Suan Kaew Resort (#1174) - Chiang Rai - Frankie goes to.....the North of Thailand (2019) - CycleBlaze

October 31, 2019

Suan Kaew Resort (#1174) - Chiang Rai

Funny! I really enjoyed my stay at the Suan Kaew Resort right in the middle of some rice paddies and nothing else far and wide. The idea of having these resorts might offend some people with higher moral standards than myself. The "2nd wife" philosophy is a very common thing in Thailand and that´s where the extramarital activities are, hmmm, conducted. Happily accepted by some younger couples without their own homes too and us cyclists profit from it as well I believe. Reliably inexpensive and clean rooms, usually a bit or sometimes even miles out of towns.  One additional advantage of the really remote ones: You get a chance to sleep a bit longer than 5 am without the typical Asian early morning noise pollution of roosters, dogs and motorbikes.

One thing had been bothering me over night though: I have started and finished several cycling trips here in Chiang Rai and always stayed at the Chat House Guesthouse. A really nice place and there was no question where I was wanting to be this time. When I sent a message to the owner Jenny last night, she responded that the Chat House had to be closed down as the adjacent temple, who do own the property, hadn´t renewed the lease. That really rang the alarm bells for me as I didn´t have any Plan B. I was planning to leave my bike and some panniers at the guesthouse while being down in Lamphun for the wedding and some sightseeing off the bicycle. Fortunately Jenny offered an alternative solution for me and recommended the Chian Guesthouse, run by a friend of theirs. That´s exactly where I booked my room this morning and with no hesitation the owner, At, accepted my request to store my gear for the 5 days that I will be away.

Why all that concern and not just take the bike with me? After I had learnt about the Chat House closure I had contacted my Singaporean friend Chris  and he suggested taking the bike on one of the many buses between Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai wouldn´t be a problem but I personally have had rather negative experience with coach transports, ie. broken parts like front light and fenders. And there is one more, rather silly reason of wanting to restart in Chiang Rai. Taking the bike down to Chiang Mai would break the continuity of my North to South ride. I have done the Bangkok to Malaysia bit a few times now but Mae Sai to Bangkok right through the middle is still missing on my personal roll of honour. 

Back to today´s ride. Off I was with a late 11 am start knowing it was only a short last 70 km into Chiang Rai.  I continued rolling down the #1174 but then let google maps guide me towards the guesthouse on a zigzag route that I can´t even recall precisely. There are several options getting into town though and I am convinced they are all pretty much the same with some small undulations on the way. I wouldn´t call the scenery as such spectacular at all but the peaceful cycling through this rice paddy dominated area was still delightful. 

Another good day to finish off my first week up here in the North! Very happy with the Chian Guesthouse too. I went for a room on the 1st floor of the main building as I was concerned the rooms and bungalows along the pool might have some noise at night. 350 Baht is excellent value and the food they serve in their restaurant will be authentic if you ask for it.

Tomorrow I will take a bus down to Chiang Mai, meet up with the Bussabonpeerapat family and move to Lamphun for the wedding and some sightseeing along their agricultural activities. They live down in Trang and run most of their businesses in the South but they still have rice farms up here. Very keen to get the chance to have a look at that sort of stuff as a friend and not as a tourist. I will be back in Chiang Rai on Nov 7, back on the bike on November 8 or 9, headed for Bangkok then!

Along the #1174
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Pumpkin season and conveniently they do sell the chopping boards with it
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When I turned off the #1174 it became even more rural and I could hardly believe what I was all the sudden confronted with: 5 km of what must be some of South East Asia´s largest road construction. When you look at the map and the area itself such a huge simply doesn´t seem to make sense. At least not to me but some people with an impressive bank account will know what it is good for...
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Chris WeeHuge roads in the north close to Laos, are just waiting for China traffic. Did you see some of the signs, already in Thai, English and Chinese?
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1 week ago
But soon enough it was back to pleasant cycling
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When I stopped at a cafe run by the owners of a fruit orchard, I was attracted by the simplicity of the ablution block amongst the banana shrubs and took this photo which....
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....really pleased the owner who in response rewarded me with some freshly picked bananas. I am only mentioning all this because I believe this is a typical phenomenon of bicycle touring. We stop where other tourists either never go or race by in their silver vans. That´s why you don´t have to be far away from tourist centers to meet very appreciative locals.
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Very likely Thailands most shiny clocktower in Chiang Rai
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The Chian Guesthouse from outside...
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...and from the balcony of the 1st floor where....
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...my simple but attractive room was located.
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Probably even had the more comfortable mattress than me...
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Today's ride: 71 km (44 miles)
Total: 516 km (320 miles)

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