Chiang Rai, Thailand

We took a day trip from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, the drive was approximately 3.5 hours. Chiang Rai is the northernmost large city in Thailand. We stopped at several places such as the Pha Soet Hot Springs, Wat Rong Khun-White Temple, Karen Long Neck Tribe and The Golden Triangle.

Pha Soet Hot Springs 

A quick stop in route to Chiang Rai is a parking lot with two artificial hot springs. For 20 Baht locals sell quail eggs that you can actually cook in the hot springs and eat afterward.


Wat Rong Khun-White Temple 

Chalermchai Kositpipat is a local artist from Chiang Rai. In 1997, he opened the Buddhist White Temple for visitors. Kositipipat has spent over 40 million Baht of his own money and plans to be finished building in 2070. He believes that is an offering to Lord Buddha and will guarantee him immortal life. 6D20D491-EA1E-4CA5-8A2C-2998AD147B0738A68C38-F619-4BF6-8F4C-423D9DB0E596The hands reaching up represents Hell, human suffering, and desire. C841724E-1992-4115-BE03-86347030D8962099C762-10F0-48B1-A59D-FDE1D69B28A428153698-BC90-4378-998C-D70BBE564B2EThe bridge is the “Cycle of Rebirth” represents crossing over from death into a place free of suffering. Happiness is gained from resisting temptation, desire, and greed.7D287C89-E40B-41CA-ABFA-271DEA4C9534“Gate of Heaven” is guarded by creatures representing Death and Rahu who decide the fate of men. B87A8D60-C8DE-4487-9AE3-18C5BA87A7BB8452D395-F377-447B-BC59-03C9CF2E0EBFFA9A1DE2-E11A-4E40-AAD1-72C9EF90D4FFKositipipat has spent over 40 million Baht of his own money and plans to be finished building in 2070. As you can see construction is on-going. He plans to have 9 buildings, meditation hall, art gallery and living quarters for monks.74E8B758-FE3A-4FEB-9D18-363416174C312A6D4AA5-8748-46C5-8FDD-F4C96E82C92EC76A64AF-E3E4-4AAD-A6E0-E78B98F61DC9DCFB4CEC-7742-4D65-86DE-684B30736E69D19DB012-8254-404F-BB9F-F51107B617F9In front of the Golden Building aka the restrooms. Gold represents the body and symbolizes our desire for money and worldly desires. The purpose of the white building is to focus on the mind instead of worldly possessions.

Karen Long Neck Tribe 

Due to the conflict in Myanmar, many people fled to Thailand. As a result of not being recognized as refugees or Thai citizens, they were not able to obtain jobs. In order to earn money, they set up tourists site where people can purchase handmade items and pay a small fee to take photos.

The Karen Long Neck Tribe women wear brass rings around their necks, shins, and arms. Although it appears as if the neck is stretched, the collarbone is pressed down and the rib cage is compressed. They wear them for several reasons such as tradition, beauty, and protection. While the men were out hunting, tigers would come into the village and bite the women on there neck resulting in death. The brass ring around the neck would protect them from being killed. In addition, the rings are a seen as a sign of beauty in the village.A101DB16-95E2-474E-AD05-1317AC20F558A3072A87-2F7A-40CF-A013-037AC3A918226DA532EF-61FB-4BCE-B0B0-AF0B709E123DB9A0F2C0-AB32-47C6-BBF4-C20B3ED9C31BThe girls start wearing brass rings as young as 5 years old. A ring is added for each year they are alive until they are 21 years old.

57EDB9AD-5031-4F3F-B104-B8FBD094B43CWe were allowed to try on the brass rings and they are heavy. I’m amazed that they women wear the rings every day.EA7768F7-3CE0-4533-B090-82398AB6B122

The Golden Triangle 

Our last stop was the Golden Triangle- China, Myanmar, and Laos. We went on a small boat to Laos, where went shopping for souvenirs and held some small dead animals such as snakes and scorpions.

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  1. My goodness what an experience! That temple area is most intricate architecture I’ve ever seen. Even Gaudi would be left speechless! I always love reading about your travels. Nice job!

  2. WHat an amazing experience. I’ve always wondered about the brass rings. Thanks for sharing that part of your journey.

  3. Awesome pictures from your journey. Should o make it to Thailand before the expiration of my passport, I’ll have to visit some of these sites.

  4. Great pics! I don’t understand something you wrote. You said their rib cage is compressed…But is their rib cage in their neck??

    Also, you wrote “In 1997, Chalermchai Kositpipat is a local artist from Chiang Rai opened the Buddhist White Temple for visitors. “….He is an artist in 1997?? Can you clarify Please?

    • Sorry about that, I fixed the typo, he is a local artist from Chiang Rai. In 1997, is when visitors were allowed to visit the White Temple.

      The rib cage supports muscles such as the head, neck and the shoulder. So due to the weight of the rings on the collar bone (near the shoulder) the rib cage becomes compressed.

      Additional Info The thoracic outlet is a space, or passageway, that lies just above your first rib and behind your collarbone (clavicle). It runs from the base of the neck to the armpit. Your brachial plexus (a group of nerves that pass from the neck to the arm) and your subclavian artery and vein pass through the thoracic outlet. Thoracic outlet syndrome can occur when one or more of these structures is squashed (compressed) in the thoracic outlet.

      Please let me know if the feedback I provided was helpful.

  5. What a great experience and very interesting! Do they ever take the rings off or they keep them on at all times?

  6. Wow! What an amazing and unique experience. I’ve always seen the neck rings in books or on TV, but I’m sure they are even more incredibly beautiful to see them in person.

  7. I actually have a friend who lives in Chaing Mai now. I not only want to travel there but I want to be a digital nomad there for at least a month there!

  8. I’m so fascinated by the neck rings. I remember watching a documentary on them years ago. I had no idea they were heavy though. I would to try one on.

    The architecture is extremely beautiful. The “Cycle of Rebirth” looks creepy.

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