Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 39 Thu 05/08 - Mae Chan Homestay to Mae Sai ( the most northern of Thailand)

Today Distance : 44.6 km     Total : 2403.9 km
Today Temp : 26 - 36C
Time on Bike : 2 hr  48 min
Ave Speed : 15.9 kmh       Max : 31.0 kmh
Ave Climb : 2 %                Max : 7 %
Trip Altitude : 130 m         Max :487 m
Today Spend :400 baht     Total : 18900 baht

The most relaxing ride so far, knowing that Mae Sai,the most northern tip of Thailand,is only 45 km away. I took my time to have a chat with Narong whom I didn't had much opportunity to talk to last night. He make coffee and green tea with a packet of resin bread as my breakfast.Our conversation in broken Hock Kien about our cycling experiences, he shown me his off road mtb trophy during the King's cup championship many years ago.Now he still riding regularly with his friends in the afternoon.When he was asked why still single, he answered with a smile " I spend too much time in cycling,no time to think about marriage" We bid farewell when his workers turn up to start the workshop business. I hit the road by 9.30am on a busy highway 1 and all the way to Mae Sai.The weather is good on a rather flat road,missing are all the mountains,but still with a few not so steep slopes to warm-up.Mae Sai looks more vibrant nowaday than I last visited 12 years ago,more shops,more hotels and of course more people, the advantage of being the border town.I rode right up to the Thai immigration where a bridge crossing over the Mae Sai river to Myanmar. I had no intention to spend the 10 usd just for the sake of stepping into this unfriendly country.I saw many shops here with mandarin characters ,so I went to a Yunnan restaurant to try the "bridge crossing mee hun " for 70 baht. Disappointed as my brother's friend here did not call me, no free stay,so I went looking for stay. Tom's guest house came to the rescue for 150 baht, with a room where you carry your bags down stair and then up again on a spiral staircase.Tomorrow will head east to the Golden Triangle!

On busy Highway 1 to Mae Sai

Scenic stop

Welcome to Mae sai

Why only women?

Can't remember which King is he?

Too beautiful not to take a shot

Rode in to Mae Sai

Kong Meng Foudation Temple

Thai border post

Stalls on the Thai side

A small river less than 20 ft separate the 2 countries

Half of the bridge boundary line indicated by flags

Yunnan Restaurant

"Bridge crossing Mee Hun" for 70 baht

Downstairs and up on a spiral ladder to my room

150 baht with the bathroom back of canera

Day 38 Wed 04/08 - Fang to Mae Chan Homestay

Today Distance : 89.8 km    Total : 2359.3 km
Today Temp : 26 - 38C
Time on Bike : 5 hr  24 min
Ave Speed : 16.6 kmh         Max : 67.0 kmh
Ave Climb : 5 %                  Max : 17 %
Today Spend : 321 baht      Max : 18500 baht

Unlike yesterday,the weather is excellent,bright and sunny with the highest temp recorded 38c, but the heat in high altitude of 500 over meters, is very much comfortable than the lowland south.You can actually tell the difference when you did the washing.There are many hill tribes villagers like the Shan,Karen,Lahu,Yunnan etc.. working hard in the field of padi,papaya,corn,mango and oranges farms.Very scenic views of greenery of mountains all the way,but the climbs are hell lots of tough,the toughest so far I should say, but glad that I succeeded without pushing!! The highlight for today's ride is , I was treated to a Yunnan hill tribe funeral lunch, when I pumped into them with everybody looking and someone waving to me to join them. It is more like a cerebration than a funeral,with loud music and many tables of foods like sweet/sour fish,prawn balls deep fried in flour,fried chicken and roasted pork soup. I had a good mix around with them as most speaks mandarin. The final climb to the top is a police check point and the junction to a smaller road 1234 to Mae Salong,Mae Falung and Mae sai, but I was strongly advised by the police noy to take this road as he don't think I can make it with this funny bike.I respected his advice and partly because I too almost exhausted with the earlier climbs.So I headed straight downhill all the way to Mae Chan. A very small town couldn't find a place to stay. Always when you sometimes feel desperate, there is light somewhere to the rescue. A local cyclist Narong on his full cycling suit ready for an afternoon ride with his friend, saw me and offer a room in his tyre workshop to stay. His relative worker brought me to town in his scooter for dinner. I wander around in town and went internet. Narong came back from his ride was worried about me and went hunting for me in the whole town.Luckily he found me in the internet cafe,if not he was thinking of making a police report for missing person. What a wonderful and friendly people here!!

My morning breakfast in Fang

No Rose Chan here

Bright and Sunny

Tourist Information Board in Thaton

Approaching Tha Ton town

Cheap Mango stall ( 2 rm per kg)

I am not going to carry 3 ,finish 2 carry 1 ok!

Villagers working hard to plant the padi

Papaya Farm

I wonder why these women like to walk, can't they afford to own a bicycle?

My bike always attracts the locals.Don't break my handle pls?

Thanks to this Yunnan man for inviting me to a funeral lunch

What a typical Yunnan meals!

After a free lunch,now the start of a big climb

Refilling stop at midway

And finally the last puuuuuuuuuuuuuush.....

And the reward....great decent of 67 kmh

Mae Chan roundabout where the police station is

A corner of the town

Town temples

Foods stall

Narong with his bikes

Narong's tire workshop offer a room for me

Day 37 Tue 03/08 - Chiang Dao to Fang

Today Distance : 82.3 km     Total : 2269.5 km
Today Temp : 22 - 28C
Time on Bike : 4 hr  40 min
Ave Speed : 17.6 kmh        Max : 53.5 kmh
Ave Climb : 2 %                 Max : 9 %
Trip Altitude : 626 m          Max : 795 m
Today Speed : 416 baht     Total : 17099 baht

A raining day started early in the morning and it continues on and off on and off for several occasions.I went to the morning market for breakfast while hoping that the rain will stop,but it seems like a long life rain. So I prepared to ride anyway with my superlight rain coat on.Whenever the rain get unbearable, I took shether in the nearest cover.On one of the fruit stall, I even felt asleep when the bamboo "bed" looks so tempting. On the way, I met a couple tour cyclists from Nederland just started the ride from Chiang Mai for 2-3 weeks tour of Thailand and Laos.Another rest stop, I saw a  family of Burmese Thai slaughter a baby big after having burnt it to dead.As i moves further north, the normal white rice changed to the basket sticky rice,but when you are hungry, you can;t be choosy. By 4.45 pm, sunshine greeted me as I rolled in Fang. The 1st guesthouse UK hotel ask for 250 baht , but I later found another hotel for 150 baht. You wouldn't believe it, the place is like an opion house but what attracted me to stay is a big bathroom and a satellite TV. The Internet in town too is super Hi speed with only 10 baht per hour,the cheapest so far in Thailand.

Wet...wet..morning start

Nederland couple on 2-3 weeks tour of Thailand and Laos

Greenery with limestone hills

Rolling roads so nice

Saw some smoke from the rest stop

And this is what happen

Sticky rice in basket with deep fried talapia

Approaching the town of Fang

How lucky we malaysian and yet we like to complain

"hotel" in Fang

opium room for 150 baht

but I stay for the big bathroom and satellite tv