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.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chiang Mai-Pai

Total Distance:65.59km riding/about 70km hitching
Total Time:4h28m34s
Average Speed:14.6km/h
Maximum Speed:50.5km/h
Total Distance So Far:8207.46km

Well, I attempted to make it to Pai on my bicycle despite all advisement's against it. As it turns out I should have taken the advice of those who, clearly, knew what they were talking about. I made it just over 65km, about half way. It wasn't that difficult. There were a few steep slopes that I had to push Fred up, but they didn't last that long. The hardest part was definitely the heat. At around 40 degrees, it was unbearable. After the heat stroke incident when leaving Laos, I've been a little worried about too much time in the sun. After 65km of riding in the Thai heat I decided to sit under a tree and reassess my plan to bike to Pai.
From what I had gathered from the the people I talked to, the first half of the ride was a gradual incline (which proved to be accurate so far), while the second half was all steep hills with little relief. My options were as follows... I could stop at the next hotel (there are plenty on the way to Pai) and attempt to carry on with Fred the next day, or I could try and hitch a ride on the back of a pickup truck sparing myself from what was sure to be an extremely hard day. I chose the latter.
Don't you judge me! Look, I've biked over 8000km through heat, traffic, mountains, and all sorts of other various hardships. So I took the easy way out for once. I think I was more than justified in doing so. So, until any of you ride a bike 8000km in a foreign land, I don't want to hear any flack about how I wussed out. A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.
The way to Pai was absolutely breathtaking. In a way I'm disappointed I wasn't able to ride he whole thing and really experience it. It starts out relatively flat and boring, but as you progress it becomes hillier and much more lush. Everyone who told me of the mystical magical feel of this area was completely right. Looking at the surrounding landscape it feels almost like being in a dream. To describe it in full would take an eternity.
Pai is a town based around outdoors activity and hippie-culture. My type of place on both accounts. It's quite and the people are friendly. I think I might just stick around for a couple of days. It seems like a good place to kick back, relax and forget about all the woes of life. not that my life really has any woes. I've been on vacation for almost seven months, so really my life has been pretty easy going. But, if I had any woes, this would be the place to forget them.

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