Thursday, 8 October 2015

Phayao Paradise


I recently found myself teaching A Level Maths and Physics in a Chiang Mai High School. I like the students and they appear to be enjoying the material we're working through. We were the first class to get this dormant 40,000B oscilloscope working in addition to other intricate pieces of experimental beauty. It's just like doing a Royal Naval Engineering Apprenticeship again. Canny.


Darren and Heather visited Chiang Mai as part of a Thai holiday. We had a great night catching up on Pegswood gossip. Hearing their accents made me realise just how much I've lost mine. Heather reckons I sound like an Aussie?? Obviously, I took them to the fanciest places in the city as you can see.

Daa (left) is in the Army but had enough time for a few beers with Jo and myself. Daa's an occasional jogging buddy so it was strange to see him in this alien environment. Look at his right arm - I doubt it got like that by weight lifting.
Not only is Mem cute, she gives the best foot massages in town. I love sitting here being pampered after a run - especially on Friday nights for some reason. Bewildered tourists stroll by as Mem expertly rubs away the aches and pains.
Wit hails from MaeHongSon. He lives next door and upon discovering he'd never been to a football match I took him to watch CMFC. He was so excited that he went and got a Friar Tuck haircut. The bike's rear suspension is still recovering. Wit's from the Karen tribe and is currently trying to get into the police force - could be a good lad to know.
This little lad's name eludes me. He's the son of the couple that run the food stall where I eat most nights. I was worried when I heard he'd been in hospital for a week. He's explaining how he likes the yellow transformer because it has car doors on its back. Good to see him back to his normal self.
Around Chiang Mai

Finally made it to the Giant Treehouse Cafe although I never crossed the bridge as it was rammed with Bangkok tourists. I headed on a bit further to Ban MaeKamPong.

It's a picturesque little village popular with locals. The waterfall is in full bloom at this time of year.

Kewfin viewpoint on the Lampang/ChaingMai border and another shot just off the HangDong/Samoeng road. I love this time of year because everything's so lusciously green.

Coffee shops

As always I've been venturing into the unknown in search of the North's best coffee vistas. This one on the way to Samoeng isn't bad.

Nor is this one near the new MaeWang underpass. Loving the freshly planted rice paddies with mountainous scenery beyond. Canny talking to the locals too.

Further afield

A perk of teaching is the holidays and we're currently enjoying a two week break. This afforded myself and Jo the opportunity to stretch our legs and ride 1800km around the North. We stayed at Fang(1), MaeSai(1), ChiangKhong(1), Phayao(2), Nan(2) and MaeHongSon(1).

In Fang we had a great night in a strip of bars we somehow accidentally stumbled upon. Speaking Thai allowed us to ingratiate ourselves with the prevailing winds of hill tribe humanity. Including a lad who got crushed between two elephants. Top night.

Onto Mae Selong where we got talking to three young Chinese lasses about the locally grown tea. Up past the Burmese and Thai border Army camps to MaeSai where feet were massaged before a ride to quiet ChiangKhong nestled alongside the mighty Mekong River. This photo shows Chinese, Burmese and Laotian river boats docked at ChiangSaen where I stopped for some scran.

For me the best part of the trip was Phayao. The lakeside bars are excellent and full of top class women. However, on venturing further we stumbled upon a strip of Farang-starved bars resembling a mini-Pattaya. Top night.

It might be worth mentioning the 200B/night "home stay" we stayed at. Cheap rooms and great nightlife by a serene lake - what's not to like?

Nan province has a very remote feel to it - the atmosphere gives it a more Laotian vibe. We were watching Aguero destroy Newcastle in the rarest of Nan institutions - a bar. As I was crying into a Leo a local lad tapped my shoulder to proudly display his massive beetles. He then took us to ChannelX - Nan's premier nightspot. It was all too much so we went back to the room to watch Australia destroy England in the RWC.

Il est terrible pour moi.

I left Jo behind and headed back to CM for a quick oily before riding out to MaeHongSon. Unfortunately there's roadworks on the 1095 to Pai so it'd be best to avoid that route until next year (unless you like getting covered in mud). As per usual I stayed at RomThai Guesthouse just behind this temple. I even bought some TFT (Tat For Tourists) for the bike. However, I predict there'll be fewer than 1864 bends after the road "improvements" have been affected.

I have mixed emotions about development. I liked the road as it was. They'll probably remove some really fun bits for "safety" reasons. There's also a spectacular viewpoint 17km south of MHS that used to have a single bamboo cafe. It was gorgeous. Sadly, it's been replaced by a monstrous concrete viewing platform. It's gone the way of Penang Hill - tut tut.


The ongoing unicorn hunt is ........ ongoing. I've been getting to know Fah recently. This is her facebook pic - absolutely gorgeous. A 26yo TaiYai beauty.

I will never forget this date with Beam - one half of a set of twins - in darkest Phayao. She taught us that a guttural "urt urt" sound means "drink-up" in her dialect.


All this drinking, smoking and socialising is all very well but we have the small matter of a half-marathon in December and training has been non-existent.

This is the finishing line photo from December 2014. It finally arrived by email in September 2015. This is what a 41yo bloke looks like after 21km in 1h59m.

I doubt I'll match that this year.


I've just received a 3rd Thai Driving Licence. I can't believe I've been here so long.

The first was a 1yr temporary licence from Trang. The second was a 5yr licence from Phuket. The third one's another 5yrs from Chiang Mai.

This means I've been riding bikes here for six years. Three on a 200cc Phantom and three on a CBR250cc. 100,000 glorious kilometers or about twice around the earth's equator.


ใบขับขี่ = bai kap kee = driving licence (slang)
ใบอนุญาตขับรถ = bai anuyaat kap rot = driving licence (posh)
เอืตเอืต = urt urt = drink up 


  1. Nice seeing a post from you, it's been a while. After spending so much time in Nong Khai last year, Nan is a place I'd like to see sometime in the future. Have heard good things (and no tourists).
    How is Mae Hong Son? I went back in 2002 and thought it was lovely. Is it still a quiet little town?
    I think really cool the way you travel around by motorbike, sounds like an adventure.
    Frank (bbqboy)

  2. Nan was delightful but MHS holds a special place in my heart. It's still a small, quiet, picturesque town with friendly locals. Both provinces are a biker's dream! Next time you're in CM give me a shout man!!

  3. I always pop over for a post


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