These are my biking stories (trip reports) published on the GT-rider.com website.
They were mostly written for two wheelers and the chosen illustrations aim to show the conditions and surroundings of the roads. However, I have also included some cultural narrations and pictures of general interest.
1 . North Thailand: Chiangmai, Pai, Mae Hong Son, Mae Sariang, Mae Sot, Tak, Fang, Tathon, Chiangrai, Mae Sai, Chiang Khong, Nan, Phayao, Wiang Pa Pao. Phrae, Lamphun, Lampang.
2. North East (Isan): Khon Kaen, Napo, Phimai, Korat (Nakhon Ratchasima), Phanom Ruang, Buri Ram, Surin, Si Sakhet, Udon Ratchathani, Yasothon, Roi Et, Kalasin, Udon Thani, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Sakon Nakhon, Non Khai, Loei, Dan Sai.
- Mae Hong Son (at the sunflower season)
About 20 years ago, I had visited several times the remote city of Mae Hong Son, traveling by plane or by motorcycle. When I decided to do the tour again, I took with me a couple of faded out pictures, just to see what toll development had taken on that touristic destination. It is also fun to meet the same people so many years later and I packed a bunch of Karen Padang (long neck) portraits, in the eventuality that they were still there.
- Mae Sot (to the border town of Burma)
I started a Saturday morning, on the monotonous roads from Chiangmai to Chomtong, after that city it becomes more interesting and definitively lovable after Hot.
The largest refugee settlement on Thai-Burmese border, is about one hour drive before Mae Sot. The thatched roof houses, encroached on the hill, give a romantic representation of the settlement. The view of children playing near barbed wires are drawing a more realistic picture of the hardship of people displaced by war.
North East (Isan)
- Mekong in upper Isan
Rambling around the city, in the evening, I discovered a friendly restaurant. A little further, a venue was getting my attention. Monks were chantings and teaching Darma for a Thot Kathin ceremony. It allowed me to make a much needed merit, as important on Thai roads than a helmet.
Isan might be a poor region of Thailand, it is rich in warm hearted peoples, always ready to have fun and to socialize, even with long nose farangs!
- A cultural trip to Isan
Upper Isan, particularly Loei and Nong Khai provinces have great motorcycle itineraries, crossing mountains, passing national parks, following legendary rivers and meeting plenty of friendly and helpful inhabitants. But globally, the North East is mostly qualified as Thailand’s impoverish region as it has, for sure, more than it’s share of hardship. Often people look down to it, without having a real knowledge of it’s impressive heritage, his significant historical importance, his vibrant culture and lively traditions.
- Bridges and Mountains (following the Mekong, up from Mukdahan)
Touristic guides describe Mukdahan as a “sleepy hollow” and I did not expect too much entertainment. Nevertheless, after the straight rush down from Somdet, meeting again with the mighty Mekong was a pleasure. The attraction here is the second “Friendship Bridge” to Laos .
Enjoying the early morning atmosphere in small villages, it is an ideal moment to observe life in hamlets, with people ambling to their markets and running errands in the fresh hours. Dogs are also very active, jumping from side to side in their quest for breakfast and mates.