Mae Hong Son Loop – part 2

Friday 27th October 2023 – Nam Lod

We leave Pai late morning. We are in no rush as we are only going 50kms away. Around Nam Lod are many caves popular with tourists.

Once we are settled in the guesthouse, in our cute bungalow set in the jungle, we ride off with the scooters to have a look at the biggest cave: Lod cave. We arrive at the site. It’s enormous and has many stalls selling the usual things.

We look at the map outside. The cave is enormous with a shallow river, and you can get a guided tour sitting on bamboo rafts, or guided walking tours. I don’t fancy any of those and not feeling that great yet.

Alistair agrees it’s not for us. We have visited plenty of caves in our travels, some solo myself as Alistair would be too claustrophobic for some of those. Today is not the day for another cave exploration.

My stomach is still not well and even with 3 Imodium, we still had to have an emergency stop at a view point on the way to Nam Lod. Luckily they had toilets.

Saturday 28th October 2023 – Mae Hong Son

Early morning, Alistair goes to the shop ( the ubiquitous 7-Eleven) to get some supplies and water. I ask him to stop at the pharmacy to get me some Imodium as we did not pack many for this loop. Remember most of our luggage is stored at the bike shop in Chiang Mai.

Anyway, Alistair comes back with Imodium and 10 tablets of antibiotics. Apparently the pharmacist, after few questions, said that many tourists in Thailand get ill from a common bacteria in the food. Taking Imodium will not solve ( or more precisely flush!) the problem. As we are on the move, I need to take Imodium so the antibiotic will kill the bugs.

Then it is time to leave. Our next stop for the night, Mae Hong Son, is about 140kms but we plan a detour. Half way, we pick up a turn north, toward the border with Myanmar. The road up to the (closed) border is supposed to be very nice.

After few miles we stop for a late breakfast at a little shack with a stunning view point. We have our usual coffee with rice and fried eggs.

The road up the mountain is really nice with steep tight curves. We pass one check point were the soldiers wave us through. About 28 kms or so from the main road turn off we are stopped at another check point. According to Google comments, we need a special permit to get through.

The friendly young soldier asks us where we are going ( we guess as we don’t speak Thai and he does not speak English). Alistair shows him on Google map, on his phone, that we want to get to a viewpoint about 3 kms away. The lad smiles, agrees and let us through.

As we keep climbing, it starts raining. Now, on our motorbikes, with full motorcycle gear, we would ignore the rain, but we are on small scooters, riding in t-shirts, shorts, and trainers. Our only protection is a flimsy open face crash helmet. It gets cold very quickly and we decide to turn back. We put on our thin plastic jackets and ride down to the check point. We ride through, waving at the smiley soldiers, who, in return make a military salute. Thai people as so sweet and friendly! So far it has been rare to meet grumpy or unfriendly people.

We arrive at Mae Hong Son mid afternoon and after settling in a small family run guesthouse, we go for a walk.

In the evening the town is mobbed. It is “Big Buddha Day” the following day and festivities have already started. The night market is enormous and absolutely full of locals, the roads lined with hundreds of scooters. People are eating out, buying lots of items from the multitude of food stalls, offering anything from meat balls to noodles, rice, soups etc…

The town is pleasant enough and we decide to stay another day to recover and plan ahead.

We have rented the scooters for 7 days so we still have 3 days lefts to make it to Chiang Mai.

Sunday 29th October 2023 – Mae Hong Son

We spend the day relaxing, planning, booking some bus tickets and hotels. Int he evenings we ride to the temple high in the hills. There is a beautiful view from up there.