Montag, 26 November 2018 12:38

Chiang Mai and surroundings

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We left Chiang Rai by bicycle and enjoyed the flat and easy roads to Chiang Mai. The first days in Chiang Mai, we spent in a meditation centre next to Doi Suthep Temple. It meant three and a half days of getting up at 5 am, listening to a monk teaching about Buddhism, having the last meal of the day at 11 am and meditate for all the rest of the time. There was no internet, music, writing or talking during our stay. It was a very interesting experience and we learned a lot. Jonas really got into it and he wants to keep on meditatiting afterwards. 

For the next six days we decided to do a scooter ride up in the mountains to Pai and Mae Hong Son. We left our bikes in Chiang Mai, pamper them with a check up in a cycle touring service station (Triple Cat Cycles) after almost 20.000 km. The scenery we rode through was amazing, super hilly, but nice to enjoy with an engine instead of just our legs to move us. We spent a few days in Pai, enjoying the night market, played some pool and had some drinks in the evenings. We also did a hike to Hua Chang Waterfall, where we ended up hiking through the jungle barefoot as we had to cross so many rivers. It was a really cool track and we had the place just to ourselves. 

Our next stop was Pang Ung Lake. A small lake with mainly local tourist in a small village close to the border of Myanmar. It was cute and definitely something totally different, even thought there wasn't that much to do or see. On our way to get there we met Adam and Lu, two British cyclists who are on their way back home to the UK. We talked for over an hour on the side of the road and planed to meet up again in Chiang Mai.

Mae Hong Son, our next stop, was more touristy again, but still not too bad. We spend a relaxed afternoon sitting around the lake and listening to an audio book. In the evening they had a great night market, directly at the lakeside. We found quite some new food to try and had a good time.

We didn't really have a plan for the next stop, it was just the last one before getting back to Chiang Mai. We found a cheap camping accommodation with really good reviews (Fuang Fah Camping) close to the city of Mae Chaem. After a long day on our scooter and exploring waterfalls, we found ourselves on a small and steep dirt road that led out of town and to our accommodation. As we arrived at the campsite, we had an amazing view and were warmly welcomed with some shots of local whiskey as well as from eight little puppies - so cute! The owner took us to the market and we had a nice chat and got pork for a BBQ as well as more whiskey :D. The evening was amazing, we were five guest, so a puppy for everyone, sitting under the starts enjoying a Thai BBQ and having a good time. 

The next morning we left and visited the highest peak of Thailand, Doi Inthanon. We had an amazing view from above the clouds in the valley with the mountains sticking out. On our way back to our host Bill in Chiang Mai, we stopped at a couple more waterfalls and were happy to get off the motorbike once we were back.

One thing we did not experience up until then were elephants which there are many to visit in Thailand and I really wanted to see them. I did not need a whole day tour with fancy bathing and hiking with the elephants, I just wanted to get close to them. Bill recommended to go to Chai Lai Orchid, a little resort outside of Chiang Mai where we could feed the elephants, pet them and just watch them. We had a great time.

As a big finale of our South East Asian chapter, we were lucky that just a few days later the famous lantern festival in Chiang Mai would start. The Chiang Mai Yee Peng Festival is celebrated annually on the evening of the full moon of the second month of the Lanna lunar calendar, usually in November. We met Adam and Lu again (the two British cyclists) and enjoyed this stunning festival with all those lanterns in the sky. If anybody is wondering, you don't need a ticket, there are so many lanterns being sent up in the sky just from a bridge in town, it was beautiful.

The next day we took the train back to Bangkok to get on our hopefully last plane with all our panniers and bikes. We will fly to Hong Kong and while we leave the bikes there to wait for winter to pass by, we will go back to Australia and enjoy Christmas and New Years with our Aussie family. In March we will be back in Hong Kong ready and motivated for the long stretch of cycling back to Germany.

 

South East Asia was a great and adventurous chapter, the opposite of Australia and a challenge of new languages, cultures and climates. 

All the best from Bangkok,

Cheers,

Jonas and Vroni

 

Read 579 times Last modified on Montag, 26 November 2018 12:48

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