One of the great things about riding your own motorbike in Thailand is that you are not limited to touristy areas.
Making a splash
On our second day in the Mae Sai area we rode around Jong Soi village and got to what looked like a little market - a few stalls at the end of a dirt road. We stopped to buy some water and rest. Raz was walking over to the tree line at the edge of the market to sit down in the shade, when I heard him say "Wow! This is awesome!".
Just below the tree line there was a slow river and next to the river stacks of tubes. Tubes + River + 35C = lots of fun.
We attracted quite a bit of attention because we were the only Falangs there and the only adults splashing around in the water. :D
Tham Luang Cave
At around 11am we decided to move on. An old man who sold balloons at the tubing place told us about a cave in the area called Tham Luang. We were very happy we followed his directions, because this turned out to be one of the coolest caves we visited in SE Asia.
According to the map at the cave entrance Tham Luang cave is about 6 kms long, although I'm not sure you can access the whole cave without special equipment. Armed with my smartphone's flashlight app we went in to explore.
The chamber at the entrance is quite impressive. We were the only people there and it was a bit creepy. Rumor has it that there is a secret passage in this cave that leads across the border into Burma.
Once we reached the third chamber we stopped to take a photo of a small table and chairs we found in a corner. It was during our photo experiments that we realized that we were pretty deep in the cave and it was probably not a good idea to do this with only one light source (my phone). It was pitch black when we turned off the light. So we turned back.
After we got out of the cave I played around with the CBR a little bit, learning how to shift gears. To Razvan's horror I dropped the bike (it's just so tall and heavy!!) but the bike was fine.
Up into the mountain
Next off, we wanted to find a way to go as high up on the mountain as possible. This is how we discovered Regional Road 1149. It's an awesome stretch of road weaving in and out of Thailand on the peaks of the Doi Nang Non mountains.
The border is not really marked by anything. It was really cool to stand on the peak and see Myanmar (Burma) on one side and Thailand on the other.
I later found out that the mountain we were driving on is called Doi Nang Non. Legend has it that the mountain is actually the spirit of a broken hearted princess who died in the forest. Spirits come up a lot in Thai culture and many Thais genuinely belive in ghosts.
We were very happy we had a powerful bike, because the road was very steep and narrow at times. It was so great to be up on the mountain in the afternoon. The air was fresh and it smelled like pine trees.
We found a village along the road, high up on the mountain and stopped to check it out. The houses were built on steep terrain.
People here were acting a bit strange and I don't think they were too happy with us being there.
On our way back to our place we passed by a temple: Wat Phrathat Doi Tung. This temple is over a thousand years old. Just outside the temple there is a small restaurant where we had a delicious fried rice.
On the temple grounds we saw a strange collection of statues in the forest.
I think these statues might be related to Animism which coexists happily with Buddhism in Thailand. People left food and what looks like fake paper money next to these statues.
Someone told us that people are making these offerings to their dead ancestors. This bank note must be for someone's mother in law.
We got back to our guesthouse just as the sun was setting and our nice hosts invited us to have dinner with them. It was a great day!