Day two of our loop ride took us from Mae Sariang to Mae Hong Son Town. This quaint little city is the capital of this province and is found by continuing north on the 108. This portion of the ride brought vistas that thrilled my love of nature. The road offered wide, sweeping curves and with every bend more beauty was presented. Teak trees, Pompous Grass, Wild Morning Glory, Asian Redwoods, Ferns, Hosta Plants, Banana Trees, Papaya trees, Coconut Palms, these are just a few of the beauties that I can name that surrounded us on this drive. The bulk of the plant life I still have no idea of the names for and my lack of Thai language ease prohibited me from understanding when I did ask any natives. English is not as fluently spoken in these small mountain towns but honestly we are all people so you can make do!
A check of the internet will turn up a multitude of articles about the attractions on this loop. As I linked in on the previous loop blog post, this wiki travel article seemed to have some of the best info and it is the one I used to plot a few stops each day. The ride is fairly grueling (at least at 50 something) so best to pick and choose and not get too carried away. Heat plays a factor as does the demands of motorbike travel so it doesn’t take many km and a couple stops to fill your day and as I mentioned before all indications are that it would not be wise to be on these roads after dark. Regarding attractions, waterfalls alone could fill up several days. I just took a quick look and could not confirm any stats but I know we saw signs for at least twenty. Not to mention temples, caves, National Parks and Hot Springs. We chatted about “if we do this again”, and thought it would be great to put no time limit on yourself and do every trek off the beaten path that piqued your interest. Honestly, a few weeks could easily be eaten up meandering this countryside and its mountain villages.
Our stop this day was a respite from the mid-day sun to soak our bones and ease the riding and walking aches. We made our way off the highway (only a little over a mile) to Bon Nong hang Hot Springs. The common area pool was free at this springs we had all to ourselves but we opted for a private bath for 100 baht (about $3) where the water was run fresh for us and we could open the back door and gaze across the farm fields and up to the mountains. We were happy to “donate” to the facility. It was a clean, nice operation run by a friendly young couple who spoke no English. We languished in the warm waters, dried in the sun for a bit and were back on our way.
We stopped for lunch at the outskirts of a small village, Kuhn Yuam. This location was comprised of a small enclosed kitchen area with covered teak deck offering shade from the afternoon sun. We lunched on tasty fried rice and succulent tempura shrimp. As is the case, throughout the area no English was spoken but the locals were friendly and appreciative.