6 days off the bike - Frankie goes to.....the North of Thailand (2019) - CycleBlaze

November 2, 2019 to November 8, 2019

6 days off the bike

Visiting Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, Ban Tha Pla Duk

As I already mentioned, I left the bike and most of my gear in the Chian Guesthouse and took a bus back down to Chiang Mai. Two reasons for that decision: Only a year ago I have ridden my bike from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai plus the #118 between Wiang Pa Pao and Doi Saket is nowadays under massive extension construction. And believe me, you don´t want to be out there on your bike at the moment. Not now and I would guess not for the coming year at least. Very dusty (or muddy in the wet) and no space on the side with heaps of traffic. Simply don´t do it!

The other option would of course have been to take bike and gear down on the "Greenbus" with me but I decided to come back to Chiang Rai and continue on a more eastern route that I haven´t done yet. On my way towards Bangkok I am currently planning to stop at Phayao, Phrae and Uttaradit. All places that are still on my to-do list.

Back to the time I spent down in and around Lamphun: As I mentioned before I was invited to attend a Northern Thai wedding in the Lamphun Province and  was shown around the area by my friends from Trang while down there. In case you are my facebook "friend" you may have seen some of the photos but my whole family for instance is boycotting this social media for good reasons and I still would like them to get some impressions of the last few days too. My apologies for boring anybody else but at least you get another chance to look at some great pics featuring myself.....

No question where I was having my breakfast before boarding the bus to Chiang Mai. At the noodle soup restaurant right next to the Chiang Rai clocktower. The daily demand for freshly prepared wontons in this rather small establishment is hard to believe. I guess this bag full of minced meat will allow for 1000 of them. Per day!
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At the Chiang Mai bus station with the vehicle I came down on in the background. The VIP buses were sold out on that particular day so I had to go for the 2nd best called X-class. Still quite comfortable at 180 Baht a ticket. As this is a cycling blog I did of course enquire on the possibility to take your steed. No problem was the answer at both bus stations. You may have to take the front wheel off though and the extra charge will be 100 Baht. I am saying this as you really should avoid cycling on Hway 118 until the roadworks are finished and there are no real alternatives if you wish to ride between the two Chiang towns.
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Looking down on Ban Tha Pla Duk / Lamphun Province, my "home" for the 6 days while attending the wedding. Gorgeous setting, nestling between green, green rice and the mountains
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The house I stayed in over the few days. Extremely functional interior design in those 100% wooden buildings as anything is happening outside in the communal areas.....
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....like having dinner with the family under minimal illumination. I can hardly describe the hospitality I have received in Ban Tha Pla Duk and that´s not because I am such a nice person but because they are!
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I could do a whole page just on the extremely colourful ceremony but I try to reduce myself to three. The couple itself in front of parents and dignitaries...
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..the lovely setting of the event...
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..and -to me- the moment of the day. In Gonn´s (the bride´s father) speech he openly admitted this is the first public performance in his life and therefore he practised every single day talking to his pigs... His major concern was not the quality of the speech though but that the pigs may have lost weight by listening to him. Hilarious!
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Taking a guided tour through the historic site of Wiang Kum Kam. A former 13th century kingdom that was buried under flood sand and only got excavated in 1984.
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Me looking cool amongst the Loi Krathong decorations in Lamphun
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Producing elephant poo paper at the Lampang Elephant Conservation Center. I am being serious! Though the outcome wasn´t the finest, I thought. Neither the structure of the paper nor the smell...
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Lampang is the pottery centre of Thailand and this huge outlet of the Indra company sells wonderfully coloured china ware that I otherwise only know from Southern Europe, Spain in particular.
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Mrs. Bussabongpeerapat and one of her nieces in one of her organic rice paddies. You should really taste their products if you get a chance. The rice doesn´t require any salt for cooking, I wasn´t even aware rice can have that much flavour!
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One more attempt trying to look cool. This time at the Pha Chor sandstone cliffs, this time spoilt by the one litre of sweat all over my shirt...
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Back in Chiang Mai
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My farewell shout for the great time I was given at the wedding and the time around it. If you ever come to Chiang Mai and have your own transport, do visit the Ohkajhu Organic Farm and Restaurant approximately 5 km north of town. They are the front runners of organic food in Thailand and you certainly pay a bit more at their restaurants but you get a lot more too. On the photo you see our order: fish and chips with salad; avocado-crab salad on the left and a salmon-mango salad on the top. By no means less exciting were the herb bruschetta and the infused drinking water, this one being the strawberry-oregano version. Still "only" 30 € for the whole lot.
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The VIP bus that took me back to Chiang Rai for 280 Baht / 8 €. Very good value for the 3 1/2 hour ride I believe. I had one of the single seats on the left and it really is like flying business class.
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