Some interesting things to see in the north

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by ianyonok, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    I apologise for the poor photos, the lens on my phone camera is scratched. But anyway, wanted to post something on some great locations.

    First, rode down to Mae Chan and out west through Thaton, Fang and Chai Prakarn in heavy rain, so a bit slow going. Then took the small 1340 up into the mountains past Sinchai and into Arunothai for lunch. Good local place to eat in Arunothai, on the left just after you turn left to head south on the 1178. Then headed down that road and west up the 1322 to Wiang Haeng. Lovely lady in the coffee before you come down off the mountains. Then the dirt road west across to Pai, which was easy enough in the light rain.

    A very nice little 500 year old stupa about halfway along the dirt road to Pai.
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    Stayed at the Prawdao Resort in Pai (good recommendation from David). 5 minutes walk to centre of town and only 600 Baht a night off season. An excellent Indian restaurant a few doors down too.
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    Next morning, headed SW to Watchan and breakfast at the restaurant there run by a couple who are founder members of the Pattaya Jesters MC.
    Great people and they have several bungalows to stay as well. Sorry, no pic.
    Then took the dirt road NW over the mountains to MHS. A bit tricky in places due to rain making the surface slippery. Got sideways once down a steel hill and dropped the bike, but no damage.
    Into Mae Hong Son for dinner with Herbert at the Cafe Primavera. Wonderful Italian restaurant.
    Next morning, down to Khun Yuam for breakfast and then headed west, to take the anti-clockwise loop and back to Khun Yuam for lunch.
    I took the 10 klm mountainous dirt road to the Burmese border, which is supposed to be opening next year, as the road continues on into Burma. But actually looks unlikely to me that will happen. There is an army camp at the end but no infrastructure.
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    Beautiful National Park area up to the border post.
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    The end of the road...... and the way into Burma.
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    After returning to Khun Yuam, I went east across and down to Hot, but stopped at Hot Coffee on the way, just before Mae Chaem. Good to support this place as they run an orphanage there too.
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    Stopped at PP Garden Resort in Hot. the new Huern Huk Hot resort looks better but they were full.

    more later....
     
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  3. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    Next morning, I went west, back to Ob Luang. Parked up at the National Park headquarters and walked the short Nature walk, about 150m east, to the bridge over the river.
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    I'm not keen on heights, so had to hang on to the handrail, quite scary.. must be a good 30m drop down the gorge into the fast flowing river and it was raining lightly again. Ob Luang certainly is a beautiful gorge.
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    Across the bridge is another nature trail, about 1.5 klms, that looks very interesting too, with prehistoric cave art and a burial site. A place to revisit in the dry season. An obvious place of the gods for ancient peoples.
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    Headed south from Hot to Doi Tao Lake. This is clearly marked as a large lake on maps and gps. However, it was almost completely dry, just a couple of rivers flowing through the area. It was clear to see where the lake seasonally fills up to and I was assured by a local that it should have filled up by the end of the rainy season. The lake is filled by the Ping river to the north and water run-off by surrounding mountains.

    Of further interest here, where the Ping river flows into Doi Tao lake, on the northwest bank, were at least 4 ancient stupas, appearing to be of the 16th-17th century period.
    They were spread in an area roughly opposite this very noticeable modern temple.
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    Several weaver birds had made their nests in the growth over this stupa.
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    Unfortunately, I could see no information about this ancient settlement. But clearly it is an area good for farming with the seasonal rise and fall of Doi Tao Lake.
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    Heading out SE on 1103, found a great little coffee shop with roadside terrace lounge built into a tree.
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    Continued on, through Li and the wonderful twisties over the mountain down to Thoen for lunch. Then up NE to Wang Chin on 1124, then took the 1125 SE and visited a place I had planned to go and see for some time.

