Sunday, June 11, 2006

Chiang Saen - Phayao

Chiang Saen - Mae Sai 45km

Just one big hill to get up and over and then fairly flat along almost a country lane till I reached Mae Sai. Here I got my new visa again. I was asked to show 10,000 baht for my stay, I didn't have it so I asked for an ATM and said it was I going to China and the guy said doesn't matter. Mae Sai is a busy border town lots of shopping spilling out on to the pavement and road selling all sorts. A short road through Mynamar links China to Thailand through which trucks rumble along. I decide I would check out Tham Luang (Big Cave) on my bike. It was about 6km away, I cam to a t-junction and took a right, I should of gone left. Anyway I got there eventually, nobody was about. My guidebook said you could hire lights there but it was spookily empty. Just a dark, dripping, dank entrance to a large cave. I went in about 5m and that was enough, back out into the sunshine. The cave is part of a green mountain spurting up out the plains rising high above Mae Sai. A lot bigger and steeper close up.

Mae Sai - Chiang Rai 65km

Back down to Chiang Rai, this time down the main highway. A fairly easy cycle but hot today, seemed a long way. Stop for cool drinks, at least no hills on this road. A bit late starting out, so I was hungry by the time I got to Chiang Rai and grab so lunch and lots of liquid.

Chiang Rai - Phayao 98km

Long ride, but flat, just seems to take forever, chugging along slowly. All about just keeping the pedals turning, not going fast! I stopped off at one of the rain/sun shelter for a rest. A truck pulled out and out jumped a Thai with a form, he wanted my to help fill in the English form, as a widowed friend wanted her kids to be Swiss citizens. After helping with that back on the road. Have a long lunch and a rest before continuing on. Eventually arrive in Phayao and cycle round in circles trying to find somewhere to stay. Decide on the Wattanna hotel, not too bad for the price. I've got a TV so I can watch some of the football. My legs hurt! The anniversary of the King's 60th Ascension to the throne is this weekend. A lot of people join in a parade to the local park. A big band, soldiers and civilians wearing the yellow t-shirt make up the throngs. I didn't think there was this many people here. Phayao is a small provincial town based on a artificial lake. I popped along to the main Wat, but undergoing repairs. Here is housed the largest lanna style buddha, but I get only a glimpse through the scaffolding. I visit the attached musuem, which even had exhibits in English, not bad for a small town. I am nearly the only foreigner in town. A bus comes each days and deposits a tour-group of foreigners for 20 minutes of coffee and a toilet stop before they are whisked off. I bumped into a couple of people who are actually living here, but they are working at the bible school. Now I'm addicted to ice-cream.

Tomorrow I set off for Chiang Kham, I suspect there may be hills involved!

No comments: