Day 2 of riding Chiang Khong to Thoeng 80kms
Another misty morning of riding to keep things cool but sadly blocking our views of the Mighty Mekong River. However, the sun slowly burnt off the moisture hanging in the air and marvellous picturesque views suddenly came into sight. The mountain ranges off to the right towards Chiang Rai in the distance as we cycled along hugging the hinterland very close to our left.
Passing through small villages it was obvious that rice cutting season is well under way in the North as locals farmers dry their crops on the roadside and on the footpaths after cutting their crops before the winter.
Local school children parade on the streets as we ride along indicating that things are under way for more celebrations during the winter months and harvesting season in the Chiang Rai district.
The Phi Pan Nam mountains and their wide intermontane basins dominate the landscape of the district. The 1,328 m high Doi Luang Pae Mueang massif rises west of Chiang Khong town. The Mekong River flows at the northern end of the district, partially forming the boundary with Laos. Another important river is the Ing, a tributary of the Mekong.
Neighboring districts are (from the southeast clockwise) Wiang Kaen, Khun Tan, Phaya Meng Rai, Wiang Chiang Rung, Doi Luang, Chiang Saen of Chiang Rai Province. To the east is Bokeo Province of Laos.
Due to its location, the district forms a gateway to the neighboring country. Communication is mostly by boat, including the popular slow boat to Luang Prabang. Also bus travel on Asian Highway 3 from Ban Houayxay across the river to Boten at the Chinese-Laotian boundary is available. The Fourth Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge crossing the river opened mid-December 2013
Some Northern foods are high on the agenda after burning heaps of calories during the day. A cyclists can burn up to 5,000 calories or even more after smashing the mountains on some very steep inclines . Delicious foods have been on offer so far on route and much more to come to replace those burnt calories such as ; Hotpot, Gaang Hang - Lair, Jin Dup, and Kow Gan Jin being just a few so far.
Hot Pot - A small clay or aluminium pot filled with an outstanding aromatic broth sits over a bed of charcoal. There are raw morning glory , cabbage , thin sliced meats (usually pork, beef and liver), beaten eggs, glass noodles, and the all important holy Thai basil.
Gaang hang-lair - Burmese in origin (hang is a corruption of the Burmese hin, meaning curry), this curry, which unites fatty pork belly, a mild spice mixture, and fresh ginger and garlic, is a regular at festivals and ceremonies – and restaurants – in northern Thailand.
Jîn đúp - A tough, grainy cut of beef, marinaded, grilled then thwacked with a sledgehammer until tender producing a jîn đúp, one of the more unique dishes in the northern Thai culinary repertoire.
Kôw gân jîn - An intimidating, yet popular and delicious snack in Mae Hong Son, this dish consists of rice mixed with blood and minced pork, steamed in a banana leaf package and served with a generous drizzle of garlic oil.
More to come on the long ride home as we continue down the Thai Laos border.
Truck Sams and crew in Northern Thailand