The White Temple


Structurally similar to other Thai temples, the White Temple is outside of Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand. It was pretty spectacular, silver and white, sparkling like diamonds in the unrelenting sun. It was pretty, sure, but I couldn’t help but sigh internally. Another temple, great. 

Crossing the street, I noticed this concrete traffic cone… Strange, but kinda cool. 

IMG_2894Then there were the trees…

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And the statues…


And well, I’ll just let the pictures explain the rest.

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Inside the temple, where you were not allowed to take pictures, there was an elaborate, half-finished mural on the four walls surrounding to lone monk. On the front wall, there was a giant, hellish/scifi landscape of pinks and purples and oranges. And all over it, painted images of celebrities, like Michael Jackson, Harry Potter on his broom, Spiderman, Neo from the Matrix, Batman, Elvis, Jack Sparrow, George Bush, Osama bin Laden, the Terminator. The idea is that these heroes cannot save you or your soul, so you must trust in Buddha… That explains the hellish landscape of the temple, as if you’re going through hell to emerge clean on the other side after being cleansed. It’s a nice idea…


But REALLY weird to see.


Happy 2556!

Songkran 2556 was awesome! Bangkok is one of the best places to experience this celebration of the new Thai year. If you’re in Bangkok, the place to be is the infamous Khao San Road.

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Crowded street!

Filled with foreigners and Thais alike, the area around Khao San Road is a hot, wet mess of bodies. The moving crowd on the street and the sidewalk hawkers throw water from buckets and waterguns. You shriek when the water is surprisingly icy and sputter when it gets you straight in the face. Another custom is to put chalk on each others faces, evoking the monks’ chalky blessings.

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Always bring backup

What I especially love about this holiday is the interaction that you get to have with the local Thais. The streets around Khao San were more Thai than tourist, and those streets were the most fun to travel on. To play with the little kids, gently if they’re young and with some good-willed vengeance if some 10-year old just got you in the eye, is so much fun. And a bucket of icy water down your back from a street vendor is the best kind of shock… as opposed to the shock you get from an expensive tuk-tuk ride.

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Happy faces all around!
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Ready to attack
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Supplies for a successful Songkran

This is my second Songkran celebration. If this year proves as amazing as last year, it definitely won’t be my last!