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.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chiang Rai-Chiang Mai

Total Distance:191.50km
Total Time:10h32m52s
Average Speed:18.1km/h
Maximum Speed:61.0km/h
Total Distance So Far:8141.87km

While there isn't a whole lot to do in Chiang Rai, it is actually quite a pleasant little city. There is a few temples to check out. One in particular is the big white temple located to the south of the city. It's a little different than the usual Wats. A nice visit for those of you who might be a little "templed out". There is also a great night market, something I missed while being away fro Thailand. Other than that, Chiang Rai is just a peaceful little place where one can kick back and relax. I could have stayed longer, but I could here the sound of the road calling my name.
All the other cyclists I've met have done the trip from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai. I'm a little bit competitive, not to mention cocky, so I saw this as a challenge. I decided the night before departing Chiang Rai that I would attempt to do the ride in one day.
For those who told me they thought it impossible, you were wrong. It is more than possible to do in a day, though pretty gruelling work. The first part of the ride is really quite boring. There is nothing to look at aside from highway and traffic. The landscape is rather unspectacular. However once you hit Khun Chae National Park that all changes. Around you the trees start to become denser and more lush. The flat road begins to turn to rolling hills. The traffic remained fairly bad, but that is to be expected on the road ti Chiang Mai. In spite of it, the ride through the park was still a pretty peaceful one. There was only one big hill on the way here. in comparison to those I have been doing over the past couple of months it was nothing. a little steep, but not overly long. The worst thing about it was hitting in the mid afternoon. Around 2:00 is when the sun is at it's hottest, and doing a climb up a mountain during this time can be pretty unpleasant.
I arrived in Chiang Mai just as the sun was going down. it had been a while since I had done a long ride like that. It actually felt pretty good. Chiang Mai seems like a laid back place. So far, so good. I still haven't made my mind up about Pai. Thanks to all who have been sending me advice. Any additional information is always welcome.

1 comment:

The FrogBlogger said...

That's some ride, having done it enough times in a car (around 4 hours). I imagine the mountain section would have been more hazardous for the crazy country drivers than for the heat and humidity!

Sounds like a great adventure you're on. Yes Chiang Mai is great (my home town). Maybe one of the drawbacks of a trip like yours is not being able to stay long enough to really appreciate some places. Still, should make a great read one day if you ever get around to writing a book...