Chiang Dao – Karens tribe – Ban Yang (factory) – Doi Anghhang – Ban Tha Ton, or New Year in Thailand (Mae Hong Son loop, the north of Thailand)
Русская версия We are continuing to tell the story about the sights of northern Thailand accessible by bike along Mae Hong Son Loop. After visiting Pai and getting into the bike accident, we headed towards Chiang Rai. On the way, as it turned out, there were a lot of things to see.
In the morning, we started from Chiang Dao and turned away from out route to see the village of Karens tribe. You might remember that Karen tribe is also called the long-neck tribe, they as if wear rings on their necks and joints, which makes their necks and joints longer than usual people have. Yet, this whole story is a tourist fairy-tale: Karens are brought from Burma by local businessmen who then put rings on Karens and settle them in the zoo-type villages: tourists pay to visit them.
However, we entered a really authentic village with no entrance fees and no Karens wearing rings. The village did not have the female giraffes (that is how the tribe is also advertised for tourists), but it was much more interesting to simply ramble around and follow these people’s everyday life. This ethnographic experience was much better than that of visiting the tourist Karens village. You may reach the village we are praising so much following the coordinates 19.35680, 99.01766.
After visiting the village, we headed towards Tha Ton by the main road to see another village at the Burmese border on Doi Anghhang hills.
The village of Ban Yang has a king’s agricultural factory and agricultural museum Fang in it. We have already written about the cult of king in Thailand, and the factory was another example of it: the village had as if been dying, but then the king came and saved the village with his innovative ideas.
At the factory, there is a tourist shop with crazy prices.
However, the plantations on the way from the factory to the hills are much more interesting.
Doi Anghhang hills.
Then, the merry ride turns into not very easy and sometimes very steep road. In our case, the road was also complicated due to the great number of cars. As it turned out, everyone wanted to celebrate New Year outdoors. It was crazy in some camping sites: people were like multiple ants in a small piece of land; parking there was also almost impossible. In the end, we reached the village Ban Kob Dong which has an observation point with great views and many local kids who offer to buy all kinds of things.
We turned back to make sure that we reach some hostel by night. As usually, we did not manage. The road down was crazy. It was so steep that the breaks were not obeying. We did not want to make any video after our last accident, although later we regretted. At the steepest slopes with 180 degree turns, there were volunteers informing of the cars ahead. Also, in some places there were policemen who stopped unexperienced drivers. They also stopped us pointing at the red-hot brakes. At first, we did not understand what they wanted saying “your bags”. But then another policeman came and said clearly “your brakes”. We laughed and took a picture together to enlarge our collection.
The road was difficult for quite some time, but then we finally reached the plantations and the road became much easier.
Ban Tha Ton.
Yet, it became dark very soon and it was not easy to reach our final destination for that day, Ban Tha Ton. After looking at a couple of hostels, we got a New Year present (that was the 31st of December): we found an absolutely new hostel with a price of 300 baht (coordinates 20.05217 99.35829). It was newly renovated, even some furniture were still in plastic.
There are many places to eat in town too. We tried the one a bit further from the center watching the New Year Thai boxing with the locals. Then, we walked around the town.
We returned to our hostel and celebrated New Year at the balcony. By the way, never buy beer for 38 baht. No matter how much the local shop attendants tried to persuade us that it was good, we had to pour it away after taking a picture. It tasted like a mixture of champagne and beer.
Religion in Thailand.
The next day we headed to the final destination of our Mae Hong Son loop – Chiang Rai, and it was already in the morning that we had a lot of adventures. At first, on the way, we got into some religious celebration. Many people, musical instruments, processions – an interesting place for taking pictures. You may get photos of different tribes without going to their villages.
Yet, after the celebration we found out that our bike wheel was drained. It was cut. We did not know what to do and asked the policemen looking after the festival. They could not explain where to fix the wheel, but by their faces we understood that we should not continue driving. We decided to go back to Ban Tha Ton, but on the way, we saw the motorcycle shop with bike service of vulcanization. The vulcanization was very unusual: without warning us, they cut the wheel even deeper. After initial shock Victor started to make video of some glue put into the wheel, then pumping the wheel, and then cutting what was left, not till the end though. They stuck the tail left to the rubber and showed a thumb: ready!
Not being able to believe into such technologies, Victor asked for several times how long it would last. He did not receive any answer, and, after paying 100 baht, we started to drive watching the tail all the time. It served us for three more days we were driving this rented bike before returning it. Nobody noticed the problems with the wheel or the scratches from the accident when we were returning the bike.
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Extended MAE HONG SON LOOP (Thailand). 1400 km by bike: detailed description and tips
One of the main attractions in the Northern Thailand is a motorcycling Mae Hong Son Loop. The road runs through the main towns of the province Mae Hong Son – Mae Sariang and Pai, and usually starts from Chiang Mai. This city has an international airport as well as many companies renting out motorbikes and motorcycles. The 600 km path with 1864 curves brings about a lot of adventures. Mae Hong Son attracts tourists not only for sightseeing: for experienced drivers this is the opportunity to drive on the mountain roads.
BAN RAK THAI – Chinese Village in the North of Thailand
Continuing our trip in the North of Thailand and Mae Hong Son Loop, we started from Mae Sariang to Chinese Ban Rak Thai early in the morning. Thailand is considered to be a warm country, but mornings on bike are rather cold and uncomfortable. Moreover, during the first hour the road was quite boring, but also almost free of traffic. After the sun came out, and the first pictures were made, the trip became much more fun.
MAE SARIANG (Mae Hong Son Loop, Thailand)
After visiting Doi Inthanon Mountain with its stupas dedicated to the king and the queen, we drove to the small village Mae Sariang, not far from the Burmese border. We spent the whole day driving around Mae Sariang then, as there is a lot to see there.