Thailand… what a difference
Another long post to catch up 🙂
After crossing into Thailand yesterday the first thing we come across is how westernised Thailand is. Tescos, 7-Eleven and major western chains just in the first town of Mae Sot is big culture shock to us all after the last 5 months of travel in some of the most remote and poorest villages in Central Asia.
The good thing is the roads have improved dramatically nice smooth multiple lane roads easy to ride and traffic that follows road rules.
The first night we spent in Tak in a hotel (which turned into 2 nights as Rupert and I ended up getting sick) and then to Lampang to a lovely riverside guesthouse run by a French lady and stayed a couple of nights.
Next stop was Chiang Mai and The Riders Corner café / guesthouse. The rooms where very below par and the owner needs to spend a bit on making it a comfier place for the overlanders. Lawrence and I headed for different accommodation, Lawrence went for hostel and I stayed in the Lux Hotel just down from Riders Corner for a few nights until Laura turned up for her holidays.
We then moved to a more upmarket hotel right next to the Night Bazaars and spent the rest of our time together chilling in a suite. As I had been travelling for months I was happy to just chill, not sure this was Laura’s plan as it was a holiday for her.
Walking through the Night market we found a temple made of silver, it was very impressive and strangely enough men only allowed inside, This was common in a lot of Temples, Pagodas, Wats.
Out having dinner one night and I have messages and phone calls from Rupert and Lawrence, Rupert had managed to do a little too much off-roading and bounced his 1190 down a cliff (how it didn’t go to the bottom I don’t know). With lots of phone calls around with the few locals I had met we managed to arrange for a recovery first thing the next day and they were back on the road with a few minor repairs again to Rupert’s bike.
Mind you one suggestion to me was find a local village with an Elephant and get them to pull you out J
After the couple of weeks Laura was there it was time for her to head back to London and work (HA HA) whilst I moved to the hostel Lawrence was at as he had been ill with a fever after the jungle trip with Rupert. That week was Songkran which is where all of Thailand basically turns into a water fight and you get soaked walking out the front door. It was immense fun acting like a kid for a few days.
The next week Rupert headed for Laos as he had met some guys doing a run to China and he would get in some good off-roading. As the way with all good plans his bike broke down in North East Laos and he was trucking it back to Thailand. Lawrence arranged for him to be picked up at the Thai border with the help of the Hostel owner. The bike had had a swim in a river and a massive thunderstorm, so we drained the tank and set about getting a new set of filters for the fuel as they were quite bad, as per normal Thai times this was going to take more than 5 days to get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai (also Songkran), Lawrence and I decided to head off and complete the Mae Hong Son loop which consists on over 1800 bends. This took us 3 days to do at a nice leisurely pace on some very scenic roads.
We arrived back in time to take delivery of the filters and re-assemble the 1190. Unfortunately, it still didn’t want to bounce into life until we saw the bike was immobilising itself. Rupert luckily had spare key and when he tried that the bike fired up into life and was back on the road again.
The next day we headed south to Phrae and spent the night in a bungalow guesthouse just outside of town
After some discussion that night the next destination was Sukhothai and we said goodbye to Rupert after some lunch as he needed to get down south and see Cambodia and those areas before a flight back to UK for job interviews (he will be back for Vietnam). Lawrence and I found a lovely resort in the back of the town and spent the night. I then headed back up towards the border as he was feeling ill again and wanted a few days to relax. Nan was my next stop that afternoon with a welcoming massive thunderstorm which was spectacular to watch. I then headed back to Chiang Mai for one night stop at Plearn Hostel. On the way to Chiang Mai I took the mountain roads and some amazing scenery again with some very narrow roads that were very steep up and down to a Café in a treehouse.
Next stop Chiang Rai as Laos was calling, Lawrence met me up here and we had a few nights in a hotel before making our way North to the Myanmar border we went to the White Temple and then around to the Golden Triangle where the 3 countries met divided by rivers. It was very uneventful and nothing much there. The locals have tried to turn it into a tourist place but still nothing much to see there. That night we stayed about 10km from the Laos border ready to cross the following day.
The next morning, we packed the bikes and I went to start mine and the battery was dead (I had been having a few starting issues and not thought much about it) Lawrence chased around town and found me jumper leads and a possible battery which will be a little too big but may work. We spent most of the day sorting the bike and getting it running to get into Laos.
On the 3rd we crossed into Laos ……