This is part 2 of my motorcycle journey through northern Thailand. Part 1 is here.
It wasn’t so much the taste of the noodle soup that put me off, but the colour. It was a pinky brown coloured broth which I suspect was made from blood. I’m no fan of blood in my soups and I only finished half before hitting the road. Today we were heading for some temples on a mountain and Chae Son National Park.
From Phayao there are basically two ways to get to Chae Son National Park. The first way was to backtrack for about 60km of the previous day’s ride up through the mountains. Whilst the road was great and the views magnificent, I’m not one for backtracking. So we decided to take the scenic route across the mountains as seen on google maps. As usual it turned out the be a good decision and a bad decision. The good part was that it was a totally remote part of the country with steep mountains and pristine valleys and the odd village. The bad part was that the road was dirt for about 50km.
The dirt started as it always does just after a random farming village. Up until this point it was concrete and there was the hope that it would be concrete the whole way. But we’ve done enough of these trips to know that if you go too remote, the road just stops. Last year in Mae Hong Son was truly terrifying as we spent 5 hours in the jungle on a foot track with a motorbike and we had to cross many rivers, climb inummerable muddy tracks and basically beat a path to the next town. The hope was that this time would be different. And it was.
While the road was dirt, contained lots of incredibly steep hills and generally made the entire journey slow, it was manageable. I had no fear the motorbike was going to break down, run out of fuel or fail to get up some of the hills. Last year in Mae Hong Son I truly feared the bike was going to break, I almost ran out fuel and there so many dirt hills that the bike couldn’t physically get up with 2 people on board. Even with 1 person it struggled.
After a few hours in the jungle this time we came out into a village with a nice concrete road and a petrol station. I filled the front tyre with air as I had thought it was deflating, but perhaps it had always been that way — I’d just never noticed it. We promptly grabbed lunch at a random restaurant and set about finding a place to stay in or near Chae Son National Park.
We ended up getting a room at a random flop house on the side of the road on the mountain road on the way to the national park, route 1252. While the room was basic, it wasn’t bad. But if we had known what we know now, we would have rented a bungalow in Chae Son National Park itself. The National Park is fully equipped with a decent restaurant, lots of space for camping and some bungalows.
Distance travelled: 132km with about 50km of dirt.
7-11 toasted croissants consumed: 1
Adorable kittens encountered: 1
If you liked part 2, check out part 3 here!