It’s been a pretty good Chinese New Year holiday so far. The weather in Guangzhou was grey and wet on Sunday, so we caught a taxi to a new mall about 4km down towards town, to check out a new supermarket. Unlike every other mall in Guangzhou on a Sunday, there was hardly anyone there. The staff in quite a few of the shops had a go at English.

We decided to have a go at a Chinese lunch. We managed to order a hot pot and some tofu, and something green that tasted very much like grass clippings. There were bits of shallots, chicken and crab in the hot pot. The pieces of crab must have been for flavour, or decoration, because it was impossible to get any flesh out of them. We enjoyed the meal, and it cost us about AU$12.

Monday was much more promising, weather-wise. We went to Yuexiu Park, which was very nice. There was work going on everywhere, for an upcoming landscape exhibition, but the flowers and plants were beautiful. We will be back again in spring.


Late Monday night, we caught the plane to Bangkok. We were met by the Thong Tat hotel bus, which whisked us to the hotel. We had about 6 hours’ sleep, an edible breakfast, and bussed back to the airport for the plane to Chiang Rai – not bad for AU$25!

The taxi out of the airport turned right, instead of left, to Chiang Rai. I’d obviously not read the fine print, on the internet, about the Serene Hotel being in Chiang Rai district, but 60km from Chiang Rai town. However, the universe shifted into place and we found ourselves staying, for the fourth time, in the fourth country, on the Mekong. Not only that, but staying in the best-located hotel in the Golden Triangle area, with views to Laos and Myanmar.
The associated town was okay, with a wonderful large Buddha, and an interesting opium museum. In the photo below, the golden Buddha is in Thailand, the brown roof is in Myanmar and the golden dome is in Laos. The Ruak river goes off to the left, behind the Buddha.


On Wednesday morning, we went for a walk around the small town. We found ourselves at a lookout over Myanmar, and the Golden Triangle. There was an old, crumbling wat on the top of the hill, and wound our way down through two others.

After breakfast, we set out, on foot, for Chiang Saen. After reaching a signpost, which informed us that we had walked 4km, and had 5km to go, we hailed a songthauw. Chiang Saen is a fairly generic Asian town. We saw a line of labourers unloading a truck full of Red Bull and loading it on to a Chinese barge. (China is 300km up river.) We had coffee and cake in a nice little shop, and then returned to our hotel by boat. On the way, we passed the Chinese-owned casino, in Laos, and had a look at the Burmese casino upstream a bit. Having already been to both Laos and Myanmar, we did not avail ourselves of the opportunity to visit them again.


In the late afternoon we had a drink at a riverside restaurant, followed by a pad thai at another restaurant. Today, after a cycle around town, we will head into Chiang Rai for a look.


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