2012 and Beyond ...

Continuation of a journey

Golden Triangle Loop

February 25, 2012 - Anna needed to do a border run for her multi-entry visa, which we did in Mae Sae. Afterwards, we drifted along the northern border of Thailand and Laos and ended up in a tourist town called Sop Ruak. This being the "Golden Triangle" point of Thailand, there were a few very nice hotels, none of which saw our business.

The town is the ultimate tourist trap. Aside from the opium museum, there is a strip of restaurants and a ferry to bring you across the Mekong to a tax-sheltered gambling resort. The Mekong with its floating houses seems little changed from 1993 when I saw it first.

One the 3rd day of our trip, we covered a lot of ground. We ended up in Phayao the long way, following the Mekong along the border with Laos and taking the scenic detour via the highlands. Here's the track in GBD format for those so inclined.

In Phayao, the main attraction was the submerged Wat, surrounded by a swamp, with only the very top sticking out, visible just behind the Buddha.

The next stop was a visit to Wat Analayo, with a rather large statue being the main attraction.

And no, this is not supposed to happen and every motorcycle rider will cringe at what I am doing here, but our bike gave up in the middle of nowhere. A quick phone call to the rental agency sounded along the following lines: ""...oh yes, it's happened before. Just get it to a local bike mechanic. They can spot weld the sprocket to the shaft etc. etc."

Great ... "Tony's Big Bikes" rental has hereby officially been blacklisted I would say. Especially the salient detail being that the bike belonged to a client who was "currently in jail."

Anna's command of Thai had gotten us hotels, food and other esoterica during this trip, so she flagged down a minivan and got a ride to the local police post. An hour after our ordeal began, she returned with water and two policemen in a flatbed. It was immediately clear we were not going to be able lift the bike in the back, so I tied the ropes they had together and convinced them to tow me. After about 30 kilometers, we arrived at a small place called Song, where we ended up at a local motorcycle mechanic. A few phone calls back and forth and out came the welding rod. An hour later we were on the road and looking for a place to crash.

First order of business was to return the bike to the "agency" and take a breather. We're planning on doing a three day loop of the East of Thailand as well, starting tomorrow or the day after.