Mae Sai to Chiang Saen (45 km)

Today took us past the golden triangle. This is a very historic area. It was one of the largest opium growing regions in the past. Afghanistan is now the leading grower.  India use to be a large grower and England (who colonized India) sold opium to China in trade for. Silk and spices. According to the museum we went through, 1 in 30 Chinese were addicted to Opium. This led to the first Opium war (1839-42) between China and England. The end result was that England was granted Hong Kong and held it for 155 years. The second Opium war (1856-60) was the start of modern China .

Opium was used in a lot of strange ways. They even gave it to elephants to calm them down. Last time we met an ex-CIA person who was now living at the Thai/Laos border...

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Pa Tueng to Mae Sai (60 km)

We decided to bypass the highway and bike an extra 15 km to see the countryside. First up was a hot spring where the initial water is too hot to touch. 

People boil eggs in this part

I could barely put my feet in this section, quite far from the source. 

Feels good on the sore feet

Next Up was some time spent in the rice fields. There is a brief video below. 

          Working the rice fields

Thailand produces lots of rice but Only a fraction of what China grows. 

          Global rice growth chart

It is quite easy to pass a rice field and forget just how much work there is to grow and harvest rice. Below is a link to how this happens in rural Laos. They often times don’t have tractors to use. 

          Steps to grow and harvest rice

Next we arrived in Mae Sai...

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Tha Ton to Pa Tueng (50 km)

As you saw in our Tha Ton post, we had a lovely view of the Kok River and watched the taxi boats leave for Chaing Rai. It looked quite peaceful and sane. Plan A was to do this or Plan B was to ride towards Mae Sai. Plan B would take us up another mountain and would give us the view to more hill tribes and include a lively Hill Tribe market. 

Of course we took the mountain ride. Why pick the easy way. Haha

At the market

More market

All different Hill Tribes

Below is a little video about the market. 

          Hill Tribe market video

Now, about the dogs in Thailand. There are 100’s and most are not on leashes. Some driveways have 4 or 5 dogs. I love dogs but hate the fact that some want to attack you on he bike and some on Thailand have rabies...

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Chai Prakan To Tha Ton (55 km)

This was a lovely downhill ride.   We stopped along the way and enjoyed the trip. Lots of temples, small villages and rice farms. 

Kids playing soccer on an island on the Kok river

Here is a brief video of fishing in the Kok river.   

       Fishing the KoK River

There is a 9 stop high up a large hill to various temples. It appeared to be a pilgrimage for many Buddists. They Re struggling to retain the young monks and many of them can be seen in the 7/11 convenience store or the cell phone stores. 

A novice Monk

Tha Ton is a lovely sleepy town where one road leads towards the golden triangle and the river flows to Chaing Rai. Tomorrow we will have to decide if we wish a 3 hour boat ride to Chaing Rai Or a 50km ride through the mountains, that passes through many Hill Tribes. 


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Chaing Dao to Chai Prakan (60 km)

We climbed another mountain today (all on highway 107). It was very doable and we enjoyed the views. As always the best views cost the most energy to get to. It is just the way it is. 

There are a lot of dogs in Thailand. There are pets, strays and packs. We will update a blog later on dog strategy in Thailand. You have to have one to survive. It is worse than the ride out to Douro on the back roads. 

We met Johnathon. We believe he is fm France and decided riding the mini vp buses was not for him. He bought a bike on a whim and is now starting a cycle tour. 

Below is his spanking new bike, not a scratch o dent on it. All new panniers and a new found spirit for cycle touring. 

Jonathan’s new bike

We spent about an hour and discussed various route for him to follow...

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Chaing Mai to Chaing Dao (80 km)

Well we were back on the bikes today and it felt good. We left before 7am and beat the traffic. It was smooth sailing out of Chaing Mai. We basically got on the hwy 1001 for a few hours and than joined the busy hwy 107 into Chaing Dao. 

We came across this road sign. 


We were ready by none showed up


We came across a magical little town just before joining up to why 107. 

          Ride in Northern Thailand


A large Buddha


Bye for now.  


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End of our first stage – A few days in Chiang Mai

We completed the first leg of our Trip from Nakhon Sawan to Chiang Mai. This was 535 km riding north through Thailand. 

The last time we only rode a few days in Thailand and had a few issues. We didn’t expect much from this leg of our trip but we’re pleasantly surprised. The people were very warm and we were encouraged all along the way. We saw almost no tourists until we reached the outskirts of Chiang Mai. 

The roads were in excellent shape. A few very busy spots and some good shoulders most of the way. Accomodations were great and food/water were accessible. We averaged about $68 per day, including Internet access and all other expenses. 

Chiang Mai use to be a walled city with a moat around it. Remnants of this still exist and the old city is defined by these...

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Ban Hong to Chiang Mai (75 km)

It was a 75 km day. The rain appears to be behind us. 

Ready to go

Along the way, we stopped at a significant temple in Lanphun.

Lanphun Temple

The traffic picked up the closer we got to Chiang Mai (population 1,000,000).  

Below is a little video of our ride into Chiang Mai. 

          Ride into Chiang Mai

The city is in a bowl and in February and March when the field burns are on, the pollution is unbearable. 

The whole area is surrounded by Hill tribes. Below is a link to a summary of the tribes.  Thailand has not been colonized and appear to have not done the residential school approach and some of the hill tribes have kept some of their traditions. 

          Article on the Hill Tribes

Bye for now.

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Li to Ban Hong (65 km)

We started out expecting a 55 km day (several blogs suggested that).  It ended up being 65 km of mostly rolling hills. Very doable.

Just when we needed it, a specialty coffee shop appeared and we had all of this for $5.   


Latte Surprise

 A little latte video.   Enjoying a Latte


Every few Km’s there is another temple. We quickly realized that when people honk (cars or motor cycles) they are honking in respect to the temple and not saying hello to us. 




Bye for now.



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Thoen to Li (55 km)

It was a rainy day in Pizzaville. The first 13 km were relatively flat and then we went into a 17 km ascent. It was a beautiful ride up the mountain. The grade was acceptable with only a few small sections with a difficult pitch. 

There was little wind and the rain kept the heat down. Still a lot of energy climbing. Below is a link to a little video of our mountain climb. 

          Our first ascent 

There were temples along the ascent and decent. Below is a photo of a mini temple where people offered up drinks and even party dresses to Buddha. 

Buddha offering

On the way into Li we stopped at an Outdoor resteraunt (the one in the video) and we were offered a free noodle meal with ice cream desert. They were celebrating the students on this day...

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