An account of cycling from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai: part one
Saturday 2nd January
We exited Chiang Mai on the larger 107 road, and then just before Mae Rim turned off onto the smaller and quieter Chiang Mai – Phrao road instead.
We had decided to break up what would have been a long day to Phrao into two short days, as I thought that we should visit the Buatong Waterfall.
Our plan to stay at the Buatong Resort fell through when we turned up and the place was closed. The locals I asked didn’t know of another place to stay, which meant we faced another 30 miles to Phrao. This led to the emergence of Grumpy Eric. But like a good sport he still agreed to take a 4 mile deviation to see the waterfall.
It was very rustic, but quite cute with a good view out the back.
Buatong Waterfall is nicknamed the “Sticky Waterfall”, because although the rocks look slippery they are in fact the opposite – super grippy, which means that you can walk right up the waterfall with total ease.
My only mistake was wearing a backpack full of our electronic gadgets. I try not to leave our valuable stuff behind in our accommodation, but the upshot of this was that I was walking up and down a waterfall carrying an iPad, a camera, a kindle and two mobile phones (I hadn’t realised quite how much we would be walking around this waterfall). Luckily the Sticky Waterfall lived up to its name, and I didn’t ruin hundreds of pounds worth of equipment!
Close to the waterfall is the Ched-Sri Fountain, a very beautiful and almost magical-looking spring. From its depths we could see some kind of mineral cloud bubbling up now and then.
Thai people were using a bucket on a long stick to take a sip of water from the spring, as well as rubbing the water on their heads. There’s a story that a god created the spring, so I think that drinking/touching the water has religious significance for Thai people, though perhaps it’s meant to have health benefits too. Knowing what iron-clad stomachs Thai people have, me and Eric decided not to partake.
Sunday 3rd January
We were on the road by the leisurely hour of 8.30 as we only had a half day today. Once back on the Chiang Mai – Phrao road we sped down into a valley and cycled alongside some beautiful mountains.
We passed through little villages and farmland. It was all very nice and easy going, and what’s more, we had a cornetto for breakfast (in the middle of the Thai countryside enjoying a cornetto – thank you globalisation).
After passing right through Phrao we stopped off at the Poo Phrao Guest House (tee hee). This place is surrounded by mountains, it’s pretty lovely.