28 - 30 November 2014
These next 3 days promises to be one of, if not the, highlight of visiting Thailand. We signed up for a 3 day, 2 night motorbike tour into the mountains around Chiang Mai. Included in the trip is pretty much everything you could ever want to see/do in this area...riding enduro-style scooters on curvy mountain roads and aggressive/treacherous dirt roads, visiting multiple waterfalls, riding up the highest peak in Thailand, eating great thai food, homestaying with a local family, homestaying in a hill tribe village, drinking local moonshine (rice whiskey), riding elephants, and riding bamboo raft down a river. This all inclusive trip cost a whopping 10,000 Bahts ($300 USD) for both of us. Keep in mind this includes everything including the bikes, gas (for 200 miles), food, 2 tour guides, two nights accommodations, entry fee for the national parks...pretty much everything except for beer (which was available both nights for purchase).
Here is the bike that I will be riding for the next 3 days (200 miles):
Before leaving for the trip they told me to take the bike out for a test ride to get a feel for it. I left the driveway, turned right, and had a scooter coming head-on into me. I kept moving right and they kept moving left, both towards the shoulder of the road, until I hit the brakes hard and put the bike down. Why?!? Because i was driving on the right side...which is the wrong side...of the road. Luckily I didn't damage the bike...nor myself...so all was fine, although not the best way to start off a tour. After the crash we (me and the tour guides) wondered if I would have more trouble, but we made it to our first gas stop (35 miles) later in one piece:
After gas we went to our first location, Wachirathan Waterfall in the Doi Inthanon National Park:
Next was lunch after which we rode up to the highest point in Thailand, Mount Inthanon (Doi Inthanon) standing at 8,415 feet above sea level:
Next stop is the The Twin Royal Pagodas of Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon set along the road up to the top of Thailand. One pagoda was built for the king and one was built for the queen:
Next stop...Huay Saai Leung Waterfall:
Finally we got off the pavement and hit the dirt. The route took us past rice paddy fields with awesome views:
All day we both managed to keep the rubber on the road until 100 yards from the end when Tim bit it on a sandy turn. Luckily it was just some road rash on ankle, knee, and elbow, but he wasn't a happy camper. It was not so bad since it was around 5:30 PM we pulled into our accommodations for the night...a rubber tree farm.
This house was owned by the mother of the owner of the tour company and they welcomed us with opened arms. They cooked dinner for us which was so good:
Then we had a fire where they roasted some banana that was just picked off the tree and offered us some Thai moonshine...rice whiskey. What a great way to end an awesome day!
After an OK nights sleep due to roosters crowing all night long, we awoke to a breakfast of fresh papaya, scrambled eggs, and toast. It was just enough to get us moving. By the way...here are some pictures we took around the homestay house before we left:
Next we did a bunch of more off-road riding, had lunch, and stopped at a Wat:
After the Wat we headed to a local market to buy the ingredients for the Hill Tribe family, we are staying with tonight, to cook for dinner.
After a bit more off-roading we finally made it to our stopover for the night....a Hill Tribe family in the middle of nowhere with no electricity:
After an awesome night we headed back out on the road for a day of motorbiking:
Visiting another Hill Tribe village:
Visiting another waterfall:
Visiting a rice whiskey distillery:
After all of that we rode the 40 miles back to Chiang Mai and arrived back at Something Different Tours and spent the night in a 300 Baht ($9 USD) room that provided a bed and a hot shower...which was all we needed after an incredible 3 day, 2 night motorbike tour. Of course, before going to sleep, we headed to the Sunday Walking Market for some grilled squid...my new favorite food.