Friday 17 February 2012

Riding on Borders - Day One

View Map For Day One

We decided a long time ago that we would use motorbikes as much as possible to travel, especially to the more remote places. I have always liked riding motorbikes, since growing up on a farm where I had my own bike to ride around. There is a much greater sense of your environment when you are riding, compared to a driving a car. It is not hard to understand why when you feel the chill of the air as you enter a valley, or the heat beating off the plains. You can smell the scent of flowers, and the whiff of animals that didn't quite make it across the road. Basically you have more senses interacting with your surroundings. Plus people seem to be friendlier towards you when you are on a bike.

Chiang Mai is a great launching pad for a big road trip. There is lots to see in the city itself, some great maps are available and there are bike rental shops aplenty, so you can pick up any type of bike that you need, from 100cc step through scooters, to 250cc dirt bikes, to even 900cc road bikes. It took a couple of rental stores to find our perfect bike, in this case a Honda Dream 125. We rented it for 6 days and picked up a map of the area we intended to travel to. Next problem was luggage. We couldn't carry all our gear, not even a quarter of it. We had to pack very light and it had to all fit into a 24 litre daypack.

Originally we planned to do a 500km loop to Chiang Rai with rough goals for each night but nothing booked. Heading east to start, the plan was to simply ride. If we saw something nice, we would stop, and ride for as long as our bottoms could handle it. We took an e-travel bible with us, i.e. Lonely Planet on Kindle, in-case there was something off the road that was worth looking at.

Breakfast at Early Bird B&B - Chiang Mai

After running around all morning getting everything together and the all-important breakfast of pork in noodle soup with pork crackling (nothing like a bit of crispy fat to kickstart the day), we headed off with the wind in our hair, and bugs in our mouths. Making our way out of the city was surprisingly easy. The formula was: stick to the left and let the cars go past. I found keeping my speed the same as the other motorbikes was the safest way to ride. It wasn't long before we were out of the city limits and the roads began to turn windy. Leaning over into the corners and powering out is great fun even if you only have a little 125. We rarely stopped on the first day, but there wasn't really much to see or eat, well nothing I was going to eat ...

What's for lunch? - Golden Triangle Loop

We decided to spend the night at Phayao town, allegedly the capital of Phayao Province, but you would never be able to tell its status from the vibes. It was a very laid back town on the west side of Phayao lake, which holds a submerged temple beneath its surface.

Fisherman - Lake Phayao

We thought it was a nice enough place, but we were dog-tired and didn’t get to check out the bars that had live bands etc. We settled for a good night's sleep instead.

1 comment:

  1. Totally would have dug in to the rat, what? it cooked!