Touring Thailand

 

Touring Thailand


Bangkok or Bust

Chiang Mai to Bangkok

Part II

On The Road Again...

Heading South Highway 1

Route Map, Lampang to Tak

It was an early start again and the roads were fairly quiet pulling out of Lampang. Once I'd joined highway 1 the way south is pretty straightforward, a few curves here and there while you leave the higher ground behind.

A long way till Bangkok, but all the more for interesting things on the way. The next stop off would be the provincial city of Tak. Never even heard of the place to be honest so it'd be interested to see what it has to offer.

Last of the big mountain ranges.

Highway 1 Mountains

I saw a big trucks trailer collapsed down the side of the road, a few crowds surrounded it, but I had no time to stop and the police were already in attendance. There didn't look to be any casualties thankfully.

Further and further down the highway I go.

Highway 1

I got lucky and missed the rain here

Thai Police Checkpoint

You're typical police checkpoint, they are all over the place when you get away from cities. Make sure you throttle back when coming to these, don't be powering through at more than 50 - 70 kph, otherwise they get annoyed.
Although they occasionally check vehicles, bikes don't usually get stopped.

The rain wasn't just gonna disperse it was a case of literally letting the cloud pass in the distance until I could move forward.

Dodging the Rain

It's worth mentioning that when there's rainfall the lane which is (usually) the 'slow' car lane (the center lane) doesn't have as much water puddles as the narrow bike lane does. The best lane is the 'fast' lane, the right hand lane.

Highway 1 WetHighway 1

Highway 1 Thailand

Hang a right-hand turn here for Tak, or left if you want to swing on towards Sukhothai.

Highway 1 - Tak Turnoff

Head down here then take a left, depending on which part of Tak you want to go into. If you go straight on the river lies in your way though. From there you can hang a left and proceed down the market road of Tak.

Tak

Tak Market Road

Thailand usually has a lot of choice for places to stay but here in Tak this whole concept is turned on its head. The municipal size is small and so is the urban density. Not much traffic but also not much going on.
Finding a place to stay here is a nightmare if you want cheap digs. My shoulders were burning and the heat was on again as I roved the small city for somewhere to rest for the night. After over half an hour I even tried what looked to be the palatial hotel massage complex (knowing they usually have rooms for rent) but with the gates barring entry, it was now closed.

Tak, Old Abandoned Hotel

With that plan binned even the local whorehouse looked appealing.
I found a large place with an open plan lobby, it wasn't a hotel though and the inhabitants mentioned a hotel with a vague pointed gesture and giving it an incomprehensible thai name. I asked how far but for some reason the thai folk here don't do distance so off I went again, almost ready to bed down in the restaurant if need be. The search was over soon enough though, I found a Hotel by the Ping River, the only hotel in town for that matter! It had replaced the deserted hotel pictured earlier.

They wanted the princely sum of 1000 baht per night, which I knew was bs, after several friendly haggling's the price was at a more reasonable 550 baht. A laughing policeman nearby chuckled at our whimsical exchanges then got back to his paper. I thought it was kinda cool having a policeman just hanging out in the hotel, it gave it a sense of purpose and, I suppose more of an excuse for the high prices too.

I'd gambled on the rains coming again by about 12:00 pm and was happy to be in a hotel all sorted for the night for about 11:00 am. I wasn't far off, 45 minutes later the heavens opened for about an hour, cooling everyone down as they scurried to shelter!

As I wrote up this report two chunky thai women, more than likely dykes, sat nearby and were gabbling away with farang this, farang that juxtaposing itself into the conversation. Even though we white folk have been wandering the lands of Thailand for hundreds of years now, we are still looked upon with a somewhat skewed stance, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. Time and time again I notice this in Thailand, I don't think times change thai mentality on this matter.

The rain came again and it was interesting to see that olde style tuk tuks are in fashion out here.

Tuk Tuk - Tak

This was another fly-in visit, I was planning on hitting the road again pretty early tomorrow. There are some things to peruse while staying here though.

The main thing in town is the broad market road that dominates the town. In times gone by the river would of brought in the various wares, now it's mainly the roads that bring them.

Tak Market Road

It seems the financial crisis is now hitting the mainstream, even in remote provincial Thailand:

Financial Crisis Book in Thailand!

I saw a few of these birds in cages for sale, I'm not a bird watching kinda guy but I think the Thais buy these for good luck.

Thai Honey Shop

The Great Galt brought the whole honey thing to my attention and I've of walked past these seemingly innocuous bottles otherwise...

Thai Honey Shop

Honey bottles like the ones pictured are prized by thais. The bees and honey quality are considered superior to the ordinary stuff in the supermarkets. You only see this stuff in the provincial cities and towns normally so it's worth a look-in.

Saw this out-place-statue at a posh looking house just down from the market.

Gnesh Statue

This looks to be Ganesh, the Hindu god of prosperity! There must be an Indian family living nearby. Hopefully Ganesh'll spin some luck if I play my cards right!

The Farang Factor : Hardly any, just a couple and a foursome who didn't look like they were hanging around for long.

To continue to Part 3, click here

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Chang Mai Province Phitsanulok Bangkok Koh Tao Koh Pang Yan Koh Samui