21. Mae Hong Son-Chiang Mai
250 km, Mae-Hong-Son-Loop, Part 2
This is the continuation of the so-called Mae Hong Son Loop mentioned earlier in the blog, one of the challenging, yet spectacular mountain motorcycle roads in the world. Especially Road #1095, before it turns into #107 is one amazing stretch/series of curves of asphalt. After the town Pai which I found too popular with packpackers to be comfortable the road is less dramatic. Yet I saw some young folks from the said scene who typically ride their rented scooters in flip-flops and shorts having a small mishap when they crashed their scooters in a steep curve. It results in some unsightly but not dangerous skin damage to knees and elbows.
I stopped at a high elevation of the road, -my GPS showed 1,400 meters, and I believe it was the highest elevation of this trip-, and heard the distant voices of the gibbons in the impenetrable forest below me. Due to the lack of any other sound except for the occasional mini busses and scooters, the conversation and yelling of the big monkeys, invisible and hidden by the trees, is impressive. At that little pull-out soon later a Kawasaki with a couple from Belgium stopped and we chatted a bit. They rented the bike for nine days, tour the Mae-Hong-Son-Loop, fly to an island down south for a week and return home.
|The Thai border Calvary rides to their post.|
|The ubiquitous M16 rifles on the back.|
|Lookout on Route 1095 towards Chiang Mai.|
Arriving in Chiang Mai got me into crazy traffic jams, bringing the oil temperature gauge reading of the motorcycle into uncomfortably high levels, and I realized that Loi Krathong which is celebrated in the country side for only one day, is here in the bigger city a multi-day event with the most spectacular floats and costumes.
Here are a few last impressions of this spectacular and very colorful event:
(I apologize for the picture quality, or lack thereof, these were taken with my phone.)
I will stay a few days in Chiang Mai before heading out back up North to the Golden Triangle, the most important opium producing area in the world.
Here in Chiang Mai I need to see the Customs Office at the airport, to get an extension on my Temporary Import papers for the motorcycle, and to get my glasses repaired. They didn't survive the rough helmet-handling, one of the temples just above the hinge broke off.