After spending a couple of nights in Chiang Mai which definitely belonged to one of our favourite destinations in Asia, we were continuing our way up to the North where the Mae Hong Son loop was already waiting for us. In order to save some money this time we decided to…
… simply rent a scooter which should hopefully do its job as well We left our huge backpacks in the hostel of Chiang Mai and just left the ultra cool town with two small backpacks. Contrary to the norm, we decided to do the loop anti-clock wise and started with the famous Doi Inthanon Park, “The Roof of Thailand”. The park is actually part of the Himalayan mountain range with altitudes between 800 m and 2565 m including Thailand’s highest mountain, the Doi Inthanon which was our main destination of the first day. Luckily, we gained already experience from the Adam’s peak in Sri Lanka, North Vietnam and Laos and had suitable warm clothes with us. According to the National Park’s website, the temperatures would be around 10°C and we certainly would win the jackpot with 4°C. The price we won were cold fingers and we decided not to stay too long in order to see the sunset at the park’s pagodas giving a beautiful overview on the surrounding landscape.
Usually, we decided not to drive in the dark but this day we did not have any other choice but taking the risk in account. Normally a paradise for motorbikes we were “fighting” with the rather tight curves and finally managed late in the evening to get to the next village of Mae Chaem. Exhausted we fell to bed and were lucky to have found a nice accommodation with a hot shower.
The next day we got up early and had breakfast in a nice restaurant – the only one – and headed towards the next destination of the day, Mae Hong Son.
The road was absolutely a dream and one beautiful curve was following the next. Dom was accelerating the scooter in such a way that at some point the foot rests would touch the ground. Upset, Emilie was telling Dom off and the speed (as well as the fun and adrenaline) got reduced in favour of security. Emilie was absolutely right and Dom was just another time a victim of his speed addiction 🙂
Mae Hong Son like many other places in Thailand is a heaven for street food lovers and we tried almost everything which would eventually fit into our at this time still empty stomachs. Not long thereafter, we were rolling down the roads when finding a place selling special lanterns. We made a wish, lighted up the lantern and let go the lantern which disappeared after a short while into the dark sky. Dom kept the eyes closed for another moment and smiled cheekily at Emilie. Satisfied we went hand in hand together back to the hotel… but not before having another full body massage in one of the many shops along the way. Relaxed and tired we slept together in.
Before heading to Pai, the destination with our most expectations, we stopped in the sleepy town of Pang Ma Pha where we did a day hike into a close by natural park. The owner of our hotel was at the same time also the tour guide and had absolutely fantastic recommendations on her website… that was apparently before she recently had unfortunately a brain stroke. Most of the time confused, struggling with finding her words and out of breath she was trying to guide us through the natural park. We were absolutely concerned about her health and asked her several times if she need any help or if we shall go back to the hotel. Stubbornly, she denied and we continued our trip in a VEEEEERYYYYYYY slowly pace, so that we had to wait many times for our guide after she would be telling us roughly the direction. We stopped by a small village where we could observe the local ethnic minorities producing scarves, clothes and other nice crafts. Since we were traveling only with light weight, we had to decline the offer and returned to our hostel where we had a delicious dinner.
Finally, the next morning we were on our way to famous Pai, one of the highlights of our North Thailand trip. Super layed back and embedded in beautiful mountain ranges we checked in into our homestay which consisted of a couple of sheds with an unbelievable beautiful view on the nature. In the evenings and mornings of our stay we would just open the curtains and look outside the large glass windows to marvel at the beautiful flowers which were in front of the mountain ranges. Another great memory of our stay in Pai was the absolutely stunning canyon which we were visiting on the second day. Walking along the rock formations while seeing the magical green landscape in the background will be an unforgettable memory.
With melancholy we left Pai and were making our way back again to Chiang Mai. Luckily, the 1’864 curves of the motorbike loop were not over yet and we had plenty of fun driving back while enjoying the beautiful views along our way.
The North of Thailand is absolutely a highlight and often “fortunately” neglected my many tourists in exchange of overcrowded beaches in the South. Since we booked already our flights into the South of Thailand, we had to leave paradise just to realise that a bad weather front would be awaiting us in Krabi.