Thailand · 10 Days · 11 Moments · February 2018

Northern Thailand

12 February 2018

Day 8. Phayamengrai - Chiangrai, 56km. The return to Chiangrai was fast and flat with just a few bumps. We passed alongside extensive rice fields in a sea of green. One coffee stop and we were back at Adam's home where Daa had prepared a feast of a lunch for us. I will begin the 500km drive back to my home in Mae Sot. I think I can make it all the way. It has been a really great bicycle tour and I thank Adam for being patient and looking out for me so well.

11 February 2018

Day 7. Chun - Payamengrai, 78km. The road was as flat as a tack all the way till a hill took us by surprise a few km from Payamengrai. The buzz of dragonflies in the rice fields and the meanders through small rural villages was a delight. Tomorrow sadly will be our final leg as we complete the circuit back to Chiangrai.

10 February 2018

Day 6. Phayao - Chun, 50km. A pretty easy day with a lazy morning start. Just a small range to get over as we headed northeast on Hwy 1202 to Chun. We arrived in Chun just at the start of their one week Peacock festival making accommodation very hard to find. Some kind locals directed us to various places untul we found a still being built hotel with rooms. Just 350 THB which is such good value. We went to a fair in the evening and came back with 2kg of compressed worm droppings for our gardens.

9 February 2018

Day 5. Wang Neaua - Phayao, 56km 15 km of flat riding before the terrain became undulating, hilly, and then continuose up as we climbed around spurs and tackled the incline to the saddle. The road was excellent, smooth and with a wide shoulder. The gradient never got more than 5 or 6% but I was still often in my angel gear. We passed a beautiful waterfall, the Tha Tong which made for a serene rest stop. We reached the summit by 1:30pm and there some stalls selling our favourite lunch of papaya salad, grilled chicken and sticky rice.. The ride down the otherside was fast but not too steep followed by a further 15km into the provincial capital of Phayao situated on a lake. Apparently the original town was completely detroyed in an earthquake and has since filled with water becoming the lake. Now it is a major attraction with footpaths, lights and tree lined streets. Great fresh fish.

8 February 2018

Day 4. Phayao - Wang Neaua, 86km - 40km = 46km. After a flat section out of the valley, we faced 40km of unrelenting uphill to the top of the range. After a simple calculation of dividing our combined ages by our weight and finding it to be inversely proportional to our urge when the thrust is constant, we decided to hire a ute and driver to take us to the top. It was a delight to cycle down fast on the other side of the range and we rolled into Wang Neaua by early afternoon. Nothing else of great note to report except for the great khao soi we had when we stopped for lunch.

7 February 2018

This journal app is proving difficult and cumbersome to organize photos; sorry about that. There is a word limit as well. I might have led you astray in trying to follow this short journey.
Day 3. By a fire in a mango - Phrao, 35km. Adam kept the fire going all night as we tried to stay as near to it as possible as we lay on the bare ground and wished for morning to come. The night sky was ablaze with stars and Adam was at once amazed and befuddled as I tried to show him the constellations. We set off at daybreak, tired, cold and hungry. The provincial road was unrelenting in its uphills and downhills as we crossed the range reaching gradients of at least 15%. It was too much for me as I walked my bike slowly up the steeper sections. It finally led down to a beautiful valley and levelled out as we rode with weary legs. We passed field after field of mango trees in full flower as we made our way into Phrao, a small and delightful town. We finally got ourselves a map of the region with a scale of 1:370,000 which is really detailed. Tomorrow looks horrendous! Far worse than the steep climbs we encountered today. Adam concked out early so will discuss tactics tomorrow.
Day 2. Thaton - abandoned mango plantation on the road to Phrao, 67 km. A great day for a recovery ride as it flat for 50km as we headed south out of Thaton. We had to make a decision of tackling a big climb to Chiang Dao only to retrace our steps tomorrow or take the turn-off to Phrao and hope we find some accomodation enroute, perhaps at a waterfall 8km further on. We chose the latter plan and Adam wisely bought some fried rice and water. We got as far as my tired legs would take me as it now turned very hilly. I stopped at a bend in the road and we spied a rough shelter amidst an abandoned mango plantation above a river. It seemed great as noone was around and was sitting close to native forest. We knew the temperature would drop overnight but we were'nt prepared for how freezing it was to be in shorts with no covering except an old mat we found in the hut. Our teeth were chattering by 9pm and we could bear it no longer so we got up and built a small fire with dried out bamboo.

6 February 2018

Found a massage place. I was cramping all over. Great restaurant by the river and in bed exhausted by 8pm.

5 February 2018

Started the bike tour today. Day 1. Chiang Rai - Thaton. 85 km. We are travelling as light as possible on our bikes with just our cycling gear, a change of clothes and for me, a very thin woolen jumper. Flat out of town and joined with Geoff and Alain to the Parabola cofee shop 15 km out of CR. Then it was a slow rise and a very steep and long section to get on top of a rolling plateau. Long flat and gentle down hill down river to arrive in Thaton at 3pm. We are staying at the Apple resort on the eastern bank of the Khok river. 350 THB for a very neat bangalow each. I arrived very exhausted. The last 10km was a trial. Enjoying a beer on the river and dying for a massage.

2 February 2018

Feb 2, 2018 Meant to travel by car to Chiang Mai today but delayed till tomorrow while I stay in Mae Sot. I will then drive on to Chiang Rai where I will meet my old Darwin Cycling Club riding buddy who I have not seen for 5 years to embark on a 8 - 10 day bicycle tour in a minimalist style.