We had plans to do some exploring slightly outside of Chiang Rai, but we decided to spend our first day in the city exploring the stuff we could walk to. Our main destination was the blue temple, which we had read was just as ornate and cool-looking as the white temple. On our way, though, we stopped off at two other temples.
Here is the outside of Wat Phra Kaew, which translates to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, in Chiang Rai.
Near the entrance, we noticed a tree that had been planted by the King of Sweden in 2003!
The temple grounds had a museum with some cool statues and figurines inside.
The highlight of the temple, though, was the Emerald Buddha. We learned from a sign that this buddha had originally been covered in plaster. Locals didn't discover the emerald buddha inside until it had been struck by lightning in the 1400s.
Next, we headed to Chiang Rai's Wat Phra Singh (Chiang Mai had a Wat Phra Singh as well). By this point the temples were starting to blur together, considering how many we had seen and how many had the same or similar names, but it was still cool to see.
This Wat also had some wax monks inside. Something unique, though, was that we noticed a fire lit outside in front of the "Sunday" Buddha. (Each day of the week is represented by Buddha in a different pose).
After checking out Wat Phra Singh which was located at the edge of the central part of Chiang Rai, we ventured a little further to the Blue Temple.
The walk was pretty and only took about a half hour.
But we realized that walking for a half hour in 95+ degree weather with humidity that made it feel like it was in the hundreds was way different than a half hour walk at home.
By the time we got to the temple, we were pouring sweat! Luckily, someone was selling Butterfly Pea Flower ice cream served in coconut shells. We had some to cool off before we were ready to explore the temple.
The Blue Temple was as awesome as expected. Here's some photos.
At one point we noticed a couple taking photos of each other through a crystal-ball-looking thing. We decided we needed some silly inverted face photos too, so here they are!
Luckily, we found a tuk-tuk driver pretty soon into our walk back to our hotel, so we didn't have to brave the heat for very long on the way back.
And once we made it back to the hotel, we decided to enjoy the pool for a while.
We ventured back out for a tasty dinner and picked up some non-Durian and much tastier, but still kind of odd frosting filled ice cream.