Fossicking Around The Top North

DavidFL

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Chiang Rai - Mae Sai - Chiang Saen - Chiang Khong

The last few weeks I've been fossicking around the for new attractions & places to go for a GT map update.
The longer you stay here the more you realize how little you know and how much you need to go back out again to ride & see more. The pace of change has been quite rapid the last few years, and since the big 2011 Bangkok floods, a lot of people from Bangkok have cleared out & set up nice little businesses in the North.
You also get to realize that the slower you go the more you see & notice. Pottering around, taking your time is just fine.

Living in Chiang Khong now I have the privilege of enjoying Paradise Road any day I want, & nearly all my rides go out this way now.

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and the ride is often nicer with some good company.

The View Coffee is a magic spot on the Mekong is a highly recommended spot if you're taking R1290.
It is just 6.5 kms upstream from Chiang Khong, & a mere 7 minutes from my house.

A Mekong View from the View Coffee
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The View Coffee is here: Google Maps

Chiang Saen is generally the first stop, but sometimes I go up to Wat Phrathat Pha Ngao for a coffee and look at the Khong / Chiang Saen, Golden Triangle. On a clear day the view is stupendous

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Wat Phrathat Pha Ngao is here: Google Maps

Passing through & exiting Chiang Saen, ancient Wat Chedi Luang is on the left

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Wat Chedi Luang is here: Google Maps

and then a wee bit further along, on the other side of the road is the Chiang Saen city gate "Chao Por Pratu Pa SakChao Por Pratu Pa Sak"

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Just out of Chiang Saen, and off R1016 there are some other little lakes other than by the main Chiang Saen lake next to Ian's [bcolor=rgb(255, 255, 255)]Viang Yonok Resort.[/bcolor]

I discovered them by accident, looking for a nearby hill top temple, but first took a wrong turn & went past Wat Chua Ched Ton.

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The location is here: Google Maps

Finally on the right road I stumbled across this little beauty on the way to the nearby hill top temple.
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The location is here: Google Maps

And down the end of the road the hill top temple of Wat Phrathat Doi Ku Kaeo

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I would have stayed longer to get some nice view photos, but the welcome from the temple dogs could have been better.

Should you fancy challenging the canines, the location is here: Google Maps

Back on the winding back roads looking for a Birds Eye view I found a suitable resting place for the Vstrom's retirement.

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Location here: Google Maps

Continuing the search eventually my destination was reached : The Bird i View Cafe.
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Hanging out for a nice cuppa to sit, relax & enjoy the view I was warmly greeted by the very affable owner, who regretted to advise me that today was a "no electric day" - official power cut all day until 5PM, but if I wanted to hang out for an hour and a half they would most definitely be able to provide a refreshing cuppa. sadly I declined.

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On a power day the BIrd i View is worth a visit.

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The location here: Google Maps

To be continued.
 
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DavidFL

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Carrying on from the Bird I View I headed west towards Mae Chan. along R6035,
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The lovely rural back road hooks up with R4006, hook a left and 600 metres along on the left is Wat Phra That Chom Chan.

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The Google Maps Location: Google Maps

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The temple has a commanding over the rice fields & the surrounding area.
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Back onto the 4006 & it is 1.8 kms to R1016, turn left & 3.7 kms further on you're at the Mae Chan / Mae Sai / Chiang Saen road junction.

to be continued..
 

Eoin Christie

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The car park view looks good, too, with the Best of Birmingham sitting there.
Looks like a good day out, Ian.
 
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DavidFL

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From Mae Chan , the Panor Coffee is just a kilometre out of town.
A beauty of a Coffee Shop

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heading north then Choui Fong Tea was the next stop. A massive tea plantation hugely popular with Thais & tour operators.
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Their restaurant cafeteria is an incredible business that always leaves you somewhat stunned at the volume of people visiting the place.
For me today it was a super convenient toilet stop - a splash and a dash.

For some reason I missed the link up & back road to the Golden Horse temple & ended up back on the main road & so the main road to the Golden Horse temple.
The Golden Horse Temple - Wat Tham Pa A Cha Thom has featured on GTR a couple of times

Monks on Horseback - Ordination of Novices.

