Daewoo's 07 Trip - Ride Report 5 - Mae Hong Son - Chiang Mai

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by daewoo, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    Daewoo’s 07 Trip – Ride Report 5 – Mae Hong Son to Chiang Mai

    I hadn’t had much sleep… The mosquitoes weren’t as much trouble as I had anticipated, but too much beer, combined with my patented anti-hangover practice of 500mL of water for each beer, had seen to a restless night to say the least…

    I was actually up well before my alarm was due to go off at 5:45 to ensure that we were on the road at 6:30… we figured that it was about a 1 ½ hr ride to the sunflower fields, and Rhodie had told us that the balloon ride, the posters for which were all over Northern Thailand, only ran from 8am till 10am, and 4pm till 6pm due to winds (they neglected to put that little titbit of info on the posters… to endure that we made it before any crowds we decided on a really early start… no breakfast, bikes fuelled up (in the rain) the night before… just wake, dress, on the bike, go…

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    We did, maybe even a bit earlier than planed, in the dark…

    It was quite cold riding this early in the morning, there was some serious fog on some of the mountain passes, lots of dogs out exploring, barking, and marking their territory before the sun came up… it was very quiet, and somehow seemed like the world had stopped and we were the only ones still moving…

    I have since realised that the second part of my patented anti-hangover practice, taking an Aspirin last thing at night and first thing in the morning may have also led to this funny out of body feeling… you see, I had taken with me 6 sleeping pills, 2 for the flight to Thailand, 2 for the flight home, and two in case I needed them… I realised a few days later, that somewhere along the line I had mistakenly taken 2 sleeping pills instead of Aspirin and I think this may have been when… it was all a bit weird…

    I stopped to take a photo of this car, but was too quick putting the camera away to get the photo of the owner loading a crate of Beer Chang into the front, in his police uniform : ) …

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    We rode at a decent clip for the 60Km south from MHS to the 1263, the 12km from there to the turnoff for the sunflower fields which are 12km up the signposted road, arriving at about 8am, to see them inflating the hot air balloon, and were the first ride of the day…

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    The hot air balloon was tethered to the ground and only lifted about 25m into the air, but it was still an interesting experience for the 100THB price… including a cuppa coffee, which I desperately needed…

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    After the balloon ride we headed up the hill to the sunflower field proper for many many more photos… sorry if they are all boring, and amateur compared to the others posted by real photographers…

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    Of course, the Asian thing of a photo not being complete without a human in it had the groups at the viewpoint lining up for photos with different configurations of the group… TJ offered to take some photos for one of the larger groups, then I was handed a camera as well, then of course we needed to be in the photo to show who had taken the other photos… it is a vicious circle, but we survived…

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    Yes, we took photos of the permanent ‘accident ahead’ sign too…

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    After draining the camera batteries, we headed down to the local school, near the Balloon field where they had started a sideline business, teaching the kids to be waiters, masseurs, and had free Internet (of particular interest to TJ)…

    A bit disheartening that the highest aspirations the teachers have for these kids is to be waiters and masseurs, not doctors or lawyers, but to my mind it still beats the hell out of the typical Thai curriculum of creating little robots unable to think for themselves…

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    Breakfast is served (by a 10 year old)
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    Getting a bit trigger happy at the sunflower fields also prompted us to get some shots of ourselves on the bikes… (Thanks The Divine Miss Elle)

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    From here the plan was to continue along the 1263 to Mae Chaem for the night…

    This road was in much worse conditions that the others of the ride, and had many potholes and rough corners, which of course were GREAT when you are on a dirt bike, but I think could be trouble for an unwary sports bike pilot…

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    After lunching in Mae Na Chon, we arrived in Mae Chaem at about 1, and figured we still had plenty of time to get back to Chiang Mai via Doi Inthanon…

    This was a little bit tricky, but appealed to TJ, particularly because it allows you to get to Doi Inthanon without paying the National Park fee… basically you head out of Mae Chaem towards Chomthong on the 1192, which isn’t particularly well signposted, and is quite small winding, and narrow…

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    After climbing over the hills, you pop out onto the 1009 to Doi Inthanon about 50m from the guard house, and head up the hill to the top of the mountain…

    Then it starts to rain a bit… then a bit more… then even more… until you get to 'The Rainiest Spot in Thailand'...

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    We tried to hide in the café at the top of the mountain, but it just wasn’t going to ease up, so TJ and the spectacularly smiling Miss Elle donned their wet weather gear… I was wearing mine, it was the same as my hot weather gear, my dry weather gear, and mostly the same as my getting drunk in town at night gear… and we headed off down the hill…

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    It had stopped raining by the time we met the 108 at Chomthong, but the 45 Km from there to Chiang Mai was still a cold affair in when clothes…

    The ride into town was a bit of a nightmare with traffic, especially near the airport…

    Where you keep right into WuaLau Rd (at Thip net Rd) the woman in the Camry in front of me hesitated and all was lost… without any traffic lights, and a constant stream of traffic in all directions the only way to get across is through bravery or size, and she was willing to use neither… I went around and was stopped just on her front passenger side corner pushing my way into the traffic when the bike started to lean over… apparently, intimidated by the traffic getting closer and closer to her car as they went the other way, and not satisfied with already reversing in TJ (who was stuck behind her), she just turned left and drove into my bike… I gave her ‘the eye’ moved further out and forward, and she did it again…

    Anyway, no harm, I just pushed my way in, and we were into town, back to The Kafe for dinner, and a few quiet ales (or something like that)…

    Cheers,
    Daewoo
     
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