Head in the clouds – extreme scooter trekking with Sarah and Craig

8 Apr

We hired a scooter for the day to go off exploring Chiang Mai, reluctant to do an expensive tour or trek without having looked at the area first. We were planning to go and get breakfast, but before we knew it, we were in the National Park and thought well, why not have a look round. We stopped at one of the many waterfalls in the park – we had the place to ourselves and it was very beautiful.

The area was covered in thick forest and the air danced with butterflies and dragonflies

It was incredibly peaceful compared to Bangkok we had left not so long ago so we decided to see if we could reach the peak of the mountain we were on. The views from near the top were spectacular

– just wish I wasn’t limited by my kit lens so I could get the full effect!

There was a palace after this but as I wasn’t dressed enough for it (having not planned to come), we pushed on but must have taken a wrong turn somewhere as we started going round, not up.

We went from duel carriage way to single carriage way to a lane to a dirt track. Eventually we got to a sign that told us to use an alternative route because the road was very bad. There were three problems with this.

1. We don’t like going back the way we came

2. There was no alternative route on the sign

3. Tell us not to do something and we’ll do it.

So off we trundled. Bearing in mind that this mountain is one of the highest in Thailand, and the “road” looked like this,

it was fairly intense. Even more so when Craig announced, less than half way down, that the front brake had failed. We had seen a sign at the top saying that Chiang Mai was 27km away (in the other direction), we had no water and the only things around were acres of kumquats and a few tiny wooden huts housing farmers. To make things slightly worse, Craig had neatly parked the bike on an ant nest.

We sat in the sun, considering our options.

Walk down the mountain?

Coast down using only the back brake?

Leave the bike there and run away?

Live on kumquats for the rest of our lives?

Luckily, by the time we’d finished playing out ever-more ridiculous scenarios, the oil had cooled down and the brake began to work again. We edged down the mountain, passing people in 4x4s and on dirt bikes with increasingly surprised looks on their faces, and then finally saw a sign

To Chiang Mai! Yay!

And just around the corner was the view

which made up for everything and made us sure we were heading for civilisation, rather than to be tiger food.

We made it down in one piece (keeping it quiet from the rental people) and went to get some lunch, having set off five hours ago without breakfast. We were told that as it was election day, they couldn’t sell us beer, but a sneaky shop round the corner would sell us a couple if we wrapped them up in plastic bags.

We had a nice afternoon vegging out in the room with Narnia on the tv, then went to get some food nearby. The man that served us was quite p0ssibly the most psychopathic waiter I’ve ever seen (“I like young girls. I have a girlfriend who is 15. My wife is pregnant. I can’t eat the food here, my girlfriend brings me WORK FOOD. I know six languages. I am half Burmese and half Chinese. I am not scared of the police” etc etc…whilst not looking us in the eye and chewing the inside of his face. Appetising).

We were going to finish the night off in the rooftop bar here but it absolutely stank of urine. It’s three storeys and although it must be quite a skill to get every single room stinking that much, it was too much for me to bear so I left Craig chatting with some American and Japanese people so I could write this.

Tomorrow I am going on a thai cooking course and Craig is probably going to go fishing in the lake we passed once down the mountain. Then just the small matter of thinking about where to go next :)


2 Responses to “Head in the clouds – extreme scooter trekking with Sarah and Craig”

  1. Christopher Walker 9 April 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    Grammar police reporting for duty…
    The device for slowing/stopping a scooter is a ‘brake’ not a ‘break’!
    Saddo pedantic from Hillmorton!

    • toaustraliathelongway 10 April 2012 at 12:41 am #

      One of the consequences of writing after a beer I’m afraid. I also changed stories/storeys :)

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