Mae Sariang (Mae Hong Son Loop, Thailand)
Русская версия Mae Hong Son Loop is a circle route in the north of Thailand, so far one of the best and the least spoilt by tourists places of Thailand. We spent more than a week there, travelling by bike from one village to another. 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.
Where to stay in Mae Sariang and what to see.
The hotels and guest houses of Mae Sariang are situated along the river. We came there by bike late in the evening; being tired, we decided to stay in the first guest house we saw which was PC Riverview (400 baht), in spite of ants in the room. It also seemed that the river view from this guest house is great. However, in the morning, we realized that the views open to the shallowed river and moved to the guesthouse in front of PC Riverview, since the hosts there were also more friendly.
Victor drove to the bike shop to change the brake cylinder for 200 baht, in the meantime, Nastya tried to learn about the guided tour to a nerby tribal village. It looked like it was difficult to get there on your own, while joining the tour was quite expensive. Just in case, we leave the contact of the tour company here for our readers.
There was not much to do in Mae Sariang itself. There are several pagodas and one museum; the latter has recently burnt.
Yet, near Mae Sariang there is Salawin National Park, to which we decided to head.
Nobody asked us for money at the entrance, nobody was there in the information center too. We found a stand with nature hiking trail on it and decided to walk there.
The trail goes through several small hills, so we had to make an effort to walk up at first.
There were several key points drawing your attention to different objects like a tree or moss, and indeed some of them were interesting.
There are many explanations on these objects along the trail. Moreover, it is hard to get lost. It is only at the end that the trail merged with a stream, and we had to finish the walk by intuition.
Burmese boarder and Mae Sam Laep village.
We hoped to find some other activity or route in the park, but the only person in the park – the guard – could not tell us much. We decided to have a snack and bike towards the Burmese border to see one of the longest rivers in the world Salawin in the village Mae Sam Laep.
Googlemaps suggested that we cover the 45 kilometer route in 2 hours, which was not promising. Yet, we decided to try. At first, the asphalt road made us doubt about google calculations.
We had some fun at the automatic gas station, a great innovation which helped us more than once with our tank empty in the middle of nowhere.
In some places the road was washed out, yet, scenic, in others, the asphalt was very fresh. In the middle of the route, we saw several asphalt rollers at work, which was a sign: good road was about to finish. This turned out to be true. The road to follow was dusty, with ups and downs, gravel, turns, unexpected vehicles and trucks. Hopefully, by the time you come there they will finish their work and cover the road with asphalt all through it. We had to drag ourselves with the speed of about 15 km/h.
Sometimes the speed even lowered to 5-10 km/h. We passed a lot of authentic villages, but did not have much time to stop since we did not want to go back by this road when dark.
At the end, we reached Mae Sam Laep. The landscape indeed turned out to be interesting: unusual houses mounted on piles along the river, the river for which we came, the observation point. The tourists probably do not come here too often: the locals were very surprised to see us there. It is said that it is very easy to cross the border with Burma illegally here: nobody is watching.
The way home was less intriguing since we really wanted to get on the main road before darkness. Luckily, we saw the sunset when reaching the asphalt road. However, we had to be careful on the asphalt in the dark too remembering about the road being washed out, several dangerous turns and cow dungs.
We returned to Mae Sariang when it was completely dark. The main street was closed for the night market (it seems to happen only once a week).
Yet, the market was being closed and we decided to eat at another market nearby. Then we bought some beer to enjoy it at our veranda watching locals drinking beer too and went to sleep, since we were supposed to start early the next morning. Next destinations were the king’s farm and the Chinese village Ban Rak Thai.
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