The mountain roads in the north west of Thailand had been recommended to us, so we headed to the Myanmar border at Mae Sok and started what was to be nearly a week of stunning roads. Pretty much all were in superb condition, with endless sharp corners and steep switchbacks – great for the soul, not so good for the fuel economy!
The whole week was full of beautiful scenery, although the constant haze from the heat and forest fires cut the viability right down. We spent one night camping in the national park. The road up to it was pretty steep, but the views were great, and the national park campsite is well equipped. At least, it would have been in the high season. When we went there it was almost completely shut up, but the toilets were still mostly functional, and we had the place completely to ourselves. Most importantly, it was high enough to be blissfully cool at night. In the morning, we took a crazy ‘road’ back down the hill. It’s marked as a track for 4x4s only, and is utterly impassable in the wet season, but in April, at end of the dry season, it was sandy and dusty, and the Beaut was amazing! A few heart in mouth moments though, especially when the road just dropped away on one (or both!) sides. Great fun…!
If I’m honest, we rushed Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. We got antsy and wanted to get to Laos. That’s not to say we didn’t enjoy the downtime we had in Chiang Mai – we had some great meals, stayed in a lovely guesthouse, and met some really nice people – including the honorary consuls of both the UK and of Ireland, but we didn’t really stay long enough to do it justice. We’ll put it on the list for next time!