3 Day Mt. Bike Adventure. Part 4: Thaton to Chang Rai.

It was late afternoon by the time we rolled into Ban Thaton, a charming Thai village near the Burmese border on the bank of the Maekok river. After a quick cleanup transition, I headed out to do a little exploring on foot.

 

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Despite weary legs from my full day of mt. biking, I took a quick hike up a road to the White Buddha that I’d seen in the distance as we were coming into town. It was worth it.

 

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On the way back, I stopped in for a sorely needed hour Thai massage before dinner. (Awesome and only $6!) Had a feast at a lovely riverside restaurant that evening and enjoyed a refreshing ‘cold” one. (Not a beer drinker, but it sure hit the spot.)

 

Next day we hit the road early, biking through parts of a national park on our way to Chiang Rai. What an incredible 3 day Mt. Bike adventure.

Our last lunch stop was superb!

 

Sad that it had to end. Many thanks to my guide Pan & support driver Som at Active Thailand!

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Tour company: ActiveThailand    Guide: Pan   My rating: Excellent, highly recommend

3 Day Mt. Bike Adventure. Part 3: Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai.

Had an incredible day of delightful single track through the forest and miles of dirt roads through remote countryside. It was topped off with the Chiang Dao Cave  and ruins exploration and by my best meal yet here in Thailand at a local open air restaurant near the cave. The tumeric chicken dish on the right was an outstanding flavor feast!

 

After our afternoon ride, we closed the day in comfort and beautiful surroundings at the rustic mt. biker’s haven, Padeng Lodge.

 

Back on the bikes at 8 am the next morning with more wonderful single track and back roads to explore. I had to make a pit stop along the way and that’s when we discovered this delightful coffee shop/ vineyard/farm – something you might expect to see in New Zealand.

Midday, we stopped for lunch in bustling Fang at a Muslim noodle shop.

 

While I have a thing for the name Fang, I wasn’t crazy about it. Of course, this dose of civilization was a bit of a shock to my system after all the remote countryside we’d traversed by bike and following my Karen Hill Tribe trek earlier in the week. Thankfully,  it was only a matter of minutes before we were on back roads again, passing scenic mango, garlic, eggplant and rice plantations along the way.

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After roasting on the bike for the better part of the day, I was quite happy to roll into Thaton, a small riverside village with lots of charm where’d I’d staying the night on a hotel with AC. To be continued…

Chiang Dao Cave Adventure

This amazing cave excursion was included as part of our 3 day cycle adventure from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai with ActiveThailand. (We lucked out on another “private” tour as there were no other takers in this hottest, off season month. It was AWESOME, highly recommend – more later.)

The story behind this massive limestone cave (penetrating 8 miles into the Doi Chiang Dao mountain) is that a Buddhist monk discovered it 1,000 years ago and decided that it was the perfect place for meditation…Since then, people have been coming to honor the monk and the hermit that lived and died in the cave.

Cave warning signs
Even the disclaimers are so polite here: Dear all tourists….

I felt like I was in Raiders of the Lost Ark in the vast subterranean network of dripping stalacites and other stalagmite formations. I’ve never seen anything like this. If my voice sounds a bit tense, it’s because I’m a bit claustrophobic and not so fond of bats, especially when they are in large quantities…

 

 

 

Everyday has been an amazing adventure here. Some days so packed with spectacular sights and experiences it’s difficult to capture them all. Focus on the highlights you say – they are all highlights I say!

Postscript: After what happened to the Thai soccer team and their coach in the caves of Northern Thailand, I’m not sure I would opt for another cave adventure if I was there again (at least not in the rainy season)…Would you still go?