The Legend of the Golden Horse Temple

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No luck to catch up with the famous monk, but I did get a couple of Buddha images.
I note that the concrete car park is massive now & the place has definitely become a mega tourist attraction for Thai people now, such is the fame of Phra Khru Bah Neua Chai Kositto. It would be interesting to be at the temple for an early morning tak bat on a "Buddha. Phra Khru Bah Neua Chai Kositto is aging, but his followers continue to increase significantly.

Phra Khru Bah Neua Chai Kositto Facebook Page

The Golden Horse Temple Facebook page

The Golden Horse Temple on Google Maps.

Leaving the wat I found a winding rural back road that lead me out onto the highway, further north. Time to head home & 4 kms south I spotted a new Steak House on the highway.
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The Rasee Steak House & Bar
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intrigued I had to make a stop & check it out.
A big smart clean, premises with indoor & outdoor dining.
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Not really hungry, I settled for a light Salmon Caesar Salad & was suitably impressed...much more than adequate.
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If you're heading along R1 north of Mae Chan, going to /from Mae Sai & feel hungry, give this place a go. They deserve to succeed .

Rasee Steak House on Facebook

Rasee Steak House on Google Maps

and 2 hours later I was home by the Khong @ Chiang Khong.
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DavidFL

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Rai Chern Tawan is a massive Buddhist Meditation learning centre off R1020, 14 kms from the Chiang Rai super.

The centre was founded by a famous monk the Venerable Phra Maha Vudhijaya Vajiramedhi, who is also an official UNHCR Patrons for Peace and Compassion, in recognition of his efforts to promote peace and compassion towards refugees and humanitarian crises, as well as engaging others to support UNHCR work. He was granted this position on 15 November 2018.
A Patron is an honorary title given to those who support UNHCR and refugees by dedicating valuable time to disseminate information and knowledge. The role is to influence public opinion and change negative attitudes towards refugees and engage others to support the work of UNHCR.

Take R1020 out of Chiang Rai & turn right in Huai Sak & wind your way along R4064.

The road passes the Huai Sak dam, a popular local picnic spot.
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Entrance to Rai Chern Tawan is 4kms past the dam / lake.
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The garden is a sprawling complex that includes a Buddhist library, temple, a restaurant, coffee shop, art gallery.

I was impressed with the art gallery & statues scattered round the grounds.
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Acharn Duchanee from Ban Dam
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Some humour
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Rai Cherntawan Facebook
Google Maps Location: Google Maps
The Chern Tawan Meditation centre is on the 2020 GTR GT Map, grid 4E
 

DavidFL

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Chiang Rai Attractions - Cocoa Land - Huai Sak

Back on the highway R1021 from Rai Chern Tawan & 9 kms awy to the north-east on R1306 is Cocoa Land a new chocolate ranch & restaurant.

The entrance goes past young cocoa trees
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Official entrance to the Cocoa Land
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Check into the non-aircon restaurant
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& it can be hot out there with no big trees
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Some chocolate info
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The menu
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and I went for the White Chocolate Menthe.
Bloody refreshing it was too
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There's loads of outside seating
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There's a variety of different strength chocolates to try, but the tough old fellah went for the 100% chocolate, and boy does it have a kick.
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I shall return, once it cools off a bit & the countryside starts turning green
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there's more than enough go around

Some chocolate info for North Thailand

Google Maps Location
 
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DavidFL

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Phra Chao Kue Na Ancient Remains - Wiang Neua - Chiang Rung

Inspired by Ian Yonok's post Hammock camping - first trip

I had to find the ancient chedi that was enveloped by an old banyan tree.
And I wasn't disappointed.

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At the back in front of a sala nearby, there is an enormous old log & a boat carved from one piece of timber.
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check it out sometime if you're wandering around the area.
The Phra Chao Kue Na Ancient ruins are on the 2020 GTR Golden Triangle map Grid 3F
Golden Triangle Map

Google Maps Location:

If want to get the big picture where things are, take a look at the GTR GT map, as there are a few other attractions in that area that need further investigation.
 

