24 October 2011

Raw nature

The first part of my stay is now over ; not a lot about the boys here - although they are never far when you are in Thailand - but a long and impressive trip in one of the remotest parts of the country.

As scheduled we got our rented car in Phitsanulok and this was not your usual Honda Jazz ; knowing that the roads will be tough, I had splashed out on a big four wheel Toyota Vigo, not the car that I would dare to drive at home if you ask me (by fear of being labelled as a braggart). My boyfriend Tam was happy about this choice and he drove most of the way, except in the really windy mountain roads which I am more used to.

Unfortunately the bar I had read about in Phitsanulok seems to have closed, at least we could not find it at the location it was supposed to be. I rather think that once again, the information I had being from thai people, it was probably false or incomplete as we spent one hour exploring this famous Soi 19 where nothing was to be seen looking like an open bar or even a closed one.

Our first stop was in Mae Sot and we made the mandatory trip to the so-called Friendship Bridge on the Burmese border. A rather curious place where burmese people come and sell their things - mostly cigarettes - down from the walkway which stretches along the thai side of the river, and under the view of the thai soldiers. Among them, some teenagers who would have a lot of success should they have sold something, say, more private ...

Refugee camp near burmese border, Tak province
Refugee camp near burmese border, Tak province

Our second day took place along the thai-burmese border on very quiet roads with very few people around, except for many police controls. I was especially impressed by a huge refugee camp after Mae Ramat, hundreds of wooden houses all over the hills seeming to shelter so many unfortunate people fleeing their country. Probably a heavy burden for the thai Government. Besides this, there were viewpoints, waterfalls, caves, and a 50 km stretch of a rather small road on the borders of Tak and Mae Hong Son provinces, without any village, gas station, or eating place. You guess that finally arriving in Mae Sariang was a relief. A local karaoke gave a nice end to the day.

Mae Sariang to Mae Hong Son was a more civilised ride although with countless curves, and more beautiful waterfalls. To Tam's dispair, the Thung Dok Bua Tong (the Mexican sunflower field) had not blossomed yet, but the Mae Surin waterfall on the same road was in great shape after all this rain. Thanks to a thai guidebook, we visited a little gem of a cave in Mae La Noi ; Kaew Komon Cave Forest Park is a calcite cave and the glittering calcite shines sparklingly in the cave walls, making it look like ice (no picture allowed). In Mae Hong Son, we staid in the Bayoke Chalet Hotel, which doubles at night as a disco for the local teenagers, and of course we could not miss the opportunity to have a drink there. Mae Hong Son population is mostly Thai Yai, and this is a guarantee for fine-looking well-built young men. Also not to be missed is climbing up the hill which offers great views over the ton. At dusk it is also a flirting place for the local youth.

Mae Hong Son town from above
Mae Hong Son town from above

A long rest in a mud spa only 17 km from Mae Hong Son was enough for being ready for the following day driving to Pai ; fantastic viewpoints over the mountains, another beautiful cave near Phang Ma Pha (Tham Lot, where the river flows through the cave) made another great day. In Pai the atmosphere was more touristy, with a huge amount of mostly young farangs, as Pai is known as a paradise for travelers.The population has kept his smile though, and the prices are still reasonable. The C Bar which is sometimes advertised as a gay bar is a very small bar but it seems that only the owner here is gay.

Pai was the first step back to bustling thai cities but it was still quiet, probably due to the long and windy route leading there from both sides. We had still another hot spring and a waterfall to look at before finally arriving in Chiang Mai. Back to the bars and the boys, although the experiences with the boyfriend in tow should be tamer than when I come alone ...


Frischmix said...

Sounds like a nice trip. Is the north dry now? Take care

LLZ said...

100 % dry with a nice weather as a plus.... so sorry I had to go back to Bangkok before the Great Flooding ...