This blog has been provided by BALDBRADY’S BLOG for Inspire.
I’m sitting in a bar/restaurant (mostly bar) writing on my iPhone while sipping a Singha beer and waiting for my dinner to come. After checking in to the Sleeping Tree Hotel in Fang, I took an hour-long rest before heading out on a mission. The mission was find a beer and food. Harder than I thought. Turns out this town has many restaurants that have food and no beer, and many bars with with dodgy food or no food at all. I ended up choosing the latter of course. I’m now at the “Mahanakornfang” which roughly translates as “BigimportantcityofFang”. The place is just beginning to fill up, my guess it’s pretty popular on Friday night. I’ll be in bed by the time things heat up here. But back to the start…
This morning I was up by 7:00 and saddled up by 7:30. No breakfast here. So I headed north towards the town of Phrao. Turns out the Phrao Basin is not really flat. A 1 km hill greeted me almost immediately. Not steep, but it still worked as good as coffee to wake me up and get me in a lather. I arrived in Phrao about 45 min later.
Phrao is a really small town, which surprised me a little because it is an amphoe – the equivalent to a county seat in the USA. Basically it’s a one block town. I made the complete circuit and found an empty restaurant that was just opening. I fueled up on my go-to dish of Pad Grabow Moo (spicy fried pork with chilies and basil). If I am ever executed, this would be my request for my last meal.
I rode west – oh my food has come! … Now I’m back in the Sleeping Tree – I better finish this soon because I am knackered good. Where was I? I rode west of out of town through the rolling hills covered with fruit orchids. As I approached the western range front, I had a choice to make – take the main road west through the mountains, or take the road less travelled which goes over the mountains to the north. I chose the north.
Google street view showed a reasonably paved road winding its way north, but what it didn’t show was all the up and downs, nor how steep the climbs were. Two 1 km hills went straight up; I had no choice but to dismount and push my bike. The first of these was so steep I could barely get my bike up it.
Although this route was brutally mountainous, I was amply rewarded with views like this.
I finally emerged from the mountains by about 2 pm and joined the main Chiang Mai to Fang highway. Unlike Phrao, the Fang Basin is a pancake – with the additional benefit of a constant stream of traffic whooshing by me and providing a nice draft. However the ride was far from pleasant. About 30 km south of Fang, the route turns into a Thai version of one of those endless strips of busy roads that lead into so many towns in the US. I rode through 30 km of roadside markets, car dealers, factories, 18 wheelers, and endless road construction. However civilization has it perks. I stopped at a huge gas station plaza and bought myself a well deserved Coke Zero. I also proved the common adage that “hunger makes the best spice” by having a DELICIOUS meal from Five Star Chicken, Thailand’s version of KFC in a push cart.
I arrived finally at my hotel in Fang. An excellent workout today. This town is a bustling place with lots of dusty traffic. I’m not sure what is driving their economy, but it seems to be somewhat of a boom town.
You know what happened from here already – so now it’s time for a nice long sleep. Talk to you from my next stop.
This blog was written for inspire by https://baldbrady.com/2017/11/10/november-10-2017-bike-tour-of-northern-thailand-the-road-less-traveled-phrao-to-fang/