Day 8: Loving Chiang Rai, Thailand

We’ve spent the last day and a half in Chiang Rai, Thailand and we are a little sad that we’re here for such a short time. We got in to the Bura Resort around 10:00pm two nights ago and we are leaving this afternoon. This place is really special and beautiful and we both agreed we could have stayed here for half the trip.

Neither one of us was that impressed at all with our resort in Bali, and sadly Lydia left with not the best impression of Bali because of that. My last experience in Bali was really very different and it all has to do with the resort you stay in because a lot of Bali, even Ubud, is still very undeveloped and is not that spectacular on its own enough to warrant a whole lot of time. So you mostly hang around your resort and relax in the surroundings. This time around, the Ayung Resort just didn’t have any charm. It was a huge resort located in a truly beautiful location, but it was made of vast marble and looked like a gaudy palace so it didn’t have a true Balinese feel and touch. Last time at the Komaneka at Bisma, I felt like I never wanted to leave, but time around the Ayung Resort really had no special attraction in itself that made us want to just hang around it. It felt separate from the Balinese culture and didn’t harmoniously blend in with the rainforest IMOP. Plus, the resort has some things to work on. Our first couple of days at a local guesthouse in Manggis were FAR better and exceeded all of our expectations though. This was a perfect experience.

But the Bura Resort in Chiang Rai, Thailand is so memorable. It’s located within the hillside but the rooms are breathtaking and the landscaping on the property is so beautiful. It almost resembles The Flintstones caves. But the rooms are spacious and half of our room is facing the lush hillsides with its floor to ceiling windows, including the sliding doors. The floors are beautiful dark hard wood, as well as the frames of the windows, the bed, the desks, and the ceiling. It blends so perfectly with nature at its surrounding and we’ve never seem anything like it.

The last two mornings I’ve woken up around 7:00am to this tiny yellow bird that won’t stop fluttering outside the door. It has lasted over an hour. Because the door is a long window as well, I’ve just been watching him trying to capture him on my camera. I think he’s smart because when I start moving around he retreats for a little while, and then starts flapping into the door again; it’s a little strange. He’s literally trying to fly through the window and then falls to the ground once he fails, and then tries again repeatedly and even tries a running start. I just crept out of my bed to try to take a video and I guess he sensed it and flew away.

Yesterday when we woke up, it started raining hard until around noon so we had the best time sitting with the windows open, watching and listening to the beautiful rainfall on the deck and over the hillside. We were still tired from the long travel day before. I tried to take some good snaps as well and taught Lydia how to use my tripod.

We were both feeling better enough by 1:00pm to go get some food out in town. We spotted a Vietnamese/ Northern Thai restaurant and wanted to try it. Evidently the locals running the hotel have never heard of it. They speak poor English so it was a little difficult trying to communicate our day and intentions to them. They handed us a grey slim old school Nokia phone with preset numbers to call the taxi and the resort, which proved to be really useful.

What we like about this stay is how personal and local the staff are. The property is so well managed but it’s run by some young people, maybe a family. But it was cute when they greeted us at the airport with a warm smile and a sign, then took us back in not your typical shuttle van, but their car, then swung us by the 711 to grab some food because the restaurant was closed at that hour.

But lunch yesterday was incredible. The cafe was great and I tried my favorite Vietnamese dishes Banh Cuon and Thit Nuong but it was mixed with Northern Thai style. This was Lydia’s first Vietnamese food experience and she fell in love.

Afterwards we went to visit the White Temple and were floored with its beauty. At this point of traveling Asia, I’m sick of seeing temples but this place was a work of art, only 20 years old. It was by far one of the coolest pieces of architecture I’ve ever seen.

We then came back and had dinner on the woodsy terrace at the resort. The Thai fried rice was perfect but we both ordered the beef salad which was so heavily peppered that it would likely send us both to the hospital if we ate them all. Lydia had to collect herself after her first unsuspecting bite. But it was a great day and I’m liking Thailand more than Bali. It’s very much like Vietnam, which is probably why.

These are all IPhone shots: Our beautiful wooden villa, Vietnamese/Thai blend of Banh Cuon and BunThit Nuong, and the White Temple. The adorable little chihuahua’s name is Kit Kat and he’s the watchful eyes at Connect Cafe

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