Cycling in Northern Thailand: Day 4 – A Shift in Direction

We woke at the campsite in Mae Sap aka “The Garden” to a beautiful view of the surrounding area with the clouds settled around the hills below us as the sun arose above the clouds.

After packing up all our stuff we went back to the Cafe in Mae Sap for breakfast and discussed the best option to take to Pai to avoid the rocky dirt tracks.

Speaking with Pha Yong it was suggested that we avoid the rocky dirt tracks by taking a longer more scenic route to Wat Chan and then turning back towards Pai from there. It would be a much longer route, but also much more scenic with much better riding conditions. Pha Yong and his brother agreed to give us a ride in his 4×4 to Ban Mae Jum to avoid the dirt track and then we could continue from there on better roads.

We said goodbye to all of Pha Yong’s family, then lifted the bikes onto the back of the 4×4, and climbed into the back with them. As we got back into the dirt track we could feel the vibration from the 4×4 making its way through the rocky road, we bounced around as did the vehicle off the big rocks and large pot holes.

Eventually we got to a small shop in Ban Mae Jum, we said goodbye to Pha Yong and his brother, grabbed some snacks for the road and carried on along our way.

There were still quite a few dirt tracks and big hills, the sun was intense as we pushed on through some rugged terrain. The idea was to push through this stretch until we reached the 1349 where we’d have better road conditions.

After a long day of cycling in the Thai heat, with some very steep climbs, the hours ticked on and before long it was getting dark, and the clouds opened up. Luckily as the rain started we managed to find a piece of farmland with a small raised platform that had a roof. We parked the bikes up, got the panniers off and quickly climbed over the gate into the farm, then checked out the platform while avoiding the rain.

The platform was a little flimsy and had a few tools scattered around, it was the perfect escape from the heavy rain but it looked like it had been used quite recently. We pitched the tent ⛺ on the platform and made a plan to move on first thing the next day before the farmers arrived, hence we set the alarm ⏰ for 4:20am with the hope of leaving before 5am.

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