Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 33 Fri 30/07 - A Costly Lesson to Learn

Today Spending : 2353 baht      Total : 15765 baht

Yes! Cycle touring I should say is fun most of the time,travelling lots of places,meeting nice friendly people,getting invited for free stay,lunches, dinners etc....etc....but there are times,you need to be strong to face the unexpected hiccups,that can ruin your tour prematurely.In a way, no one is perfect,things can go wrong.After all,life is a continual learning process,never can it be flat and smooth all the times.As you crosses the hurdles one after another,It makes you a better person,both physically and mentally.Ok coming back to the subject of costly lesson. I was shock to discover that my Thai visa is actually expiring on 1st of Aug and not what I thought all this while on the 7th.I guess the Thai border post in Wang Kelian also partly to be blame for using a badly worn out rubber stamp.The number "1" very much looks like "7" that causing the whole problem.Ended up,I had to rush out to the immigration office to make an extension as tomorrow is Saturday,the office is close. Spend about 3 hr managed to get a one week extension for a costly fee of 1900 baht.In a way,if you look at it positively,I considered myself lucky to detect the problem earlier,and  even more lucky i am still in Chiang Mai to get the extension done. Tomorrow may be another surprise as one of the warnshower cyclist will come and pick me up to stay in the mountain somewhere in Pai about 100 km north of Chiang mai.
The wornout rubber stamp that cause me 1,900 baht (top) Did the "1" looks like "7"? Bottom stamp is the extension
                                                                    Wat Lok Molee

"With me around,who dares to make troubles"

Another corner of Wat Molee

Never get lost with this

Inter Inn 100 baht in Chiang Mai

Wat Dokeung

Young monk on their morning alms

Sweet Thai students

Three Kings Monument

Young monks start early on Buddhism
Just like our school assemly

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 32 Thu 29/07 - A 12 km Uphill Ride to Doi Suthep above Chiang Mai

Today Distance: 39.5 km       Total: 2053.9 km

Today Temp : 22 - 33c
Time on Bike : 3hr 11 min
Ave Speed : 12.3 kmh           Max: 55.5 kmh
Ave Climb : 5%                    Max: 13%
Altitude: 681m                      Max: 1015m
Today spending : 410 baht          Total: 13412 baht

The plan for today is to ride up the 12 km Doi Suthep (Doi means Mountain in thai ),famous for the golden wat Phrathat high on top of the mountain, and also highly recommended by Chris Wee.The morning rain has somewhat delay my start but not my spirit,with my super light breathable raincoat on,I am off at 8am.Felt a lot more lighter now riding without all my bags,but taking it easy with a relaxing pace on a wet road surface.I was forced to take shether again at a motorcycles shop for 30 min as the rain started to get heavy.After the rain,it makes cycling very unpleasant with patches of rain waters still remain on the road,but the drivers and motor bikers here are quite considerate to give way to me.When I reached the foothill,the Chiang Mai Zoo entrance looks very impressive,but my aim is the mountain ,not the zoo.The Huay Keaw waterfall too did not impress me.The winding roads up are wider with two lanes up and one lane down, smooth with beautiful curves, not too steep. There are few rest stops along the way and a scenic view point to the city below.The traffic is very light with only the tourist pick ups and tour buses. I saw two cyclists on their mtb up but soon were pick up by the support car halfway.It took me about 2.5hr to reach the top,and to see the Wat,you had to climb a 100m long with 45 inclintion Dragon steps.There is a Golden stupa surrounded by many smaller Buddha and lots of donations are from Malaysia and Singapore.Frankly I somehow getting a little bored visiting so many Wats since in Thailand, and yet they are such a beautiful architectural piece of artwork,besides the historical and religious aspect of it. But overall,I enjoy the ride. The cool breeze from the jungle green blowing on the face,feel very refreshing. For comparision,I think our ride on Fraser hill and Cameron are lot more tougher.So to our malaysian cyclists,start booking your Airasia ticket and have fun in Chaing Mai,you will love this place ,if you like adventurous sports.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 30 Tue 27/07 - Overnight Bus turn out Overnight Train to Chaing Mai

Today spending : 1274 baht    Total : 12414 baht

The original plan of an overnight bus from Nakhon Pathom to Chiang Mai,unexpectedly changed to an overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.The reason was due to Udom/Tao couldn't secure a bus ticket (fully booked),instead they bought the train ticket.I could visualise the troubles they had to endure to fetch me to Bangkok which is 80 km from here. We arrived at the train station ,half an hour early before the train schedule to leave at 7.35pm.Udom/Tao helps me to carry my bags while I wheel my bike to the luggage carrier. My seat is the bottom sleeper with another bed on top and it cost 850baht plus another 90 for the bike.I guess this must be the most expensive seat in the train.A normal bus ticket only cost 300 baht. Really caused a big dent in my pocket whatsmore -with no place to air my frustration!! I was hungry and helpless left with no choice but to ordered a dinner of simple sweet&sour chicken rice top with a bowl of lousy soup and few slices of oxidised apples for another 180 baht, which normally don't cost more than 80 in the street and taste so much better. There is not much to see or do ,so I went to bed early on a noisy,rough and rocky night.