From Chiang Mai, we headed Southwest towards the Burmese border.. On our map, the road seemed to skirt mountains, follow rivers, and not be very populated... sounded fantastic, just what we needed.. head into the nature and get away from busy cities.
After three riding days, we got into bigger mountains than we expected or were ready for.
Past the Op Luang canyon (not much of a canyon by N.A. standards!) the road climbed and dropped continuously with steep grades. Not pleasant for legs still warming up to riding loaded bikes.
|Ainaz practicing her self portraits.|
|You know you are getting away from the cities when...|
|these hills are sh*t!|
|HOT spring... I think I'll skip dipping into this pool.|
So to avoid sport injuries in the first week of our six month journey, we invented a new form of travel to get out of the mountains - hitchbiking!
First we hitched a ride in the back of a pickup truck of the Thai police to Mae Sariang, where we took a break to get more information about the road ahead.
Hey Mr Policeman, will you help us find a ride?
All advice was against travel by bike, so we went hiking in the mountains for a couple of days to get our nature fix...
|boat ride to trailhead on the Burmese border|
|on top of some mountain|
|loaded daypacks on the outside!|
|Our 14yr old shurpa, Panta, carried 18L of water for us on his neck, wearing flipflops 3sizes too big for him, and beat us up every hill|
|the only pair of shoes I brought are my 5fingers, they did great!|
|we spent the night in the home of this Karen hilltribe family.|
|on the way back, we hiked down stream, literally!|
...Then loaded our bikes and our selves onto a Toyota taxi van amidst 12 other people, three chickens and a bag full of catfish for a 6hr bumpy ride South to Mae Sot along the Burma border.
|400baht 6hr taxi ride for one person and bike... reminded me I need to ride my bike, badly.|
This road was gorgeous, but extreme grades, bad pavement and no towns or water for a 200km stretch. We hope to come back to this area at the end of our trip when we are stronger in the legs and self sufficient for wild camping.
|sunset hitchbike to Tak.|
|Dariya is so comfortable with our recent mode of travel she can snooze while balancing her self and her hike in the haul of a pickup!|
We didn't bring tents because our pretrip research indicated SE Asia would be littered with affordable guesthouses and it would be too populated for wild camping. I wish i had brought my tent.
Touristic cities have lots of guesthouses and they are cheap ($10-$20/night). But the towns in between either have only one motel/hotel (not always desirable) and the really small towns don't have anything, but the locals are happy to rent you a room for the night (we haven't taken up these offers yet.. still getting familiar with the culture and our comfort levels).
We finally bought some hammocks to at least use for siestas, and have a mosquito net from a friend in Chiang Mai.
|keep all your food on your lap to avoid red ant infestation!|
Feels good to have all that you need to make a home on your bike :)
Well, after one last hitchBike to Tak, we are out of the mountains and reinstating our cycletouring status!
|First day - take II.|
A few shots of the touristic activities we've done here and there:
|Doi Inthanon national park - highest point of Thailand|
|Permission to take a photo of monks visiting the pine forest|
|rode our bikes to the Friendship bridge in Mae Sot|
|Western most point of Thailand - Burma border|
|enjoying an afternoon off by the pool at our $17/night resort - Greenview Resort in Dan Chang|
|visited allot of temples!|