Charm of Chiang Rai, Thailand


white templeFor our first visit to Chiang Rai, I searched on for a place with a pool. I found the Mantrini, which was recently featured in the magazine, Chiva and shared the Chiang Rai Charm of the property. While we stayed there, we enjoyed being next door to Centre Plaza and seeing a brand new film in the state of the art theater. The room was comfortable and well appointed with a cozy bed and pretty pink pillows. The bathroom had a sunken tub with a powerful shower and many signs about how to care for the environment. I liked the art in our room and throughout the hallways. Breakfast was a vast buffet and included any type of eggs and many Thai specialties.

mantrini lobbyOn our second night, an anniversary party filled the pool area and we were treated to the wonderful party music during the early evening. It was like we were part of the festivities. The staff was welcoming, knowledgeable and assisted us with our onward travel plans. They helped us find the local bus to visit the White Temple or Wat Rong Khun. This mirror laden Buddhist temple was built in 1997 and designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat. It is still under construction as more sections are being added and the paining of the inner sanctuary is on going. I did like the art, which included designs of superman, star wars and the matrix. We did not visit the Black House we will have to see it on our next visit.

While in Chiang Rai, I highly recommend a visit to the clocktower! At 8pm and 9pm, there is a color and light show. You can see it in our video. George says, “It is the best clock tower in the whole world!” I really enjoyed the spectacle and the night market. My favorite café is Destiny located only half a block from the clock tower.

Visiting many of the Wats around town was interesting and I was surprised how different each one is from the next. Both George and I liked Wat Phra Kaew the best of all that we visited. The Phra Yok Chianrai (Jade Buddha) is housed there and made from Canadian jade. There is a new hall under construction. I also like Wat Mung Muang and the Phra Sang Kad Jai who is one of the Buddhist saints in the courtyard.

I can highly recommend the Hill Tribe Museum. We watched the informative video and learned about the many different peoples of Thailand. It was sad to learn about the Karen Tribe who are called Long Neck due to their golden bangles that stretch their necks. They are not Thai but Burmese refugees and the Hill Tribe museum and tour company located there say repeatedly do not visit a human zoo. The refugees are not being treated properly and many do have their papers withheld by the “landlords” of the village where they are nearly held captive.

We also enjoyed a visit to Chiang Saen, Mai Sai and the Burmese border. After our stay in Chiang Rai, we were off to Chiang Mai for music on the riverside and wandering inside the Old City Walls. Wherever you choose to visit in Thailand, I am certain you will enjoy tasty treats and meet lovely new friends. Let us know what special places you find, maybe we will go there on our next visit!

Author’s Note: We thank AsiaRooms and the Mantrini for our visit! The opinions are our own and we really enjoyed Chiang Rai and the hotel!

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a television host, travel journalist as well as a passionate artist, educator and writer who has explored 101 countries, 6 continents and sailed on cruise ships for seven years on the high seas and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which was read in 212 countries in 2018 and named #3 on the top 1000 Travel Blog and the top female travel blogger 3 times in 2019. Find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over one million views on her YouTube channel. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on both Twitter and Facebook, has over 150,000 followers across social media and ran fifteen travel competitions publishing over 2500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. She has been a finalist for six Southern California Journalism Awards in the past three years and won an award for her Jewish Journal article. Niver has written for AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres (United Airlines), Jewish Journal, Luxury Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Myanmar Times, National Geographic, POPSUGAR, Robb Report, Saturday Evening Post, Scuba Diver Life, Sierra Club, Ski Utah, Smithsonian, Trivago, USA Today 10best, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave Rebel: 50 Scary Challenges Before 50,” about her most recent travels and challenges. Look for her underwater SCUBA diving, in her art studio making ceramics or helping people find their next dream trip.

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