What? One of the world’s most challenging roads.
When I wrote last night that I’d have a leisurely drive down to Mae Sot, sightseeing along the way, I must have been dreaming. Seven hours of non-stop bends, a good percentage of them hairpins, plus a couple of hours of semi-twisty, semi-straight. The surface too was a challenge. Smooth, rough, potholes, unmade, semi-made, it’ll be finished one day, dust, sand, you name it, I got it. At one point I found about 500 meters of straight, and actually cheered.
That was the hardest drive I’ve had in a long time, and I really do think it must be one of the toughest anywhere. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I could use a break though. It’s a shame I have a long drive tomorrow. It’ll be 80kms of mountains and 800kms of almost straight. The latter will seem strange.
I started the day in Pai … the small town I mentioned last night. In daylight it’s kind of cute. I had to go out to get breakfast and found a small hotel with a restaurant that was offering … not the Full Monty, but at least a Half Monty. I think in my next life I’m going to move to this part of the world and become a window salesman. The restaurant was open-fronted like them all, and it was just 8 degrees. It was so cold I decided to play Ice Pai with my little eye! By midday it had warmed to 20, and now in Mae Sot it feels extremely hot. Strange how you can adjust so quickly.
I wasn’t wrong about the scenery though, and even though I had no time for sightseeing per se, I did stop many times for photo breaks. (Pix coming soon.)
For the most part the road ran adjacent to the Burmese border, so many of my photos will be of Burmese mountains. I don’t think you’ll see the difference! The further away from Chiang Mai I got, the clearer the air became. That made the scenery much more attractive.
So, I just need to have my final dinner with rally competitors, shake some hands, sleep, and make an early start tomorrow. My next article will be about relaxing and beaches.