15th JUNE 2010
DAY 5. LOEI - LOMSAK - PHU HIN RONGKHLA - NAKHON THAI - CHAT TRAKARN - UTTARADIT
The start of the run home from Loei & the Dan Sai Phi Ta Khon festival.
Thailand's most spectacular road & views
ROUTES: 203 – 2331 – 143 – 11. Distance approx 380 kms.
THE WEATHER: A perfect glorious sunny day, & I simply could not believe my good luck doing this in wet season = where's the rain again.
Route 203 Kok Ngam - Lomsak
Route 2331, the start going up from Lomsak & the road surface is patchy
Some of the road is newly surfaced
A new surface with small bituminous pebbles & a maybe a bit tricky for sport bike riders
however you would not expect the road to be like this for too much longer as they are working on it.
What you come for
A reminder of the Route # = 2331
and the views!
You keep going up
The views from the 1st sala viewpoint
The coffeeshop at the park gate
And the view again
I sat & watched these guys chucking cabbages over a couple of cups of cappu, & there's no doubt they've done it before. They never dropped one!
Where the cabbages come from....off the side of the mountain
1,667 metres above sea level.
that's high for Thailand!
That road & view again
A lot of photos for a mere 17 kms climb, & it took me an hour I stopped so many times & marvelled at the view down below & the fabulous blue sky above!
Once on the top a few kms inside the park I had a moment of "panic" when I ran out of fuel. I knew I could be pushing my luck & about to go onto reserve, but felt that with 70+ kms on reserve I should be alright & pick something up somewhere, once the other side. But I did not expect to run out in the middle of the park. It was a relief then once I'd dismounted from the bike & fiddled with the fuel tap properly, that it switched over onto reserve. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
On the top of the mountain the forest cover is good, very good
It is an almost equally amazing descent on the Nakhon Thai side, but without the tight turns.
Why it is spectacular
Then you're back on the flat of 2013 into Nakhon Thai
you can just see Phu Hin Rongkla mountain in the background, & it does not look much. But it is well & truly worth the ride!
Check it out sometime. Loei is always worth a ride on a bigger bike.
Why Phu Hin Rong Kla is so special
PHU HIN RONGKLA
From 1968 to 1972, Phu Hin Rong Kla was a major stronghold of the communists in their battle with the Thai government.
In 1970 there were 31 wooden houses built in the camp HQs. After the 6th October 1976 uprising, many students and intellectuals fled the right-wing government purges in the Bangkok to hide in Phu Hin Rongkla. The PHR camp was used to educate the new recruits in communist ideology.
In 1982 combined governments force from the army, air force, navy & KMT troops attacked the Phu Hin Rongkla communist stronghold. They were not victorious, & supposedly defeated because of the rugged terrain & dense forest. In the battle massive damage was caused to the environment & wildlife (as you’d expect in a war).
http://www.dnp.go.th/parkreserve/asp/st ... id=86&lg=2
Much of the forest was damaged and much of the wildlife was killed or fled to safer areas. Remaining wildlife includes tigers, leopards, Asiatic Black Bears, wild boar, fox, monkeys, leopard cats, wild hare and many bird species.
I’m not sure about the big cats still though! But it must have been good up there in those earlier years.
After the defeat in 82, with a fresh “hearts & minds” policy, plus amnesty the area was won over by the government; & a road was soon built up onto the mountain and in 1984 it was declared a national park.
http://www.dnp.go.th/parkreserve/asp/st ... action.asp
Highlights of Phu Hin Rongkla include
• Lan Hin Pum, field of nodulated stone, whose lumps are roughly equal in size. It is believed that this formation resulted from physical and chemical erosion. Patients from the hospital suffering from fever would use the area as a rest spot, as a cool breeze blows over the area almost continuously.
• Pha Chu Thong where CPT cadres would hoist a red flag every time their forces defeated government troops in a battle or skirmish.
• Lan Hin Taek, (Broken Rock Field). Along the path, growing in rock crevices are various plant species, including mosses, ferns and ground orchids. The crevices, arranged in rough rows, seem to have come from the earth splitting. Peering into their depths can be eerie. Some crevices are narrow enough to jump across; others are wider. From several can be heard loud echoing of running water. The crevices were perhaps important to the communists, as they could have been used for hiding.
• Surviving wooden building structures
o Office for administrative staff,
o A printing press
o Communications centre.
• Bunkers & air raid shelter
Phu Hin Rongkla has featured on GT Rider here
Ex Loei: 10.25 AM
Ex Lomsak: 1.40 PM
Phu Hin Rongkla: 5 PM
Uttaradit: 7.20 PM