After two easy days at Bamboo bungalows, it was the highest time to hit the road again. We left Peter on Thursday 23rd October and headed north to Huai Nam Dang National park where we wanted to camp. It was supposed to be very steep (the camp is at 1700m asl.) so we started early. We arrived in an entrance to the national park around midday but the hardest part was still waiting for us.
It took us an hour to push the bikes up, when we finally saw a sign “viewpoint”. Yey! The last hill, the last turn…and nothing. There were clouds everywhere so we couldn’t see anything. Nevermind. We went to check out a campsite. We didn’t expect much. Maybe a space for few tents and toilets? But we were shocked! There was a huge campsite for approx. 900 people and many excited Thai people everywhere. You can also hire camping gear and if you are lazy, there are some “ready to go tents”. But as I said, the campsite was big enough so we managed to find a quiet place where we were alone. We brewed tea and when clouds dissolved and we could see Myanmar in the distance, we were very happy.
Unfortunately it was cloudy in the morning so after a small breakfast we started descenting. As we mentioned before, Thai don’t bother with the sharpness of roads so we descented 500m in 5km. After that, the road was more pleasant and we could enjoy a beautiful dirt road among orange farms. That day we finished in a small village where we found cozy little chalets and experienced our first tropical rain (luckily in a dry place under a roof).
Briefly about looking for accommodation – we usually rely on Uncle Google together with websites booking.com and agoda.com. We start searching a day or two before, where and for how much and we often find something good. Ideally around 300-500 TBH. According that we plan our route.
The next day and the next national park. This time Chiang Dao NP with a village of the same name on the other side of the hill. The weather got better so we could enjoy a beautiful scenery – tall limestone towers and jungle everywhere in between. Without words we descented to the village and went to the Nest – a restaurant with the most delicous thai food in the country. It was a really nice experience and a change after all fried rice and noodles. We spent another day in Chiang Dao to explore a karst cave, markets and cafes and to do a laundry too.
On Monday we changed our plan and headed over a hill and over another national park to the town Phrao. The route was fine so we found ourselves in the town after 1pm. As usual we went to eat something first and then to accommodate. Before dark we went for a dinner and around 9pm we were ready to sleep. A boring life of two bikepackers 🙂
After Phrao we moved to Chai Prakarn to buy some food (noodles and cookies) and get ready for two days in the mountains. The first day was supposed to be steep. But…It was bloody steep. I hiked the bike most of the way and had to stop every 20 steps or so to catch my breath. I crawled in a ridiculous pace 2km/h. Only thanks cheerings and tootings of drivers passing by, I didn’t throw my bike to a ditch. After 3 hours of suffering we were on the top. At an entrence to the Doi Ang Khang National Park and also to a campsite. Huray! And it was again another amazing camp with a view of cities and mountains and national parks which we visited.
As a bonus we got a beautiful sunrise the following morning. After that we packed everything a headed down to the village Ang Khang which is actually more a botanic garden and a holiday resort. After we ate some food there and bought local nuts, dried fruits and tea we started climb again. We visited a small village Nor Lae which is home for Palaung people – one of many hill tribes living in hills around.
We were fascinated of local old women wearing beautiful traditional dresses and eventually we stoped at the end of the village. There was a checkpoint and a soldier probably more confused then us. He just said we couldn’t go, there is Myanmar. We wanted to follow the road down to Thailand but part of the road is already in Myanmar and only local people from the village are allowed to cross the border. We had to turn around and pedal back to the campsite where we decided to stay.
The next day was about downhill back to main road and then we pushed almost 60km to the village Thaton where we stayed for two nights…