Fang - Pa Tueng - Frankie goes to.....the North of Thailand (2019) - CycleBlaze

October 28, 2019

Fang - Pa Tueng

Another difficult one! On a day with no designated destination. Yesterday taught me to just look into possible places to stay but leave the rest up to the run of the day.  I decided to ride the 3029 from Fang which runs more or less parallel to the 107 up to Tha Ton. Very rural, very nice. The absence of a shoulder is almost irrelevant as there is hardly any traffic.

All flat so far but soon after my lunch stop in Tha Ton the road clearly started rising and soon after I was put on alert by the terraced rice paddies I hit "the wall". A beast with 15% gradient or even more. Overall probably 3 km with one terrace and as you can see a building on the top from the very start you are always made aware how much further you have to go. Not supportive at all I thought! Insanely steep in parts and I had to get off the bike a couple of times. Let´s call it photo stops....

Once on the top it is not all over yet. There are three what I call counter-hills to come. None of them very long but straight-up steep bitchy little climbs. I really do hate those and only once I arrived at the checkpoint with the pink umbrellas I was assured by the very friendly officers it is all over. Like yesterday the last few kilometers were fun cycling and the only remaining  question was where to find an appropriate place to stay for the night. 

Once again the sun was almost down when I stopped at a small shop to have another drink and check google maps. So I did and google maps told me: You are right at the "Rattana Minimart Coffee Shop and Guesthouse"!. I never would have figured they have rooms but my question: "Mee hong mai, khrab?" - Do you have rooms? - was enthusiastically answered with the typical: Mee, mee! - Have, have! 300 Baht for the room, a hot rice soup for dinner and anything else available in the little shop. Including excellent WiFi. Lucky me!

Men and women at work again. As you can see by their smiles they are more than happy about me taking these photos. Three reason for that I guess: 1. I am convinced they believe I am working hard too when I turn up on that heavy bicycle. 2. On the bike you get to meet the locals who hardly have any contact with foreigners who usually zoom by in the vans with black windows 3. My Thai is still very limited but good enough to explain myself and politely ask whether I am allowed to take a photo.
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The garlic that was separated in the photo above is manually stuck into the soil by these women. What a horrendous job at 35 degrees C
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Approaching Tha Ton on the 3029
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Celebrating the end of the rainy season
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I always wonder what drives people to erect such gigantic statues in the middle of nowhere
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At least some clouds accumulated in the hills and saved me from having to do in the hot sun
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Done! From here it would be all down the hill. I am as happy as....
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....the local ladies. This is tribal country and their colourful dresses are not just there to please tourists but everyday wear
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Chris WeeLisu tribepeople
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2 weeks ago
And soon after one local that wasn´t all that happy to see me. The little girl was trying to hide in the pillow case that was out there for drying
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The reward for all that climbing
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That couple had other things to than than enjoying the view. Getting your daily rice the hard way
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Tribal handcrafts
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The Rattana Minimart ...
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...and Guesthouse. The three fan rooms in the back are very nice (to my standards!) with ensuite bathrooms and the family is extremely hospitable. Helps to have some words of Thai but I am sure they will navigate you through your stay without it.
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Along the 3029, 107 and later 1089
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Today's ride: 78 km (48 miles)
Total: 259 km (161 miles)

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Comment on this entry Comment 6
Chris WeeIf you had gone up to Mae Salong from the police checkpoint, the climbs would be 3 times as tough !
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2 weeks ago
Frank RoettgenTo Chris WeeI know, Chris! That´s exactly what the commander of the post told me. No way for me at that stage but definitely remains on my list. Looked too appealing up there....
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2 weeks ago
Chris WeeTo Frank RoettgenThe last time I went up to Mae Salong in 2012 was all of 300m to a crest where I saw the climbs. I sheepishly backtracked to the checkpoint and songtheaw station, hopped into one and was in the mountains in 40 mins. It's a beautiful spot though. Cool air, KMT village on a ridgeline, hill tribes, tea plantations and a rolling downhill west to Mae Chan and Chiang Rai
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2 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Chris WeeAnd here I thought all along that you told us you rode your bike up to Mae Salong. Maybe that was a different year.
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1 week ago
Bruce LellmanBut what a great downhill from that checkpoint! I remember it was the perfect grade so that I didn't have to use the brakes at all. And long too. A real treat after the climb. Beautiful country up there.
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1 week ago
Chris WeeTo Bruce LellmanBruce, I did ride up to MSL years ago, but from the east after Mae Chan. A tour group with luggage in a van. So technically that doesn't count.
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1 week ago