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.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Huay Xai/Chiang Khong-Chiang Saen

Total Distance:70.26km
Total Time:4h16m35s
Average Speed:16.5km/h
Maximum Speed:64.0km/h
Total Distance So Far:7888.40km

The entire last day spent biking I was so close to Thailand I could taste it. I could taste the papaya salad. I could taste the barbecued meat on a stick. I could taste the Pad Thai. I could taste those ice cold 7/11 slurpees. Imagine my disappointment when I arrived in Thailand with such severe sun stroke I was rendered unable to get out of bed, let alone eat. At least it wasn't a huge shock. I saw it coming a mile away. After nine hours spent wasting away in the sun, sun stroke is inevitable.
After taking the short boat ride across the Mekong from Laos to Thailand I checked into a guesthouse and got some sleep. A lot of sleep. A good 15 hours worth of sleep. Suffering from sun stroke and dehydration is never fun, but it sort of goes hand in hand with this means of travel.
The next day I set off for Chiang Saen. It was a great ride. I was still a little weak from the day before, but the flat road running parallel to the Mekong river proved to be not very challenging. Finally, I got a break. I'd almost forgotten how much I like biking in Thailand. Laos was great, don't get me wrong. It's just that Thailand has a few more comforts of home. For example, cold drinks, roads that don't have large sections missing in them, and gas stations where you can use the toilet. I guess sometimes you have to be deprived of such things for a while before you can really appreciate them.
Chiang Saen is a nice little town. It's sort of the gateway to the golden triangle, but not technically part of the golden triangle. So, it sees it's fair share of tourists, but they're not swarming all over the place. It's quite and quaint. There are some pretty cool temples and ancient ruins to check out. A nice place to rest for a day.
I had planned to make my way to Pai before hitting Chaing Mai. After talking to some people and finding out the route there consists of some of the steepest hills in SE Asia, I'm reconsidering. Reconsidering, but haven't reconsidered. Being that I don't learn from my own mistakes I'll probably still attempt to do it. If anyone out there has any advice on the matter, please email it to me.

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