Day 18 : 8th October 2019
Again the host hosted us to a great breakfast (some sort of soup and rice mixed together and with donuts and Malaysian tea) and we had those just watching the 2 fountains jetting out hot water into the air. What better way to start the day with?. We started our ride at 9 am and now we have a total of 6 bikes (host Tom started leading us and Naren took care of the tail) and his girlfriend backed us in a car.
Again a hot day and Tom had planned some sightseeing and a relaxing ride day. We stopped at Bai Orchid & Butterfly farms and we spent some time seeing nature’s wonders. I haven’t seen a single flower with so many colors and shades like orchids and don’t even know the name of some of the colors. Fellow encyclopedia told that a new color or breed can be formed by cross-pollination of 2 different varieties of orchids. Very interesting to know that and my knowledge of trees, plants, or flowers is close to zero.
Also, the farm had an enclosed area for butterflies and again nature’s work on colors or designs can be seen. On this ride, lots of butterflies would have been killed (hitting my helmet on the way and sorry for that) but seeing so many butterflies in different colors made me feel guilty. Suggest me any method of avoiding butterflies while riding. The next step is to “Tiger Kingdom” for a charge of 100 Thai Baht and you get access to free & fast Wi-Fi and seeing the tigers from a distance. The fees are to enter the kingdom and see the tigers from a distance. These tigers have been trained and they allow you to enter their zone and take pictures/videos with them. They show their aggressive attitude but the trainers control them. Huge tigers and most of them were 3-4 years old and they also have one white tiger cub. There is an additional fee for entering their zone and the white tiger cub was the costliest ( believe it was 1100 Thai Baht).
I don’t like tigers being in captive zone and didn’t go in. Manish and few more went in and had a great time with the tigers. While sitting at the lounge area, i started taking to Tom about wildlife and conveyed my views on this captive issue. He explained “That Thailand doesn’t have any tiger killing regulations and its better for them to survive in such captive location rather than getting killed”. I go with him on this and hope the Thai government brings out some regulations on protecting this big and wild beast. Both the Orchid farm and tiger kingdom are in Chiang Mai province. That’s it and now the time to start our journey on Mae Hong Son loops. Naren had told me that we would be doing more than 1800 turns or curves and that started today and expected it to continue for the next 3 days.
After doing the 500 Km ghat section, this beautiful and potholeless ghat section was not that difficult to maneuver except for the steep ascent or descent. Continuous turns keeps you awake (even after a sumptuous lunch in one of the restaurants on top of the ghat section) and you would enjoy this 4 lane loops for sure. Suggest all the riders or drivers to mark this loop and do it once. Thai bikers uses this way like I use any straight highway in India. We started late and didnt travel much and reached our destination called Pai.
We crossed a metal bridge built by Japanese during world War II on top of river Pai and I could only imagine the scene during that time. Seen lots of world War movies (Bridge on River Kwai) and can feel how the area would have been during world War. Hope we don’t get to see any such war again in the future. Pai is like Goa where westerners settles their bum for weeks or months and enjoy the evenings. They sleep for the entire day and come out late in the evening. Even the shops started getting ready after 7 pm only. We placed our bags at the hotel (beautiful place on the banks of river pai) and took a quick shower and went to the market place.
Nothing was happening and we had been told that the place becomes lively at 10 pm. We went around and saw a massage parlour and our body started asking us to go in. Me and Naren went in for a good Thai body massage (clean and not the dirty one) and checked ourselves in for an hour massage (should have gone for 2 hours massage). Charges for an hour is 200 Thai Baht and the elderly lady asked me to place my body on cushioned mattress. It was a large room and could see around 8 people getting the body twisted and turned.
This lady (for that matter every one here) started using her body to stretch and pull each muscle of my body and ensured every inch is attended to. I thought I would sleep immediately but the stretches kept me awake during the entire time. At one point, she pushed her feet on my back and pulled my hands and I heard multiple sounds coming out of my body. It was like doing all yoga asanas with some assistance. Felt really tired while entering and came out fresh and decided to get a massage done when I find time during the rest of the ride.
While coming out, saw the rest of the gang entering and I thought of getting another hour done inside the massage parlour. This place is only about bars and restaurants and we placed our bums in the bar opposite to the parlour and ordered couple of drinks. Started chatting with Naren (first time during the trip I was having one one one with him) and later joined by Manish and Ganesh sir (one of the encyclopedias). Around 9:45 pm, Tom and others went to one of the loud music bars and Naren/Manish went to join them. I don’t like loud music and came back to my room to get a good sleep.
Tomorrow we continue to ride on the Mae Hong Son loops and expect to cover 300 kms of ghat section and the loops. Note : ° Those who are reading my travelogue using “Incredible India by Road – 2018”, please check out my Instagram or Facebook personal profile. ° Wi-Fi speed is not great and I am not sending lots of videos and pictures. Will start a YouTube channel later and add the unseen ones to it.