Tag Archives: Tha Ton

Tha Ton to Chiang Khong, the long way!

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Tha Ton is a sleepy little village right next to the border with Burma.  I was invited up for lunch with a nice group of Thai women who were on holiday from Bangkok, staying in the local temple complex. Napa and her ‘city’ friends had come up for a week of yoga and getting up at 3am with the monks for praying (only I encountered them the previous night on a night off getting hammered at the local bar!)  It turns out anyone can stay in temple accommodation – all that is needed is a donation to the temple at the end of your stay.

The ferry down to Chiang Rai from Tha Ton is quite the experience – even for an adrenaline junkie like me.

Wee boat with HUGE engine.

Half a dozen of us were making the trip that day, trusting our lives with the driver who was weaving in and out of the rocks and rapids, all the while at a fair old lick.

Once in Chiang Rai, I quickly found a bed for the night, and started wandering the streets to stumble into a….pre-teen beauty pageant where girls as young as 6 were dolled up and put on the back of floats/rickshaws.  It was all very strange I have to say.  It was made even more strange by the fact that it was absolutely tipping it down with rain and those who didn’t have umbrellas just continued to sit there soaked to the skin smiling away and waving at the crowd as the spectators cowered in shop fronts.

The next day I headed  north with a view to catching a ferry to Laos & Luang Probang.  I ended up missing a turning and almost ended up in  Burma, so tracked the road down past the Golden Triangle, where Laos, Thailand and  Burma meet. I finally made it to Chiang Khong after 145km in one day.  Epic.

The number at the bottom is how far I have cycled to date.

Finally, for those of you who have been following my blog, but have not yet donated to my charity, please do so.  I know how many people read my blog and it’s about time you paid for it!!  Any amount is good, so long as it’s got a zero after it! 😉

http://www.justgiving.com/JohnnyMcManmon

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Blowing Raspberries at dogs.

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I stayed in Malee’s nature bungalows near Chiang Dao last night.  While there, I visited a temple close by which involved walking up over 500 steps through the forest.  Every hundred yards or so there was a saying nailed to a tree which very cleverly gave you something to think about as you puffed up the next set of steps which meandered through an awesome forest.  At the top you entered a shallow cave which had become a bit of a shrine to a monk who had died.  A very peaceful place deep in the forest.

The next morning I set off at the crack of dawn,  (I know it’s an early start when I catch the monks doing their rounds offering prayers in exchange for money – door to door) as I knew I had another big day.  Thankfully it turned out to be one of the coolest days I have seen so far.  Having started so early, I was on the lookout for somewhere to get a coffee, when 2 pretty aggressive dogs took chase down the road – no need for a coffee after that I can tell you!  I don’t think the dogs here are used to seeing pushbikes, which are obviously silent.   The answer was  to make motorbike noises as I approached other dogs which the they seemed to understand, though I got a couple of strange looks from the locals.   I made it to Tha Ton right up north by the Burmese border by about 1pm – I had just missed the ferry down to Chiang Rai so am staying here tonight.

Finally, I couldn’t help but notice how this road sign I saw today is similar to one we have in the UK, though it is subtly different.  Thailand’s good education system has even made it onto road signs – the children actually carry books!