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Mohan, Boten, Chiang Khan, Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai

Just arrived at Riders Corner in Chiang Mai

Am currently sitting with an ice cold beer and steak for lunch at Rider’s Corner in Chiang Mai run by Phil and his wife. Great food, great company, cold beer, great music, comfortable room, bike mechanic, Triumph dealer and service centre next door. What more could I need? Even if you’re not a biker come and stay here next time you’re in Chiang Mai. Love it. And Journey on the juke box!

Here’s the story of the last few days …

Got to the China/Laos border at Mohan without any problem. Mostly express highway all the way – getting shouted at by the toll gate guards everytime, but I just lift the front of my helmet so they can see I’m just an idiot tourist, I grin like a mad fool and shout “lovely to meet you too” – that seems to work most of the time. On the odd occasion it doesn’t work, I load the bike onto the back of a pick up, hide in the back then a mile down the road, drop it off the back and ride on. Nice.

So, Mohan. Stange new town that looks like it was all built a week last wednesday. Everything is wet so I do my best to dry everything out to no avail. It’s about 90% humidity so no chance.

A final dinner with Mad Frankie Fan and Geordie Sh, more donkey cock vodka, beer and apricot vodka.

Mohan to Laos

Mad Frankie Fan, Philthy Phil and Geordie Sh ... F Troop or The Dream Team?

Next morning (July 18th) breakfast is very subdued. I’m really feeling sad about leaving China and parting company with “the lads”. We’ve had a real laugh, even on the days that were crap, we still ended up in a restuarant somewhere eating drinking and laughing. Good times.

The weather is foul again so I decide to take the advice I’ve been given and take the short route through Laos as I’m told some bridges and roads have been washed away in floods, so Vientienane will have to wait until next year. It’s a shame as Laos is beautiful. I follow route 3 and 3A. The road is good (some rough patches), and the rain stops to reveal the scenery. Stunning.

Laos Countryside

On the road to the Mekong and Chiang Khong

A few hours later I’m at the border crossing over the Mekong which is a rusty barge/ferry full of trucks and me and the Tiger. Like a berk I managed to drop the bike on a slippery hill leading to the ferry slip road. Interestingly none of the dozens of westerners came to help, only the locals. Had a long chat to a Chinese trucker who spoke good English. He’d seen me about 200kms before the China/Laos border taking a pee!

Ferry Cross The Mekong (say this in a Scouse accent)

Only takes an hour to check out from Laos and to enter Thailand at Chiang Khong. As always the customs and immigration people are very friendly and helpful.

And in no time I’m heading for my first overnight stop in Thailand. The Triumph Tiger’s loving these roads and so am I. It’s weird, I’ve only been to Thailand once before on a two week holiday and very nearly stayed. This time it feels a little like I’m coming home. Odd?

The Red Rose Hotel

The Red Rose Hotel, Chiang Mai, Disneyland on drugs

On the advice of Steve who lives in Pattaya I headed for The Red Rose Hotel in Chiang Rai. This place has to be seen to believed, it’s Disneyland on drugs! I get the Star Wars suite and it is just like spending a night on a space ship! All for £10/night.

Regular readers will alreadt know, I love my food, and I love Thai food, so I head straight from the Death Star to a local restaurant for Tom Kar Kai soup, seafish and fried rice and half a dozen Singhas. Song of the day – If God Was A Woman – Ritchie Sambora.

19th July – up early and leave the USS Enterprise to head to Chiang Mai. Again the roads are superb. The weather’s perfect, dry and a little overcast so it’s warm but not hot. Hardly any traffic. I’m heading for Riders Corner in Chiang Mai to meet up with Phil who has given me loads of useful advice and help while I was planning this trip. As luck would have it a new Triumph dealer and service centre has opened up next door … which is timely as this morning both the front forks started leaking oil and need new seals and there’s a horrible knocking sound coming from the back end, so it’s straight in tomorrow morning for a full service and repairs.

Going to spend a few days here doing some short rides before heading south towards Bangkok and the coast. Don’t want to come home, just want to keep riding round Thailand.

Today’s song – Keep On Runnin’ – Journey

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