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Chiang Rai is the northernmost province of Thailand. It is a mountainous province as rich in history as it is in beautiful nature. Chiang Rai is located at the boundary of 3 countries: Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. The area where all three countries meet is known as the Golden Triangle and is one of the most famous attractions in Chiang Rai.
Yew Chung International School students had the chance to visit Chiang Rai for three days and two nights.
The first place on the itinerary was Doi Tung mountain, where there are three main attractions: Doi Tung Villa, the Royal Garden and the Hall of Inspiration.
Doi Tung Villa was the first residence of the current king’s grandmother, the Princess Mother Srinagarindra. Local Lanna-style architecture is combined with Swiss influences in the design of this house. At the back of the palace there is a balcony with beautiful mountain scenery. Visitors are given headphones as they walk around to learn more about the villa, which is of great importance locally as the princess mother was instrumental in enhancing the wellbeing of people in the area.
Next to the villa, the Royal Garden has many varieties of flowers. Great for those who like flowers and also those who love to take photos!
In the Hall of Inspiration there is a collection of historical pictures to teach visitors about the highly respected Thai royal family and their work in supporting the country’s neediest. The hope is that this will in turn inspire people to do their own work to benefit society.
There were two main attractions on the second day of Yew Chung’s Chiang Rai expedition.
Firstly, the Asian Elephant Foundation takes an educational approach to elephant tourism and is well known for its research conducted into the gentle animals. The students were able to ride an elephant through forestland, help with medical checks, bathe the elephants and receive mahout training. A mahout is a person who is responsible for taking care of an elephant and will spend the whole day in their elephant’s company, meaning they build up an incredible bond together. Spending even a few moments up close to these animals can be quite emotional so Yew Chung were lucky to be able to take the experience a bit further with this training.
From there Yew Chung made the final, short step in their journey to the Golden Triangle. From a viewpoint at a high the temple they saw Myanmar on the left and Laos on the right with the Mekong and Ruak rivers acting as natural borders.
Before leaving the region on the third day, Yew Chung visited the Hall of Opium. This museum shows the history of opium from early cultivation until today. The history of the drug is strongly linked to the area as it actually received its famous name from the vast amount of money generated by trafficking and selling opium between the three countries. Nowadays things are very different and The Hall of Opium acts as a reminder to those who go there about the disastrous impacts that came with the controversial trade.
The final landmark on the tour was Wat Rong Khun. This temple was designed and (is still being) built by Professor Chalermchai Kositpipat. It is unique in art and architectural splendor, as pictures taken from almost any angle will show.