover this unique temple (how to come from Chiang Rai city in particular) on our page about Chiang Rai White Temple.


6 experiments to live in Chiang Mai

I must confess, Chiang Mai, the “northern capital” is one of my favorite cities in Thailad. This is a human-sized city with a lot to see and a lot to do. On our website, we already told you the best of Chiang Mai but here I will present you six experiments to discover Chiang Mai in a different way.

Ban Pa Pong Piang

Ban Pa Pong Piang rice fields (Photo by Keangs Seksan, on Flickr)

Ban Pa Pong Piang rice fields

I begin with the most amazing place: Ban Pa Pong Piang and its beautiful landscapes of rice fields terraces. The place is known as the one with the most beautiful scenery of its kind in Thailand. It is a little far from Chiang Mai and you may need to rent or hire  a 4×4 car or a good motobike to get there, the last kilometers are more a rutted path than a road. There is a guesthouse up there and I advise you to book a room because it is at sunset and sunrise that the place is the most beautiful!

-> Pabong Piang Homestay fofers ten rooms from 500 THB night, you can contact, in English: +66 81 020 1691 (mobile).

eat with locals in Chiang Mai

What better way to experience the food and the people that eat homestay?

Eat with locals in Chiang Mai

Eating with locals at their home is always a more interesting and friendly moment than eating in a restaurant or even at a night market. And eating with locals in Chiang Mai is possible through the website Withlocals where you will find meals or cooking classes + meals formulas. Prices are reasonable for many offers and it is a very interesting experience (if you speak English). 

-> Find here offers for eating with locals in Chiang Mai 

Massage prison Chiang Mai

 

Get a massage at Chiang Mai women’s prison

In Chiang Mai, there are many quality massages parlors and among them there is one that is a bit unconventional where masseuses are inmates of the women’s city prison. But do not worry, you will be saf e! The masseuses are very professional and talented. They learned massage to be able to reintegrate society. Besides, you will find masseuses coming from here in other Chiang Mai massage parlors.

-> More information : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vocational-Training-Center-of-Chiangmai-Woman-Correctional-Institution/444132412298658

Chiang Mai chat monk

Discuss with Buddhist monks at Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai

Chat with Buddhist monks

In Chiang Mai, several temples offer “monk chat”, ie times when you can come and sit at a table and talk with a monk from the temple and ask him any questions you want. If the goal is to discover Buddhism, you can also talk about other issues. The monks particularly enjoy talking with strangers, it allows them to practice English and learn a lot about other countries.

-> the most famous temples  offering monk chat in Chiang Mai are Wat Chedi Luang (daily from 9am to 6pm) in the center of Chiang Mai and Wat Suan Dok (Monday to Friday from 5pm to 7pm), a little outside city center.

Sunday Walking Street Chiang Mai

 

Shopping, dining and getting a massage at Chiang Mai Sunday Walking Street

This pedestrian street installs every Sunday late afternoon and is one of the things I love most in Chiang Mai ! This great night market sets up its stalls on Rachadamnoen Road from Tha Phae Gate and extends for 1 km. This is the ideal place for shopping and buying souvenirs. But what I particularly like are the street restaurants that settle in two temples of the street. A typical Thai atmosphere !

-> Find more information here about Sunday Walking Street.

cours cuisine chiang mai

Une des écoles de cuisine de Chiang Mai

Taking a cooking class in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai has probably the city in Thailand where cooking schools are among the best. There are over a dozen of quality cooking schools. For me, the two more interesting are the Thai Farm Cooking School and the Asia Scenic Thai Cooking School but there are others. There are several formulas but usually you at least learn to prepare 3 dishes.

And in Chiang Mai, you can also take massage courses, have Thai yoga and meditation retreats… It is quite impossible to get bored in Chaing Mai !

This was just a selection but of course, there are a lot of other interesting things to do in Chiang Mai !

Remember that if you plan to get there for Loy Krathong (in November) or for the Flower Festival (in February) or even Songkran (in April), it is strongly recommended to book  your hotel or guesthouse room in Chiang Mai in advance.


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