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    Mon Sao Hin Pissawong is at 17 deg 50.33'N, 99 deg 47.96'E. There is a tarmac road all the way to the entrance. From this point, it's a steep hike up the steps to the top of the mountain or drive up the dirt road to the right which goes all the way to the top.
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    On the walk up.
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    It was a damp day again and lots of mozzies around. But well worth it, what a very interesting location.
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    These columnar rock formations occur in many parts of the world; Giant's Causeway in Ireland, in California and near Ankara in Turkey, among others.
    Usually 6 sided, the natural columns are formed when an upthrust of volcanic rocks cools, in a similar way to how an area of flat mud dries into 6 sided shapes in a drought.
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    Piles of rock logs, stacked by nature.
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    Mountain of Columnar... well worth a visit.

    I took a lovely little dirt trail back out west to the main road and it stopped raining for a change..
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    Being a day for looking at natural phenomena, I finished with a visit to the Maharat Stone Garden just before Phrae.
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    Next morning, off to another location, recommended on the forum, in Phayao province;
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    This really is a beautiful little temple.
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    The doors were closed but a monk opened them and showed me around. The Buddha image is several hundred years old and made of Mai Pradhu, which I understand is similar to rosewood but more available.
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    It had been raining every day for the first 4 days of the trip and my boots never dried out, but on the 5th day, the sun was was shining.
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    From Pong, I took the 1188 across to the 1148 coming up from Nan. This is marked as a road on some maps.....
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    In fact, last year, I found myself on this same road, but riding a 40 year old classic Triumph 750 cafe racer, with clip-on bars and rear sets, in the pouring rain........ not good..... But today was easy on the dirt bike.
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    By now, it was a beautiful warm day.
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    The final place to visit, another recommendation from this forum, top of Phayao province, near Pa Daet.
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    This map shows the extent of the remains of the town.
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    Take a ride across the Ing river on the suspension bridge, to see more of the old town and the remains of the city walls. This was little un-nerving as some of the boards are a bit loose and rotten plus the river was in flood.
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    Difficult see, but this is the old double city wall.
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    Came back over the river on the concrete bridge.. much easier.
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    Heading back out and round on to 1292 north you come to another large stupa.
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    Finally, just north of here still on 1292, is a hilltop temple, Wat Prathat Bun Nak.
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    I was interested to see this temple had it's own triple wall and double moat around it. A monk showed me around and most of it is still visible. This is looking along one of the old moats.
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    The monk also told me there are more ancient temple remains, which no-one ever visits, up on the mountain ridge to the west. This ridge has a peak of 823m and forms the border between Chiang Rai and Phayao provinces. I wonder if there is a trail up there......

    Looking back down the temple stairs, undulating up and down over the multiple old walls and moats.
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    Another wonderful ride in beautiful, fascinating northern Thailand. Rainy season is the best time of year for the colours of the scenery, if you can put up with having wet boots all day long for days at a time.......
    Again, sorry for the poor photos...... already bought a new camera for the next ride.....
     
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Damn you get around a lot on that CRF. That bike is proving to be great value for money eh - go anywhere / see everything.

    I really like this report because I always wondered about that Mount Columnar & wondered what it was & if it would be worth checking out.
    Now I can definitely say yeah it is worth it.

    These pics make it look damn interesting & something I wanna see.

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    Wat Tha Fa Tai Ive done & yeah that's a beautiful old Lue temple if it ever was.
    Glad you went to Wiang Lo as not many people get out there & the sight + history is interesting enough.

    Thanks for the report. See you on the weekend with the TV guys.
     
  5. Oddvar

    Oddvar Ol'Timer

    Thanks for a nice report.
    I have been driving past the Mt Columnar sign on R 11 4 times the last week. Now I do have a reason to go and check it out for myself.
     
  6. ronwebb

    ronwebb Ol'Timer

    Brilliant report on some fascinating locations. Those columns are extraordinary but Boran Sathan Wiang Lo is of great interest to me and has been on my 'to do' list for a while. It pops up frequently in articles that I read on matters Khon Muang.

    But did you really go on the KLX or did you take the Porsche????
     

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