Weekend Trip 18/19th August with Rob and Frank - Chiang Khong and Phu Chi Fa Area

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by brian_bkk, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Just some pics this report... Had a blast this weekend..
    Little bit of rain but nothing to stop a great time being had by all.
    Nice to bump in to Ian Yonok and finally meet him in Chiang Khong.

    May be Frank or Rob can follow up with the routes we took. Will post the GPX file later.

    Cheers
    Brian

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    Sun Set beers with Huay Xai in the background
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  3. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Love the Greeeeen, Bro.
    Can't wait to be there.....
     
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    The road shots look like R1155 again, near the Phu Chi Fa turn off.

    In an earlier report I think you (& a few others) posted pics of a monument to villagers killed building the road.
    This whole area from Chiang Khong - Thoeng - Chiang Kham has a fascinating history of battles with the communists in the (late 60s? &) early 70s.

    R1155 & R1093 along the border were built in once communist controlled areas in the early 70s.

    Pha Tang was a KMT base that used to supply arms & soldiers to help fight the communists in Laos.
    Pratu Siam was literally a door into Laos through which supplies & soldiers went to fight in Laos.

    In 1972 using KMT soldiers from Doi Mae Salong & Pha Tang the Thai govt tried to clean out the communists still controlling large areas of mountainous land around Doi Pha Mo & Doi Yao mountain ranges, south from Phu Chi Fah towards Chiang Kham & Thoeng. It did not succeed very well despite using artillery, police helicopters & air force gunships, only food & abandoned camps were captured & the govt forces suffered 8 dead & 42 wounded.
    In December 1972 600 KMT soldiers were used in another attempt to sweep clean the Chiang Khong -Thoeng border areas. This also failed & saw 40 govt-KMT casualties from mines & booby traps & no enemy dead.
    In April 1973 another attempt was made to clean out the area. This time 800 KMT - govt troops were used, including support from air force with helicopters & bombing runs from planes. They again failed to dislodge the communists. The govt side suffered 20 dead & 60 wounded.
    That the roads were finally built is quite an achievement, for as they were being built they were often under fire from die hard communists. Many of the roads run along the ridgeline, because this is where you were not shot at from - above. If you were down in the valley the communists in the hills higher up could easily shoot down at you. And this is a reason why you often find amazing roads in the border areas of north Thailand. To successfully build a road through the communist controlled area you had to get up above them, so bulldoze a road straight up a spur & then & run along the ridge line where you could not get shot at,, except from down below. A lot of these roads are in also in Nan, especially R1081 on the Laos border side of Doi Phukha.
    KMT soldiers were often used to guard & provide protection for the road contractors in building these roads in the border areas were communists once held sway.

    Many, if not all the Hmong villages along R1093 are govt resettlement villages, where they settled the Hmong who came from Laos after the communists "won the war." They Hmong were put here to guard against future communist threats.
     
  5. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Hi David,

    Very informative..

    Certainly wasn't aware there was so much communist activity in Thailand in the way of rebels and territory not under the central gov't control back in the 60's early 70's.

    Were the communists Thai minorities seeing red... or infiltrators trying to enforce the domino effect theory the US had at the time?

    Cheers
    Brian
     
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    I think the original hard core communists were infiltrators hoping for the supposed dominoe effect, but in those right wing days anyone who was against the govt was branded a communist & literally had to flee to the hills for their lives. Nowadays quite a few of them are back in the fold, with some even MPS & ministers in governments on both sides the last few years. It is a fascinating history worth exploring & learning a little about.

    Phu Hin Rongkla (R2331) in Loei, Phitsanulok and Phetchabun Provinces, was one of the main bases & site of a famous battle where many students & officials fled in order to stay alive & where then branded communists. Read more here: Why Phu Hin Rongkla is so special.

    Phu Phayak
    in the top N-E corner of Nan is an amazing story, especially when you discover that the head of the commie forces fighting the Thai government was none other than previous Thailand PM (& ex head of the RTA) Gen Surayud's father!

    I hope some of this info & links above make your rides that little bit more rewarding.
     
  7. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    Hi Brian, good to have met up with you, Rob and Frank. Great stuff, the 1155 and amazing 4018. Just wonderful scenery this time of year. It is Greeeeeeeen overload.....
    Good stuff on the history David. The memorial on the 1155 lists over 150 names of those who died building the road. Apparently there is also a memorial at the south end of 1155 to commemorate some of the communists who died in the battles. That particular road is not a real ridge road as it runs over and around the hills between the two SW-NE mountain ranges, so maybe, as David points out, that's why so many died there.
     

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