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27 พฤศจิกายน 2550
 
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Planning the trip up north...

Ever since I got back from England, I've been trying work out where, when and how I'm going to go up north. I've wanted to go back to Naan for months now. I helped out at my friend's mum's school for a day last March, and promised that, one day, when I had some free time, before I went back to England for good, I'd return.

I love Naan. I've already been there 3 times. First, to go rafting. Then, about a year ago, for a quick weekend escape from Bangkok. The third time was to visit my friend B, meet his mum and see her school, before heading off to see the mountains in Chiang Rai and around the Burmese border.

Normally, when I want to go somewhere, it's fairly straightforward. Go to the bus station, choose a destination and book a ticket. Easy as pie. I rarely make a strict itinary beforehand. I usually just think 'mountains', 'city' or 'beach' pick the right clothes, go to the right bus station and then see what happens.

This time though, it's not so simple. I'm moving out of my room too, so have to try and organise whats left of my stuff. What to take, what to leave with friends, what to give away and what to dump. It's proving to be a lot more difficult and time consuming than I first thought.

I also need to make some kind of plan for where I'm going to go. I want to stay at my friend's mum's for up to a month (basically until she, or the kids get bored of me...) but don't really want to be there on the long weekend (8,9,10th Dec...) too. I need to leave some of my stuff at her house, before I go onto Chiang Rai.

One thing that I need to work out is how to take my mountain bike on the bus, info. that's not easy for a foreigner to find. I gave up on Friday evening, after struggling to find my way through the - mainly Thai language - bus company websites. I called their call centres too, only to be put on hold or cut off countless times... Yesterday, I asked a Thai friend for help. They got further than me, but not much... Apparently, whether you can take more than one bag, or even a mountain bike on the bus or not is totally up to the driver. So, what do I do if the driver says no? Ask the bus company to refund my ticket and then buy another one when the driver OKs it ??? Live in Mor Chit until someone, somewhere finally agrees that it can be taken onboard ???

Once I get to Naan, I plan to head up to Chiang Rai and Phu Chi Far mountain. I've been wanting to go there for almost 2 years now, ever since I saw a friend's photo of the sunrise. It looked amazing. A big, steep cliff silhoutted against a firey red sky.

Last time I was in Chiang Rai, in March, I was advised against taking a trip there. It was the burning season. Most farmers were finding anything and everything green looking, then setting it on fire. Trekking up a smog filled mountain wouldn't have been much fun.

This time though, the weather, and the time of year should be ideal. So, whats the problem? Phu Chi Far's a place that Thai tourists like to go to. Foreigners who travel to Chiang Rai usually like to go to see the Golden Triange, to go trekking, ride elephants and visit hilltribes in the mountains, or to travel to Mae Sai (and Burma) or to Chiang Kong (and onto Loas.) It's not easy to find basic travel information (public transport, where to stay... etc...) in English. There's lots of photos on the net, of the mountain, the sunrise and of the crowds watching it on sites like this but bugger all info about how to actually get there. It's almost like the people that have already managed to make it there are taunting you... offering you the impossible. You can look, but you've got sod all chance of seeing it for real, especially if you can't read Thai.

Now, I've pretty much got all the information I need. But... its taken me me almost a day and a half to find it... and I like to think of myself as being net savvy...

I've given up on finding a nearby guesthouse. I want to camp and, am really excited about it. I've only ever camped in Thailand a few times, only once in the mountains (Tilosu National Park) and never, ever, in my own tent.

Tomorrow's Wednesday. I've a lot to do. More stuff to sort though. More errands to run. It's also my last ever English class for Godwill. I already know that I'm really going to miss the students that I teach.

Next Wednesday's the Kings birthday. It's also the last night I'll spent in my little room. Then... Next Thursday evening... It'll be time to finally hit the north... After days of bumming around Bangkok, trying to find contacts and travel info, it will be such a relief to finally get moving...

Only 8 more days to go... :) I can't wait...


Create Date : 27 พฤศจิกายน 2550
Last Update : 28 พฤศจิกายน 2550 1:11:36 น. 3 comments
Counter : 191 Pageviews.

 
Whoa! Sounded so exciting!
I hope you find a way to take your mountain bike with you. I reckon you can speak some Thai, you could ask the bus driver and offer them some money...I know I know...but I can imagine it will take special effort to find a space for it and they might appreciate that...well...what do I know...I have not lived there for nearly 20 years...and even when I did...I didn't do a lot of traveling anyway...so you know better than I do. Good luck. I'll check you out regularly

Been to Pai? I'll be going there with some university friends just before Christmas for a night or may be two. Just got back in touch with them when I went home last year. This year we planned a trip to Chiangmai where one friend teaches at the university and got a house, then on to Pai by a minibus. I don't really mind where we go as my main intention is to catch up with them. Another works with Destination Asia and she did all the bookings. I really look forward to the trip.
When you settle somewhere later on in the year, if you let me know I can always send you some English Breakfast tea bags....


โดย: Ta (ta/'o-o/' ) วันที่: 28 พฤศจิกายน 2550 เวลา:6:41:40 น.  

 
I've only ever been there one time, but Pai's really cool.. though it will be very busy at this time of year...

It's kind of like Khao San Road / Camden Market stuck at the edge of the mountains (but much, much better than that sounds.) I bet you any money that, if you talk to the English tourists, you'll find someone from Brighton. I met 2 girls and a guy from Sussex uni (amongst other people) when I was there.

I took loads of piccies of the trip. They're here.

//kerrieh.multiply.com/photos/album/7/Rafting_and_Chilling_in_Pai_Mae_Hong_Son_-_July_2007

I liked Pai a lot, but I liked Mae Hong Son much, much more... If I go into the mountains, I normally like to be somewhere nice and quiet...

Cheers for the offer... I'll let you know about the tea Bags... The plan at the moment is to backpack, and, once my money runs out, go back to England but... that was the plan 3 years ago too so, we'll see.


โดย: Kerrie IP: 58.9.148.94 วันที่: 28 พฤศจิกายน 2550 เวลา:11:02:34 น.  

 
Lovely pictures on your trip to Pai and Mae Hong Son. Been to both places once as well...
Can't wait to visit Pai again.
We were tinned in a song-taew on our way back from Pai to Mae Hong Son. I did feel sorry for all the sardines....


โดย: Ta (ta/'o-o/' ) วันที่: 28 พฤศจิกายน 2550 เวลา:17:21:22 น.  

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