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

October 29, 2019

Pa Tueng - Chiang Saen

via Mae Sai and Golden Triangle

Three landmarks on my agenda today: 

-Mae Sai, the northernmost point of Thailand and popular border crossing into Myanmar

-The Golden Triangle, previously infamous for its opium activities, nowadays for its tourist masses

-Chiang Saen, the lovely trading port on the River Mekhong

Different to the days before it was an entirely relaxed ride getting there, even the initial 30 km up busy Highway 1 were okay due to the wide shoulder and the supportive tailwind. Only one little hickup later on, a steep ramp 5 km before the Golden Triangle.

But my first stop was at Mae Sai, one of those buzzing border towns like Ranong, Mae Sot, Nong Khai or Mukdahan. I always enjoyed that peculiar atmosphere of all the legal and illegal trading activities giving them a seedy sort of touch. No way I was staying in Mae Sai today though, only 35 km on the clock and I still had the most exciting part of the day ahead of me: revisiting the mighty Mekong. I have always been attracted by the mystic flair of that river and whenever I geta chance to experience that again, I will do so.

The first sighting this time was while rolling down on the other side of that aforementioned hill. There could be more romantic places for our reunion though - the Golden Triangle clearly has turned into a photo and souvenir destination with busloads of daytrippers giving it quite an unpleasant touch. So I adopted the same conduct like all the Chinese and Korean tourists: A few quick photos and off again after only 15 minutes.

Different story another 10 km down the river. I really like Chiang Saen. The little town has got everything you expect from such a prime location: A nice river promenade with plenty of open air dining opportunities in the evening, plenty of river related trading activities, lovely temples, etc etc.... This time I decided to go for the "A Hotel Budget " which I had found on agoda. I hadn´t boked though as I was a bit irritated by the Budget part of the name and as I was arriving early I decided to have a look first. The place suited me fine but when I asked at the reception how much a room would be, the answer was 658 Baht. "Can´t you match the 540 Baht agoda is asking for the same type of room?" was my response but they said they can´t do that. Mind you they had no objections to me making the booking through the platform while the receptionist was getting the paperwork ready. I had that same situation a few times before and I don´t understand the philosophy of it. They have to pay substantial provisions to the likes of agoda, booking.com etc and just giving the same price would be still beneficial to them. Anyways, not my business, I was certainly happy with what I got for my 540 Baht, breakfast included. Chiang Saen is well worth an overnight stop.

Cafe Amazon (attached to the PTT petrol stations) sells these drip bags. Quite expensive (5 sachets for 120 Baht) but I don´t care when it comes to my first coffee in the morning. A start without one will not become a good day anymore...
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Damned! These lovely hot springs were less than 500 m away from my guesthouse and I would have loved to give my sore feet some treatment last night as all the local people under the shelter on the left do
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Nice setting for a first kick before school
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Nothing more inspiring to be out there all day than the colours....
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....orange in particular
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Always nice when the kids come towards you posing for a photo without being asked
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Busy-ness as usual at the Thai Immigration in Mae Sai
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Bamee (egg noodles) drying along the #1290. Be assured there is a lot of dust in the air, will make them extra al dente I guess
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The mother of all Thai spices!
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These Chinese tourists are on a mission and you better don´t get in their way!
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These Thai pilgrims waiting for their boat-ride convey a far more relaxed atmosphere. Before I forget what this whole place is about: Myanmar on the left, Laos on the right
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A lot of gold at the Golden Triangle
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I love the place! Chiang Saen river promenade with the first al fresco restaurants opening in the late afternoon sun.
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Andrea BrownThis is my favorite thing about Chiang Saen.
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1 week ago
Frank RoettgenTo Andrea BrownCan you get comfortable sitting on the ground while eating, Andrea?
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1 week ago
Andrea BrownTo Frank RoettgenI must be able to, I don’t remember it being a problem. It might be now, ha.
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1 week ago
Chiang Saen town square
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I couldn´t think of any better dinner location but I simply can´t get comfortable at those 10 cm high tables
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I have been asked by a couple of German friends why I don´t post about my food anymore. Well, I thought it might get boring but they responded it can be helpful for their own Thailand holidays. So here we go, street food dish no.1. The mussels and oysters are called "hoy". They get fried in a batter you see in the background and that reminds me very much of an omelette. The result is called...
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..hoy tord. It usually comes without rice, if you want some ask for "... lae khao suay" - with pretty rice.
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Today's ride: 82 km (51 miles)
Total: 341 km (212 miles)

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