The white temple, Khunkorn waterfall and Mae Lao - Chiang Rai, Thailand

Before You Pack @beforeyoupackJanuary 2019 ยท 6 min read


After my Journey in Vietnam I finally make my way to Thailand. It is my second time visiting this lovely country. This time I will explore a lot more of the north. Last time I was here I kind of just rushed through the country and tried to do everything. I wanted to do Islands, beaches, cities, mountains, nature, ... It just didn't really work out that well. I do think it is possible to do that, but you will need to prepare yourself for it. I don't really like to plan my trips that deeply. So this time I will spent almost all my time in the north. I flew to Bangkok from Hanoi, Vietnam. After a few nights in Bangkok and seeing some old friends it was time to go north and start my journey to explore the north of Thailand.

The north is very beautiful and has amazing nature. There are a lot of mountains, national parks, hot springs, waterfalls and culture. It is an amazing place. I have a lot of time to explore this area and I am so glad that I took so much time here. At the time of writing I made my way to Lampang. Which is a lot more south than Chiang Rai. I'm going to use some time to catch up with writing. My days around Chiang Rai has been totally amazing and I can't wait to tell you guys all about it. I'm sure you will love it.

The white temple

The white temple is the number one tourist attraction of Chiang Rai. There are so many tourists coming here. Around this time I was slacking on my travel experiences. The first 2 days in Chiang Rai I didn't do much. I read a lot and started working on my own website. The third day is when I started to explore the area and went to the White Temple. My travel pace has been screwed up a bit and I didn't manage to wake up early and come before all the tourists.


I rented a scooter and made my way to the temple close to 11 am. The temple was totally packed when I arrived. There are so many tourists here! It is unbelievable. If you love sightseeing I totally recommend to come early! Not only for here, but for any destination and hot tourist attractions. I tell you now that it's worth it!


The white temple itself is absolutely gorgeous! I now understand why it is so popular. Unfortunately it was too crowded for me to go inside. I will go inside the next time I come to visit Chiang Rai. I have seen pictures of the inside and it absolutely gorgeous. But you will have to come early and on a weekday to have it without a crowd.


You can go all the way around the white temple. There's less of a crowd on the back of the temple and it super gorgeous too!


After that you can visit the golden side temple. Inside is an art- and jewelry gallery. You are not allowed to take pictures inside. The jewelry is really beautiful and perfect to the smallest detail.

Khunkorn waterfall


The Khunkorn waterfall is only 25 minutes away from the white temple. So I jumped on my motorbike and hit the road. The road is very easy to drive on. It goes through the woods and I absolutely love this!


A bit later I arrive at the parking lot of the khunkorn waterfall. You cannot drive up to the waterfall. You will have to hike. The hike is 1.4 km and it is very doable.


This is the start of the hike. Along the path are signs marked how far away you are from the waterfall. It's really not that hard. The start is really easy. I think the annoying part it around the 800m sign. But once you pass that and see the 600m sign and the 400m sign it goes really fast.


This is the path to the falls. As you get closer, the sound of the waterfall starts to get louder and louder and you can feel yourself getting closer. And then you see it! A thrilling feeling. The waterfall in all it's glory!


You forget everything about the hike in an instant and the excitement hits you! Waterfalls are absolutely amazing to me. I love them so much. There's something about it. The amount of energy they have. All that massive amount of water falling down. I can't wait to climb down and stand in front of it. I love to climb the rocks and get really close to the waterfall. All the water droplets hit me in the face. There's the sound, the energy and the beauty. It's makes me feel so amazing, so alive and also calm. There's nothing like this and it so hard to describe.


I spent about 20 minutes to 30 minutes in front of the waterfall. Just trying to let it all in and climbing rocks. But then it's time to head back. I look around and have a final glimpse of the waterfall before I continue the hike back.


Mao Lao wildlife breeding center

I still have some time left for today. So I continue driving away from Chiang Rai and just exploring. The road is really amazing. It's curvy and in the mountain area. I absolutely enjoy this. Eventually I pass by a sign that said wildlife breeding center, so I take the turn to check it out.

I arrived and parked my motorbike. There's no english here. Nothing at all. Everything is in Thai and I cannot read it. There's a map on the parking lot, but i have no idea what any of this means.


So I just start exploring the park and come to the conclusion that it's some type of zoo. They have a lot of birds and monkeys. Then they have bears, leopards and wild cats. There might be more animals, but I haven't found them. I think that all the animals here are local. They are from south east Asia.


This is the only sign that I can understand!




I totally recommend this place if you want to do something unique and not touristy. I haven't seen a single tourist here. I was the only white guy. There were a lot of Thai people bringing their kids. It was really nice to see! Also, it is totally free!

On the way back I stop for one more picture of the fields. The water is very reflective. It's just gorgeous. This whole area is amazing! I love the north of Thailand so much.


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fredkese @fredkeseJanuary 2019

It's nice to hear more about Thailand. When I watch movies, I only see people on rice farms with hats made from leaves I think. I also see their temples often too. I don't know why you didn't enter the temple though, could have been you were on a tight schedule. If I go to a place, I'm surely going to see all there is to see unless of course I know I will be back pretty soon. Safe travels on all your journeys.


