"Most of us are just about as happy as we make up our minds to be..." - Abraham Lincoln
KEMBARA QURBAN 2
DAY 9 (19 OCT 2013 – SATURDAY)
CHIANG SAEN - MAE SAI – FANG - PAI
DISTANCE : 404KM
We woke up fresh and packed our things separating the wet clothes from the dry ones. Some managed to wash their dirty bikes but there was a shortage of water and some did not even have water in the room to take their shower. Luckily the resort has reserve water tanks so some had to carry pails of water to their rooms.
(A cozy resort near Myanmar border)
(Cleaning dirt and mud...)
We had breakfast in the room with the left over bread and tuna. While waiting for others to get ready we tried to clean up whatever mud and dirt that got stuck to our bike.
(Drier road but still slippery...)
(Riding on the main road to Mae Sai)
(A huge Pagoda, one of the attractions at the Golden Triangle)
This morning the weather was a little better and the rain had stopped completely leaving the road a bit drier. The ride was smooth with nice scenery along the way to the Golden Triangle where we stopped for a while for photo shots.
(Capturing historical snap shot with the gang)
(Joyful faces celebrating the moment)
(De Javu again!)
(Hj Din and Yati with Laos on the background)
The Golden Triangle is in Chiang Rai Province, in the far north of Thailand. This is where the Mekong River meets the Ruak River. Historically the Golden Triangle has been an area well-known for the growing of opium. These days, the place has undoubtedly become the largest tourist attraction in northern Thailand.
(We are here, overlooking Myanmar and Laos))
(Convergence of rivers dividing the 3 nations)
The landscape is hilly, divided by the Ruak River that flows into the Mekong River. These rivers form a natural boundary between the three countries Laos (to the east of the Mekong), Myanmar (to the north of the Ruak), and Thailand (to the west of the Mekong). There are monuments erected by the riverside to attract tourists. There is a giant golden Buddha on a ship, elephant statues and elaborate shrines to the royal family. There are many river cruise tour operators, souvenir shops and Western-style cafes along the main road.
(On the road to the Myanmar border)
(Roman soldiers decorating the fence)
We continued riding on Highway 1290 towards Mae Sai where the road condition was good. Once we reached Mae Sai we headed towards the Thailand/Myanmar border and had some photo shots. Later we had a heavy brunch of nasi goreng and soup at one of the Muslim Restaurant and bought a few loaves of sweet bread from the bakery next door.
(Immigration Complex in Mae Sai)
(Stop for photo shots only...)
(One for the album)
(Lunch break at one of the Muslim restaurants)
Mae Sai is the northernmost district of Chiang Rai Province in northern Thailand. The town of Mae Sai is a major border crossing between Thailand and Myanmar on the AH2 crosses the Mae Sai River to the town Tachileik in Burma. One-day passes for non-Burmese nationals crossing into Burma are issued at Burma customs in Tachileik. Passports are held by the Immigration Office and a temporary travel permit is issued. The permit is exchanged for the traveler's passport upon crossing back into Thailand.
(Taking a short cut route to Fang)
(Had to dismount for the Vulcan to climb the steep road)
We continued riding in the drizzle on a smaller road passing through small villages and paddy fields. It was an alternative short cut route and at times we had to climb steep roads and need to be extra careful as the road was slippery because of rain. At some places we saw the river bank was flooded because of the heavy downpour.
(A slight drizzle and slippery road)
(Riding slowly and cautiously...)
We later took the road parallel to the river and at certain parts had to ride through unfinished, unpaved road. The Vulcan was not really fit for such road as the body is low and several times we need to dismount and pushed the bike to avoid the body being scraped and damaged.
(Off-roading for a short distance...)
(Upgrading of rural road in progress)
(Happy to be on a better paved road)
We exited the short-cut route and entered Fang to refuel. From here on we rode the mountainous winding road of 762 curves with Chon, Zali and Taufik accompanying us all the way as the Vulcan was riding extra slow in the rain. It was late afternoon and raining very heavily when we stopped to have hot coffee and baked banana.
(The rain had stopped, the road drier...)
(Dark sky looming in the horizon...)
(Arriving in the town of Fang for refueling)
(Onward journey on a better road condition...)
(Winding road and still climbing...)
(Heavy downpour on the mountain road...)
(A much needed break, drenched wet...)
(Hot baked banana and steaming Nescafe...)
We continued riding the not so good road, many places full of potholes. The sharp curves of the mountainous road and poor visibility at night and the heavy rain made the ride slower for us. We reached Pai early at night, safe and sound. A small achievement for some but a triumph for the two of us considering us riding on an easy rider.
(Riding the mountainous road to Pai)
(Miles of undulating straight road)
(Thick fog on mountain top)
(Beware of on-coming vehicles...)
(Riding on the highway to Pai)
Pai is a cool resort town well-known for its relaxed atmosphere. The town is full of cheap guesthouses, souvenir shops and restaurants.We checked in a Baankanoon Resort Hotel late and someone bought dinner as everyone was too tired and wet to go out.
(Driving cautiously at night...)
(A beautiful full moon behind a cloudy sky...)
(Today we completed 762 corners... Yeay!)
Dinner was roti nan and duck curry from a nearby restaurant.