Martin's South East Asia Trip chapter 5 - GT

Discussion in 'Global Trip Reports' started by martins, Oct 4, 2008.

  1. martins

    martins Thai tourer

    Her is the continued story from my summer 2008 trip.
    There are pictures on my homepage if you want to follow the trip.
    I'll try to write explanations on the road pictures when I find the time.

    After a week or so in Chaing Mai I continued North on road 107 towards the Golden Triangle. It was a rainy Monday morning - not cold - but after a couple of hours on the road I starded to catch up some fever and was forced to stop in a little village along the road. The village is Chiang dao and of course, as always in Thailand there was some nice people taking care of me with rest, food and they even gave my bike a wash after asking me if they could. So after some 20 hours of rest and sleep I felt better and went on the road again.

    From Chiang dao I took the mountain roads west of 107 thru a very nice area with villages and hill tribes. Visited a school and a chinese village in the mountains. I finally made it up to Fang where I had a lunch break and continued north towards Tha Ton, on a straight road til I took off left towards the village Mae Salong where I stopped at a Chinese style Hotel with a great restaurang and a tremendous view over the mountains. This area is a great area for biking with lot of dramatic views and roads, don't miss it. After the dinner I took a walk in the village chatting with som locals and climbing up to a tempel with a sunset view over the entire village, amazing. There was a good nights sleep in the mountains.

    The next day I continued north from Mae Salong and had the same dramatic experience with a lot of nice views and villages. I let go the map and just drove on the nice roads for a while and hit some nice villages and experienced some nice dirt roads going along the mountain side. It's when you let go the planning and control you can experience the unexpected and meet people that are not used to foreigners. I met people that lived there since childhood with fathers being soldiers from Burma, escaped over the border and settled here for a new life. After half a day of nice mountain riding I ended up in Mae Sai, the small town on the Burma border close to the golden triangle. After a lunch break in town I headed for the Golden triangle some 40 km away. I took the old road along the Burma border and made a stop at the Opium museum just before Burma met China. The museum was a nice experience and explained a lot of the drug history not only in this area but also the opium war with the west.

    The Golden triangle itself has become a real tourist trap so I passed the area without stopping and continued along the Mekong river and the border towards the town of Chiang Khong where the border crossing to Laos could be done. Along the Mekong there was a nice countryside trip with the muntains close to the right. Next time I need to take a ride in the area of Chiang Rai but i missed it this time. I found a really nice Mekong side hotel with a veranda overlooking the great river. I spent the evening there together with two Norwegians and an old US navy officer. One of the Norwegians told a story where he hand-by-hand led a blind man through the entire New York marathon and the American how he in the late 60:s during the Vietnam war came up the Mekong river with a patrolboat and decided to retire in this beutiful village. Which he did, and now living here with a Honda glider and a beutiful Vietnamese lady. When asking him about Laos he just replied that "I'm not the Lao kind of guy". What an evening!

    Next morning I started off with the custom house when they opened at 9 o'clock. That was the quickes checkout ever. Ten minutes for all the paperwork despite I also had an overdraft on my temporary import license. They just charged me 100 Baht a day (800 Baht) and politely asked if it was OK. So off for the ferry I went and as always in Asia it was a caotic place with animals, humans and vehicles in a mess. A ticket selling lady succeed in convicing me that there was no car ferrys to Laos anymore and we need to put the bike in a longboat for the transport, to the same price. This was the first time since Bangkok I was ripped off and I didn't understand until I saw the car ferry landing in Laos after me. Anyway, all went OK and I got to Laos. In Laos there was also a quick (and inexpensive) custom procedure to get a temporary import license. The trick was to find the immigrations which took me nearly an hour of searching. I finaly found it besides the landing place for the person ferry (of course!) and had to pay 35 US$ for a visa to Laos.

    Next week I will tell the story from Laos, which I actually think it was the best part of my journey. See you then!

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  3. tonykiwi

    tonykiwi Ol'Timer

    Wonderful story. This really encourages others to explore

    Well done and thank you

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