Temples and Superhero Heads

Hello friends!

Zoe here again, back with some more experiences, some tips, and some fun nonsense.

Where’s Zoe today? I’m currently sitting in a cute little cafe in Chiang Rai, Thailand sipping on the most elaborate caramel coffee drink I have ever come across. The picture tells the story. Purple is my favorite color so is it merely a coincidence that they gave me a purple swirly thingie? Or was I meant to come here for some reason that will change my life forever?! Only time will tell…

Last night my Uncle Darrel and I ventured into the night market here in Chiang Rai. It was a much different experience from the night market in Bangkok. The night market in Bangkok is full of very in-your-face vendors who will stop at nothing to get you to buy whatever they are selling. Their merchandise could be purses, clothes, or strippers. That’s Bangkok.

The night market in Chiang Rai was a complete 180-degree turn into a pleasant, quiet place where I felt comfortable looking around and exploring all there was to buy. Also, no strippers (as far as I saw). The merchandise was a complete change. In Bangkok everything the vendors are trying to sell is the same super touristy knick knacks, while in Chiang Rai most things were unique and seemed more worth buying.

Not sure if you could tell or not but Bangkok is definitely not up there in the top places I’ve visited. Granted, I’m not a big-city type of girl, so giving Bangkok a two-day try was about all I had in me. Don’t take my word for it, though. Travel there and experience it for yourself!

The Chiang Rai night market offered a huge section full of amazing Thai food that Uncle Darrel and I went crazy for. We had tempura everything, shrimp pad Thai, and grilled freshwater prawns. I know I sound super American and touristy (I am super American and touristy so it seems fit) but I have been looking forward to pad Thai since I first learned I would be coming here. Look at the pictures below and try not to drool, I dare you. Thailand did not disappoint in the food section. My stomach is very happy here.

TRAVEL TIP for my pescitarians out there: do not think that you will be restricted/hungry in any way in Southeast Asia because of your dietary choices. Seafood is EVERYWHERE! I can only speak for the places I’ve been and pescitarians. Sorry to the veg heads and vegans out there; I have no idea what life for you would be like here. You’d probably be fine, though. Don’t let that stop you from traveling!

The food section of the night market wasn’t all about eating. On a little stage in the front, a woman spoke Thai for about five minutes. I assume she was talking about the act that was about to come on. It was traditional Thai dancing and it was beautiful.

Being a dancer for my entire life, I appreciate the art that all different types of dance possess. Most people probably saw a group of woman articulating different poses and transitioning into them rather slowely. I saw so much more. I saw a magnificent group of talented young Thai women moving their hands, arms, and legs in ways that I have never experienced before and probably could not do myself. I saw these women bend their hands and fingers back in a way that can only be achieved through constant stretching – and genetics. Seeing these women dance so passionately, the way the women in their culture have been doing for hundreds of years, really brought the entire Thai experience full circle for me.

The picture below is of the Thai dancers. The quality is not the best but just to put a real picture to the mental picture I attempted to paint, it should do the job.

It is Tuesday and Uncle Darrel and I decided we were going to do some sight seeing. We ventured in a TukTuk (small taxi-like truck with a caged back for passengers) to the White Temple (entry THB50) and the Black House (entry THB80). I have never seen anything like the White Temple before. The entirety of all the buildings on the property were almost glowing white with little pieces of chrome placed within the outside of the walls. It looked almost like sea glass. The carvings and the designed protrusions topped with the tiny pieces of mirror made all of the buildings glisten and glow. It reminded me of a winter wonderland (the ones at Disney World in Florida, obviously).

Walking around outside of the temple we stumbled upon some magnificent buildings and some pretty peculiar things. All the buildings were the same style as the temple with glowing carvings and sculpting. When walking on one of the walkways I noticed a tree with things hanging down from them. Upon further inspection I realized they were the heads of characters from movies like Deadpool. They looked as if the heads were torn from their bodies and left to dry hanging from a tree branch. It was interesting, to say the least.

TRAVEL TIP for my ladies out there: Thailand can be hot in the summer. Wearing shorts to prevent death from sweating is completely fine and preferred by tons. If you are going to temples and wearing shorts, BRING A SCARF! I brought a cheap thin scarf I purchased from Target before leaving the states. They will NOT let you in the temple if your knees aren’t covered, ladies. I had to tie the scarf around me like a skirt and I was allowed in. Also, I was not the only one. I’m very thankful past Zoe thought about future Zoe when packing that scarf or else I wouldn’t have been able to experience the inside of the temple.

It’s called fashion, look it up.

Next we made our way, slowly but surely in our little TukTuk, to the Black House. This was an interesting outdoor museum full of ancient Thai houses stocked with artifacts. These houses teemed with crocodile and cow skins, antlers of all types, shells, bones, tables, chairs, statues, and so much more. This place was cholk-full of history – but nothing was labeled or explained. Everything was so beautiful and elaborate I wish I knew what I was looking at. I can’t even write too much about any of it because I just don’t know any of the history or real names of what it was. I’ll attach pictures so that you can see for yourself. Maybe, later I’ll GTS (look that one up when you’re done looking up “fashion”).

After that, we just spent some time walking around a local market. We bought some yummy market food, and went swimming in the pool at our hotel. We will be hitting the night market later for some more amazing food and dance. Maybe even buy some cool hand-made Thai stuff.

We have some pretty awesome stuff planned for the next few days so stay tuned for that and get ready to continue to journey through Asia with me! Might even be some bug eating, who knows? When in Asia…right?

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Zoe Zbar

My name is Zoe and I'm a 22-year-old student at the University of South Florida. Join me as I document my journey through life. I'll write the good, the bad, the ugly, the pretty, the funny, the sad, and everything in between. Don't be afraid to let me know what you think. Enjoy!

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