DavidFL

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Mae Chan & a soak in the hot springs.
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The Pa Tueng Onsen
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Zero complaints for 100 baht an hour!
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Not too big & not too small. Just about right.

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Just a few kms down the road from Mae Chan.
Coming from Chiang Khong I stop off at the Mind Way Coffee for a cuppa with Ms Kai,
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then on the way home stop off at the magnificent Panor Coffee with a coldie as the sun goes down.

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If you're going east to west, consider over-nighting in Doi Mae Salong after you have had a nice hot soak in the tub.
 

DavidFL

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Wat Pa Yang Mon on R1232 situated just 2.5 kms east of the Chiang Rai super has an old history & Buddha, that I understand is related to the old city of Wiang Neua / Wat Phra Chao Kue Na, further downstream on the Kok.

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The monk here is an extremely interesting character, 98 years of age & has been a monk for 40 years
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Location: Google Maps
 
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DavidFL

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Wandering home to Chiang Khong from a rear shock swap in Chiang Rai...

Wat Sisak Pattana - Chiang Rung - Chiang Rai attractions
Is located 300 metres east of R1173, close to the R4013 junction & road to the Phra Chao Kue Na ruins
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Google Maps
 

Heineken

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I thought I would add this find to David's thread here...........................I am a bit like David as I enjoy riding by myself sometimes as you see alot more, plus I enjoy taking a photo or two, quite often stopping for a U turn to go back for a better look :)


I was riding up to Mae Sai area a few weeks ago when I saw a nice looking temple out in the back blocks, I turned around and went for a better look, this village was called Rim Kok (next to the Kok River) and the Temple is Wat Pang Muan......................I rode my bike into the premises and was made welcome by a monk, an elderly monk who could speak English with me, I said I wanted to take a few photos of the Wat and he said no problem.


Very well presented Wat.............................


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DavidFL

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I thought I would add this find to David's thread here...........................I am a bit like David as I enjoy riding by myself sometimes as you see alot more, plus I enjoy taking a photo or two, quite often stopping for a U turn to go back for a better look :)


I was riding up to Mae Sai area a few weeks ago when I saw a nice looking temple out in the back blocks, I turned around and went for a better look, this village was called Rim Kok (next to the Kok River) and the Temple is Wat Pang Muan......................I rode my bike into the premises and was made welcome by a monk, an elderly monk who could speak English with me, I said I wanted to take a few photos of the Wat and he said no problem.


Very well presented Wat.............................


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That's a "little" beauty eh.
The top North here is full of little gems everywhere.
I've got a couple more coming from today's thrash over to Chiang Rai & back for some rear brake pads..
Thanks for the contribution....keep em coming.
 

DavidFL

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Wat Pang Kha an ancient restored temple

I recently stumbled across some images of an old wat that was to be restored.
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I was keen to check it out & see the old murals
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Located on R1155, I didn't need much encouragement to head off for a ride, for the location was just a few kms south of the Phaya Phipak / Phu Chi Fah turn offs. And that's a super day trip from Chiang Khong for me.

Riding up the Phaya Phipak road R4018
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On top at the Phaya Phipak Viewpoint. The viewpoint sits on the ridge line & there are stupendous views both ways, to the East & to the West
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Then its down the Big Dipper
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You come to the T & turn right onto the magic of 1155
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Carry on south down R1155 to the funky Hug Pangka roadside coffee shop with a sweet view over the rice fields
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I almost got sidetracked here by some customers, but managed to drag myself away & carried on south.
Another 1.4 kms down the road is Pang Kha & the fantastic Lao U turn off.
If you don't know about the Lao U road, check out this baby
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The Lao U Road - Sensational, Excitement Plus.

Chiang Khong - The Great Roller Coaster Ride & Route

but there's no time for a run up to Lao U today: Wat Pang Kha it is!

Wat Pang Kha is hidden off the road R1155 & it took me a couple of attempts to get the right soi.
I rode into the temple compound & there she was
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restored beautifully. Obviously I was a bit late, bummer!