Thank you! Thailand is really awesome ๐Ÿ˜Ž I have been doing many amazing things and there is so much beautiful nature. I have seen so many temples by now, itโ€™s insane. I just wasnโ€™t feeling it that day to go inside and get pushed in all directions by the tourists trying to snap selfies. I will go inside next time, I think it is worth it.

Thank you for stopping by ๐Ÿ™

fredkese @fredkeseJanuary 2019

Thanks for sharing too

ferrate @ferrateJanuary 2019

Great trip it was, with all these awesome scenes of nature. Lovely clicks in there and I hope you enter the temple on your next visit.


Thank you! Yes, I will go inside next time. Iโ€™m keen to checking it out. I just wasnโ€™t feeling it that day.

ferrate @ferrateJanuary 2019

Yea... I get the feeling. It's always good to follow your instinct. If you were not in the mood, so be it. There will always be anyday


I feel strange to go into religious places that are not mine. I feel like all the people trampling through without understanding are somehow messing with the place. But that temple sure looks lovely from the outside, and most of the people there must be believers.

I wonder how old it is and who built it. Could we even create something so beautiful today?

Great long exposure shots of the waterfall. I have been to Niagara Falls and know just what you mean about the spray. It's thrilling.

I love the yellow/orange/blue pheasant looking birds. I have never seem anything like them.

You packed in a full day on that jaunt. Thank you so much for showing us your cool trip.


The temple is actually brand new. It opened in 1997 ๐Ÿ˜ฎ. Well there was a temple before that, but it was in poor shape and it was bot white. I understand your feeling about tourists in religious places. I think it really messes with the intentions of such a place. It makes me think if this place was rebuilt for the religious people or for tourists ๐Ÿค”

Oh wow, you have been to the Niagara Falls! Damn I really want to go there. It looks so impressive.


It is! I was lucky enough to grow up near the falls and have been many times. My dad loved them. Then later I went to school near them and got to walk by a few times a week. It's completely overwhelming. It's you ever go - the Canadian side is the one with the views.

I had no idea the white temple was new. I hope you get back - maybe on a weekday :)


When we travel we usually try to do and see as much as possible in as little time as we have. This makes it sometimes overwhelming and I'm glad that you realized that you can do it differently and focused on the north of Thailand.

The temple looks absolutely stunning. And I also understand why there are so many tourists there. It's a pity that you were not able to avoid the crowds but I hope that you will succeed next time.

I love waterfalls! It's so calming to watch water falling down. I would spend there some time too :) And the hike doesn't seem to be that long so as you said it should be totally doable :)

Your photos are great and I like the way you photographed your journey.

Thank you for sharing and have a great weekend!


Yes, I was traveling like that before. But at that time I was doing short trips and I had to get back to work in Belgium. Now I am traveling full-time so I have enough time to slow it down a bit and truly get to know the place.

Yes, I think I love watching waterfalls as much as you do. There is something about it, it is absolutely amazing!

Thank you so much :) Have a great weekend.


I'm happy to hear that you're traveling full-time! It's a dream of many and you managed to achieve it! Well done!

I live close to the biggest waterfall in Europe (Rhinefall) and I go there very often to enjoy the scenery. It makes me feel better :)

Have a great weekend too!


Those temples look really magnificent! I love the colors, especially the white one and it has so much detailing, which I definitely do love. I wonder how long it took them to get all those detailing in place.

I love how refreshing and relaxing the waterfalls look. You took great photos of them.

And those colorful birds, they really are eye-catching, I am not sure I have seen one like it before. I love those colorful stripes around their neck...


I love the details in the white temple too. It's so crazy when you see it in person for the first time.

It was also my first time seeing those birds. I didn't know they existed. It was really nice to see it.

Thank you for the kind words :)


I would so love to see them in person someday, i guess it will be a whole new and different experience...


Hi @beforeyoupack
wonderful Thailand! It's true, too often in our travels we do not have enough time and we do everything in a hurry, following the classic tours with must-see. But we have to take more time to visit maybe a smaller area, but enjoying every moment, just with the freedom of a bike to take and go, following the instinct. Taking also the freedom not to enter a "famous" place because we realize that we would be just another tourist in the crowd. Bravo, and nice photos!


Thank you ๐Ÿ˜Š. Yes that is the whole idea behind this blog. I love doing new things and I am always happy when I find something unique and away from the tourists must-sees and then share it with my readers. Taking more time in a smaller area allows me to connect with locals who show me something unique. My next few posts will be about some unique experiences I had around Chiang Rai.


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IvanM7 @ivanm7January 2019

I have to say the white temple is the most beautiful structure I have seen in a long time (and I've been to places like Paris, Florence, Athens etc...)
The perfect and original architecture of this temple is something that deserves nothing but admiration and praising. It is only natural that the place gets packed with tourists, who wouldn't want to visit something so gorgeous?
By the way, did you know that it was damaged by an earthquake five years ago and almost got demolished because of safety reasons? What a pity would that be...


OMG, yes I read about that after writing this article. How unfortunate would that be, to have this gorgeous temple destroyed. I'm glad it is still there. It is absolutely magnificent.


Looked like you had a nice time, the zoo is so beautiful


Yes I had an amazing time!


great reportage and amazing nature pictures have fun and post more


Thank you! ๐Ÿ™