Chiang Saen – Tha Ton – Chiang Dao – Chiang Mai

Twenty days on with 1,022 miles pedaled we have reached Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second largest city and our last stop before flying down to Bangkok on Wednesday evening.

We have seen some big Buddhas, this one at Tha Ton tops them all. Spot Gavin for scale.

The route down from Chiang Saen has been very beautiful with a few long and sometimes steep climbs up through the northern hills. Where possible, we have cycled quiet roads through villages and farmland – so much more enjoyable than some unavoidable stretches along big highways where the traffic noise and fumes get quite wearing. We have generally felt quite safe though.

Breakfast in Chiang Dao looking at Doi Luang, at 2,240 metres, Thailand’s third largest mountain

Despite an awful lot of broken glass on the roadsides we have had no punctures. However, we did have a couple of mechanical issues leaving Tha Ton. The two bolts that hold the eccentric bottom bracket on my bike had worked loose, resulting in some worrying clunking and lack of positivity. Gavin had to do something quite clever to his front cone nuts with a pedal wrench and adjustable spanner when his front wheel stopped spinning freely. Fortunately all running repairs held good.

Trimming chrysanthemum bushes, the flowers are dried for making tea, near Tha Ton

The Thai people are simply delightful and go out of their way to be helpful, none more so than the owner of The Reset Resort in Chiang Dao; we spent last night in one of the four guest cabins, set in a beautifully tended garden, he and his wife run as B&B accommodation. He is the happiest, most smiley person I have ever met. The extra blankets he got us were very welcome as the night time temperatures have plummeted.

Our happy host, with Gavin, wrapped up against the early morning chill

Two rice ricks complete with little top nots

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