The resident monk was easy to find & was a bit taken back by the farang on the big bike asking in Thai to look at his old murals. But go & get the keys he did & I got to take a look inside.

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a beautiful Buddha image if it ever was, and some magnificent old teak posts
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But where were the murals?
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Oops nearly all gone.
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Perhaps it was too difficult to restore them, or not enough budget & it was easier just to plaster over them?
Speechless, I didn't know what to say. Stunned that it should happen. Why??
At least there were a few bits saved.

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At the entrance to the viharn, a headless Buddha.
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A brief chat with the monk revealed he was 64 & had been at the temple for 41 years.
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There's no doubt he had seen a lot in his life, but was serene and at peace now at his wat.

Next door on the same compound a big new flash viharn has been built
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So it would seem as if budget was not an issue for the restoration.
I wonder what the logic was?

Wat Pang Kha is located in Pang Kha village on R1155, at the turn off to Lao U.
Google Maps
 
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Ian Bungy

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In the pre restoration images there was a lot of Broken and cracked Bricks so I guess to them it was easier? And would of been to hard to restore the Murals and then they wouldn't be original anyway? But You are right, one would think they could of saved a bit more of the murals than they did? But Wonders never cease in Thailand? Still an Impressive Temple in a relatively remote area so doubt they would get many visitors through there?
 

Jurgen

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Great wealth of information :) and incentives for visits. I will definitively schedule a long overdue trip to Rai Chern Tawan. Thank you for your constant efforts to update the interesting places in the North.
 

DavidFL

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Khun Sa the famous Shan Opium Warlord / Shan freedom fighter once reigned in the Golden Triangle & had a million dollar reward out for his capture.
He was once based in Thoed Thai, north-east of Doi Mae Salong, where there now is a museum at his old HQ.
Khun Sa – Opium Warlord
In 1982 the Thai army attacked Thoed Thai & forced Khun Sa out & back over the border into Myanmar.
Not to be outdone, he popped up again & set up camp on Doi Larng, N-W of Mae Ai.
He engaged in several altercations with the Thais here & once robbed the bank in Mae Ai for revenge, after one of his big heroin shipments was busted in Chonburi.
The Wa then started to muscle in for control of the area, so Khun Sa retreated to set up camp out of Mae Hong Son at Hmong, north from Rak Thai.
Khun Sa died in Yangon in 2007 & there was a memorial service for him in Thoed Thai on 8 November 2007, for which GTR had the priviledge to attend.
Prince of Death Road Trip-Khun Sa Memorial

Several years later his old camp at Doi Larng is now easily accessible from R1314 at Pang Ton Dua.
Inspired by Rod Page’s report on GTR
ON THE TRAIL OF A MULE - A Drug Run Through The Golden Triangle.
I’d looked for his old camp & the white chedi on Doi Larng several times before, but never quite located it or the access road …….until a few days ago.

Woo-Hoo

The road & track in you need to find
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I wasn't sure about tackling this & perhaps getting stuck on a steep rutted track & not being able to turn the Vstrom around without dropping it.
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I recently got caught trying to find my way up to a wat on a bloody steep concrete track when I rounded the corner & was confronted by deep ruts. Not able to turn the bike around, I had to reverse back down the gravel covered concrete tracks for a few hundreds metres. Now I always stop & take a careful look first, so as not to get caught out.

And so it was....we took the steps!
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Steve from Tha Ton was my riding & hiking buddy for the day.

From whence we came
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It actually doesn't take too long & we both surprised ourselves.
On arrival at the top there's a small wat & a sleeping monk.
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I woke the monk & endeavoured to get some info but there was a communication issue, to I suggested he go back to sleep and forget about the two silly farang.

The white chedi, (built by Khun Sa?)
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To the left of the chedi, a big bunker
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inside the the metal door is padlocked.

There are trenches & smaller bunkers on the hilltop
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Feeling successful hiking up the steps & full of renewed courage we bravely walked back, down the concrete tracks, rather than the steps.
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and the verdict was we should have ridden up, so we did!

