Day three – and the best day of the tour so far. Beautiful children, great riding roads, the Golden Triangle, monkeys, and more!
I thought that it might be tough to get up at 4.30am his morning, but the bed was so hard and uncomfortable that I was glad to get out of it!
We had a scheduled 5.00am departure, on the back of a pick-up truck, to get to the top of a nearby mountain to watch the sunrise. I was wearing four layers of clothing on my upper body, but was still feeling the cold.
Once we got to the parking area, we had a steep hike to get to the viewing area. Young kids were selling flashlights so that visitors could see the ground in front of them.
We were up at the top of the mountain by 5.35am – and then it was a case of waiting in the cold wind for the sun to make an appearance, which was well over half-an-hour.
The sunrise wasn’t anything spectacular, but the little hill tribe kids were well worth getting up early for! They were singing and posing for photos (for tips) and brightened my day.
Here is a short video of three of the little girls singing. Very cute!
We were driven back to the bungalow resort for breakfast and then mounted the bikes for the third day of riding. After a few minutes of riding, and before we reached Thailand’s steepest road, Reed pulled us all over and told us that he had ‘received a message from the spirit world’ that one of our group was going to drop the bike and go down today! He may say this to all of his tour groups – but the message was received and the group proceeded carefully up the hill. Nobody dropped their bike today!
Despite the build-up, I wasn’t impressed by the ‘steepest road’. I’ve driven steeper and curvier roads in my Land Rover, and this hill wasn’t very long. But it was an interesting start to a good day of riding. After the hill, much of the riding was on smooth tarmac highway with long sweeping curves – the type that you can maintain a speed of over 100kph. The pace was swift, but I feel much more comfortable on this type of road than the tighter curves, so I was able to keep up with the group. Today also included more stops for sight-seeing than the first two days, resulting in this being the best day so far, of the three-day tour.
One of our first rest stops was at a lay-by that overlooked the Mekong River. As we stopped, there was a work crew there from two nearby villages who were cutting down the elephant grass at the sides of the road. After doing their work, the villagers posed for a photo with our group.
Video: Villagers hard at work clearing the nearby roads
Our lunch stop was at a restaurant that overlooked the Mekong River, and was the best lunch of the trip so far. Nice selection of local dishes. Very nice!
After lunch, we rode to the tip of the Golden Triangle, where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar (Burma) all meet.
After the Golden Triangle, we headed to the ‘Monkey Temple’ where we fed the monkeys.
Video: Feeding the monkeys
After a short drive from the monkeys, we were in the town of Mae Sai (close to the border with Myanmar) and our hotel for the next two nights. We put about 210km under our belts today, so a relatively short riding day. We were at the hotel by 3.30pm for our post-ride beer.
By 4.30pm, five us were at the massage place for two-hour massages to soothe away our aches and pains. One of the benefits of a bike tour in Asia!
A little after seven, and we were headed to dinner at a nearby restaurant that serves Yunan Chinese food.
Tomorrow is a non-riding day, so we will be walking across the border into Myanmar (Burma) for a few hours.
Unfortunately, the hotel wifi is painfully slow when guests are all awake and trying to use it at the same time. I’ve had to stay up past midnight in order to get photos uploaded to the blog. Now it is time for some sleep!