It’s been a while since we’ve visited SE Asia, so today we’d like to share the story of travel blogger Jamie Gault’s unforgettable trip to NorthernThailand, where he witnessed the true beauty of Thailand.We have yet to ride scooters in SE Asia, but after reading Jamie’s story, you can bet we’ll consider purchasing travel insurance if we do.
Whilst much of Thailand has been touched with the chalice of tourism, the unexplored northern regions of Thailand provide the chance to escape the white sandy beaches and bustling cities. Here, you can surround yourself with views that extend out into the horizon, filled with quiet, recluse farming villages and surrounded by the untouched forests and rolling hills.
When staying in Chiang Mai with my travel buddy Murdoch, we had the perfect chance to experience the region on the back of two trusty scooters.We set out early in the morning and, unbeknownst to us, that day would turn into a road trip of highs and lows. We headed north on route 1001, through thick traffic on the outskirts of Chiang Mai.
With over-sized trucks, tuk tuks and motor bikes speeding past, it was hard to focus on the mountains ahead. But after each set of traffic lights, the commotion decreased, until we were left with nothing but the amazing feeling of fresh air, freedom and the open road.
North Thailand holds some of the best scenery in the country. Far from the bright lights of Bangkok or the mornings spent hungover on Koh Phi Phi, you are immersed in a cooler climate that both refreshes and awakens your body and spirit.
From the national parks in the Phrao and Pai Districts that are home to imposing mountains, forests and windy roads perfect for a motorbike trip, to the remote Mekong River towns full of temples and mountain scenery, there is much to explore.
After a quick food break in the Phrao District, the road began to ascend towards the clouds. Along the way, the air became cooler, the dusts of low grounds dissipated, and the quiet noises of nearby waterfalls could be heard clearly amongst the silence. We made a spontaneous detour down into the depths of the rich green forests until we were met with the sight of rushing white water. We discovered the Bua Tong Waterfall, where the rushing water descending from the Seven Colors Springs cut through the forest. The sound of the raging waterfall was music to our ears, compared to the obnoxious horns of Tuk Tuks in Bangkok.
We hoped back on our bikes and headed further and further into the mountains. The ascent was slight and hardly noticeable, until we passed local bicycle riders toiling up the slopes. Their tensed calves and strained faces showed us that the road was much steeper than we initially thought.
We passed several villages along the way, with huts strung together from the most basic of materials. The hill tribes sat and watched their children play freely without a care in the world, barely noticing us as we rode by.
The hill tribes of northern Thailand retain much of their traditions, despite the relentless development elsewhere in the country. It’s this lifestyle, with the backdrop of rivers and mountains, that captured our attention, especially when compared to the flashing neon of the south.
We paused regularly on our climb. The views continued to impress the deeper we travelled.
After reaching the peak of the rolling hills of the Si Lanna National Park, we began our decline. The roads were still drying from the recent rainfall but the sun made another appearance. The steepness of the hills were now more evident, as was the slow realization that we were very much alone in this isolated region. We started to question whether we would make it back before sunset.
We picked up our pace and zoomed past a family in a pickup truck, the first and only car we had seen for hours.
Suddenly, half the road found itself beneath a hoard of shrubs. I tried to avoid the shrubs but lost control of my grip. Within a blink, my bike went flying to my left towards the railings and my body awkwardly glided down the road.
I had crashed my scooter in the middle of no where.
I sat on the railing and licked my wounds. I was in pain, but aside from feeling like a total cliché and having my ego beaten to a pulp, I made the most out of the situation. The family driving the pickup truck that we passed moments earlier rounded the corner and saw that I was in bad shape. They stopped to help and took me to the closest hospital. It was quite the experience, one that showed me a different side of Thailand’s beauty – it’s genuinely kind people. I don’t know what I would have done if that family hadn’t stopped to help me on the remote mountain road.
No one plans to have an accident when travelling, but isn’t it ironic that the stories about travel mishaps are the ones we tell over and over again? Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or comments. You also can subcribe and like this article if you feel it is useful!