"Learn from the past, prepare for the future, and perform in the moment..." - Mike Van Hoozer
KEMBARA QURBAN 2
DAY 10 (20 OCT 2013 – SUNDAY)
PAI – MAE HONG SON – MAE SARIANG
DISTANCE : 400KM
We woke up early to the cool fresh air of Pai, which is situated in northern Thailand, near the Myanmar border. It is about 80 km north of Chiang Mai on the northern route to Mae Hong Son. It lies along the Pai River. Further outside of town, there are several waterfalls and a number of natural hot springs. As Pai lies at the foot of the mountains, many tourists use it as a base for trekking and visiting hill tribes like Karen, Hmong, Lisu and Lahu. Pai has music festivals regularly as well as staging an International Enduro Championship.
|(A sticker for the Vulcan)|
|(Small cozy chalets)|
|(Ready for the challenging ride to 1000 corners)|
|(Wearing souvenir t-shirts of Pai)|
|(All packed and ready to roll)|
|(A group photo in Pai)|
This morning the gang helped to tighten the throttle of the Vulcan. We first noticed that something was wrong with the throttle when we were riding the sharp corners last night and the fuel throttle would not let go even after released.
|(A lot of help from the GPS)|
|(Tuan Shawal giving instructions)|
|(One of the souvenir t-shirts)|
|(Colorful care-free life of Pai)|
After having breakfast of bread with tuna chili and a hot mug of Nescafe, we started packing and braced ourselves for today’s ride. It was going to be the highlight of our kembara as we will be riding the 1864 curves of the ‘Thousand Corners’ of Mae Hong Son.
|(The Memorial Bridge over the Pai River)|
|(Memorable photo shot @ Memorial Bridge)|
|(Waiting for the others...)|
|(Cute boutique hillside coffee house)|
At first we started riding towards Mae Hong Son through the same route that we came last night but half way we stopped and turned back to Pai as we realized that it was not the correct route. Some who rode ahead need to be chased to bring them back. While waiting for the rest of the gang to be rounded up, we had some refreshment at the Memorial Bridge and had time to purchase some souvenirs. We rerouted and refueled before we rode the correct route to the ‘Thousand Corners’.
|(Riding the undulating road into the mountain)|
|(The Vulcan taking the curves cautiously)|
|(Reaching the highest point of the mountain ranges)|
|(It was too foggy for photo taking)|
|(The fog slowly clearing in the valley)|
|(It was still foggy on the mountain top)|
|(The universal sign of a long and winding road)|
|(Miles and miles of paddy fields)|
|(Bad condition road, worsen by rain)|
|(Vegetables and fruit stalls by the road side)|
The weather was good for riding, cloudy here and there with intermittent drizzle. The bikers had their fun to 'layan corners'. But it was really challenging for our Vulcan as we had to be careful because of the slippery road as well as the sharp sudden switch-back and hair-pin corners. Today we felt elated to reach the highest point of Thailand mountain ranges.
|(Panoramic view of the mountains)|
|(Excited to complete half the journey)|
|(Souvenir stalls selling scarves and honey)|
|(Baked sweet potatoes and corns)|
|(Still wearing raincoats on a sunny day)|
|(Feeling satisfied, after finishing a cob of corn)|
We stopped half way for toilet break and rest at the R&R area on top of the mountain where the scenery was beautiful and panoramic. We took some photo shots while eating grilled corn and baked sweet potatoes.
|(The journey down hill was as challenging)|
|(The Vulcan rested a while after brake failure)|
|(Happy to see the finishing line, at last)|
|(Feeling elated, proud and happy)|
While the rest of the gang made their way down hill, we took our time slowly and steadily as we know the gang will wait for us once they had completed. We were unlucky during the journey down hill when our front brake failed suddenly. We did not panic and stopped to test the brake. And after a short cool-down we continued riding. With the help of engine and rear breaking, we rode slowly and finally completed the ‘Thousand Corners’.
|(Entering Mae Hong Son town center)|
|(Chamber of Commerce office)|
|(Fooling around while waiting for their certificates)|
|(The certificate for both the rider and the pillion)|
We were half an hour behind the rest but what a relief not only to us but also to the whole gang as they were anxious and concerned about the Vulcan and us too. After a short rest, we proudly rode to Mae Hong Son town and went to the Chamber of Commerce office at Tourism Coordination Center to claim our much coveted certificates.
|(Riding out of Mae Hong Son, late afternoon)|
Mae Hong Son is also known as The City of Three Mists as it is the most mountainous province in Thailand. It is virtually covered with mist throughout the year. It is nestled in a deep valley hemmed in by the high mountain ranges of the Shan Hills, Mae Hong Son has long been isolated from the outside world. Today, Mae Hong Son is a dream destination for tourists, attracted by the natural scenery, numerous hill-tribe communities and soft adventure opportunities, especially for bikers.
|(The rain had stopped, the road still wet and slippery)|
|(Riding during dusk on wet road)|
We took a short rest and after we performed our prayers, we rode the winding road towards Mae Sot but decided to stay the night at Mae Sariang instead. It was already late at night and the road may be dangerous as it was raining heavily.
|(Tired happy bikers waiting for a sumptuous dinner)|
We went for a hearty tom yam dinner before we checked in the Eakaluk Hotel.