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Thanks to the spirits for looking after us.
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Finding the chedi & the bunkers has been one of the highlights of my time in the North Thailand, as it has long been a missing chapter for me in the Khun Sa story. It goes perfectly with Thoed Thai & I reckon you can't claim to have ridden North Thailand & done both- Thoed Thai & the White Doi Larng Chedi, Wat Phrathat Wiang Doi Larng.
Google Maps

You could spend all day up here on Doi Larng.
R1314 is booming with coffee shops & home stays popping up all along the way.

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Google Maps

I reckon I may aim to stay here next trip
Google Maps

or here
Google Maps

More R1314 & Doi Laem / Larng on GTR

Caution: Very Steep/Dangerous Road Collapse/ Restricted Area Dangerous Road

Fang & Back - A Fang Meander

The Doi Laem Loop.
 
Last edited:

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,533
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Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Researching for a posible GTR Dinner in the quiet of Ngao city at the top end of R1154 & Wat Pong Khok was a beauty to discover

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And if anyone would like to turn up a history of Ngao please do.
I can't find anything of substance at all.

Wat Pang Khok
 

Steve Merchant

Ol'Timer
Dec 11, 2009
71
55
18
Living to the east of Tha Ton there are only 3 roads for me to ride out the village on. The shopping route, west to Mae Ai and Fang, the southern mountain route to Wawi and Mae Suai and the eastern route over the hills and out to Mae Salong or Mae Chan.
I use all of them often and thought I was pretty clued up as to what's on the routes I travel.
Hence on my return from Chiang Rai this morning to Mae Chan and the climb through the hilltribe villages it was some surprise to suddenly catch sight of a gold topped chedi and a number of rooftops surrounding it off the left side of the highway.
P_20210108_094544_HDR.jpg

Being in no rush I U-turned and headed up the small lane for a quick look. I was stunned to find a large temple complex with several buildings in a very gaudy, decorative style with a big construction project under way to finish work on a mostly bare chedi.
P_20210108_093654.jpg

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Quite why a place of this size is located is such a quite country location I can not understand but someone must be investing a tidy sum for the completion of an interesting site whatever its for.
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I saw no monks anywhere just a bunch of builders. Its well worth a stop to see the unusual style and I would welcome an answer to my puzzle as to why.

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Its only about 5 kms off the Highway 1 so only a short detour if you happen to be passing Mae Chan. Google maps even have the temples difficult name if you zoom in enough, Wat Mueng Mun Bun Rueng Khiri. Google Maps
 
Last edited by a moderator:

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,533
2,964
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Living to the east of Tha Ton there are only 3 roads for me to ride out the village on. The shopping route, west to Mae Ai and Fang, the southern mountain route to Wawi and Mae Suai and the eastern route over the hills and out to Mae Salong or Mae Chan.
I use all of them often and thought I was pretty clued up as to what's on the routes I travel.
Hence on my return from Chiang Rai this morning to Mae Chan and the climb through the hilltribe villages it was some surprise to suddenly catch sight of a gold topped chedi and a number of rooftops surrounding it off the left side of the highway.
View attachment 138934
Being in no rush I U-turned and headed up the small lane for a quick look. I was stunned to find a large temple complex with several buildings in a very gaudy, decorative style with a big construction project under way to finish work on a mostly bare chedi.
View attachment 138932
View attachment 138937
Quite why a place of this size is located is such a quite country location I can not understand but someone must be investing a tidy sum for the completion of an interesting site whatever its for.
View attachment 138933

View attachment 138936

I saw no monks anywhere just a bunch of builders. Its well worth a stop to see the unusual style and I would welcome an answer to my puzzle as to why.

View attachment 138935

Its only about 5 kms off the Highway 1 so only a short detour if you happen to be passing Mae Chan. Google maps even have the temples difficult name if you zoom in enough, Wat Mueng Mun Bun Rueng Khiri. Google Maps

Yeah I've looked at that one from a far a few times too.
I reckon the boss at Panor Coffee will know.
Her family is from just up the road at PaTueng.
I must remember & ask her sometime. Her family is very wealthy & connected with the #1 hardware / construction supplies biz on 1089.
Thanks for the post.