Monday, 10 January 2011

Where the streets are paved with gold ...

Chiang Rai to me is a fairly unremarkable city. In all ways but three ...

1/ The Clock Tower
2/ The Bridge over the River Kok
3/ The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun)

And what links all of the above is one man, successful local artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. (Imagine playing Scrabble and landing that name on a triple word score!). He must surely be Chiang Rai's favourite son. He has essentially donated these elaborate -- Oh, Buddha, elaborate doesn't come close to describing his over-ornate works -- to his home city.

They make Versace's gaudy designs look like the work of a Zen minimalist, jing jing.

The Clock Tower is like a golden flame in the middle of the main street, Thanalai. The bridge's golden staffs look like the lampposts caught fire. And the temple's quirky whiteness throughout looks like they just had three foot of powder snow dump on Chiang Rai last night.

To the point one might possibly suspect white powder of sorts was involved in the conception of these amazing designs.

They must be seen to be believed. Especially the Clock Tower when it stages its nightly light-and-sound show at 7, 8 and 9pm.

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