When you cross to Thailand overland you only get 15 days to visit the country. So that’s the amount of time we had to see as much as we could and reach the border of Myanmar.
Everybody told us that the best places to visit in Thailand are the north, the beaches and islands. We will go to the southern coast later, so now it was time to see the mountainous north. But we had our doubts: what is so special of northern Thailand that we haven’t seen in northern Lao or Vietnam? The answer is … nothing!
It’s true that I really liked this area of the country, the only one I’ve visited so far. It’s really beautiful, the towns are well kept, everything is clean, people are nice, but talking about nature … there is no big difference from the rest of the SE Asian countries. That’s why we decided to visit Chiang Mai, as some people referred to it as “the best city in the world” not only by locals, but also by falangs (foreigner in Thai and Lao, sometimes is not polite, but that’s what we are …).
On our first night we were hosted by Linzee, an American guy volunteering at a school in a really small town. He was quite well integrated and spoke Thai, so he was able to give us many cultural tips as well as many key words to use in the few days we were going to be in the country. He even taught me the word for vegan! (It’s pronounced like the name “Jay”).
It’s great that there is a specific word that means vegan. This way in the restaurants they understand perfectly. As in many places I had to check the whole cooking process I also started doing it here, but a couple times they kicked me out of the kitchen saying not to worry that they perfectly understand what “jay” is.
The way to Chiang May was nice. There were some mountains, but nothing we could not handle. The roads are perfectly paved, there is a lot of space on the side of the road and there wasn’t too much traffic. What else could we possibly want?
In the city we were hosted by Dell, a great British guy who is been living here for a few years already. He didn’t only host us, but took us to some beautiful places, helped us finding everything we needed for the bikes and even took us with his friends to a barbecue, to some bars, to Thai boxing … Thanks! We didn’t actually see much of the touristic sights, but we really enjoyed our stay in Chiang Mai!
From there we headed straight to the border with Myanmar, but we chose the slightly longer scenic way instead of the bigger roads … not sure it was such a great idea! We started really slow, doing really few kilometers per day, because we encountered some really steep hills. There was one on specific I’m sure is the steepest road i’ve ever seen. The sign even had a skull! (It’s the picture on the top)
Goiznabar decided to push the bike from the beginning. I tried to pedal my way up, but I couldn’t even a fourth! It was so steep that every time I pedaled the front wheel lifted a bit, so it was basically impossible to keep balance and I was afraid of falling backwards! So at the end Javi and me helped each other pushing the bikes up.
We kept sleeping in pagodas, but in this country we are more selective … only pagodas with wifi! It sounds like a joke, but it’s not! Most of the buddhist monasteries where we asked for shelter had wireless internet connection. This was great to talk with families and girlfriends, as well as posting on the website of course!
And slower than we had hoped to we had arrived to the last village of Thailand (actually 10 km from it), so tomorrow we will cross the border. We’ve heard many things about restrictions in Myanmar, I hope none of them are true and we can enjoy our time there!