On November 4th Fred the bike is embarking on a six month journey across Southeast Asia. Starting in Singapore, Fred plans to make his way up the west coast of Malaysia, across Thailand, Cambodia, up through Vietnam and into Laos. After that... who knows? Fred invites you to follow him through his adventure. Any advice from fellow travelers is always welcome.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chiang Mai-Lampang

Total Distance:106.00km
Total Time:5h45m49s
Average Speed:18.4km/h
Maximum Speed:58.0km/h
Total Distance So Far:8313.46km

After struggling to make it only half way to Pai, I opted to take the bus back down to Chiang Mai. It seemed to be the logical choice. I'm a tough cookie, but not that tough. Pai is a great little mountain town. It's the ideal place for a burnt out cyclist to rest up for a couple of days. I pretty much spent my entire stay there swinging in a hammock, reading a book. I was great.
After a few days I headed back to Chiang Mai where I spent the night before continuing on my journey. The next stop was Lampang, just over 100km away. For the first 35km I took the secondary highway, which I figured would be a less busy and more scenic route. I was proven wrong. Traffic was quite dense and the entire way seemed like one long extension of Chiang Mai. It was a small highway, so the shoulder was almost nonexistent, making it rather difficult to dodge the traffic. Once hitting Lamphun, I made my way to the main highway. While it is pretty busy as well, there is at least a nice big shoulder to ride on. It's almost like having your own lane.
About 50km North of Lampang my journey took me along the border of yet another National Park. It made for a pleasant ride. Despite the traffic, being surrounded by rolling hills and dense forests has a tranquil effect. The terrain was great. There were no overly steep hills to speak of. The last little bit was a series of small rolling hills, which is my favorite type of terrain. I zoomed through it pretty quick and made it to Lampang without a hitch.
Lampang is a nice little city. Mildly touristy, but quiet. There are a few temples to look at (I am at this point getting kind of sick of temples). About 30km south of the city is an Elephant Conservation Center, where I took in an elephant show. It was pretty amusing watching the elephants perform there tricks. While I'm usually pretty opposed to supporting animals in captivity, this was a little bit different. The sanctuary is huge. The elephants have a vast amount of land to roam around on. On top of which, unlike a zoo, this is there natural habitat.
Tomorrow I hit the road again. I'm headed to Sukothai. According to my estimations, it is about 210km away. Although I'm not really sure. Ideally I'd like to make it in a day, but realistically it will take me two. That will pretty much conclude my visit to Northern Thailand. It's been a slice. After that, it's a long haul back down to Malaysia. I've already seen the majority of Southern Thailand, so I don't foresee too much stopping on my way down to the Malay peninsula. You never know though. I might give in to the temptation of the beaches of Southern Thailand along the way.

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