Friday, August 5, 2011

Mekong Day 3

We got up with great anticipation as it was our final leg of 40km to Chiang Khan. It turned out to be the right decision to break camp here at Pak Chom as we all needed the rest after riding in the wet the whole of yesterday. Somehow being in wet undies for prolong period is not good for one's health! Trust me.

The posse got together bright and early at 8am and our first task was to search for breakfast. The roads were wet but the clouds held up nicely thanks to His mercies. Riding past the small hamlet of Pak Chom took all of 2 minutes and just at the end of town, we spotted a very nice eatery with a most distinguished owner.

20B or US70c for piping hot noodles or chicken rice got us clamouring in. Englishman Rod was totally enjoying this kind of breakfasts, and commented, "How am I ever going back to bake beans on toast?" With all of us satisfactorily refuelled, we rode on in the highest spirits, determined to enjoy every km ahead of us.

The scenery once again took our breath away. Riding along the the fertile Mekong meant passing through the greenest of green rice fields and other crops.

For photographers, the purest greens we saw, lighted up by the morning sun, forced us to stop, admire and shoot. TW had a field day!

There were a few hills but nothing to complain about. The roads here were generally good save for some pot holes and muddy stretches.

We were grateful that Joshua had recovered sufficiently to enjoy the ride and can't help but admire his determination and tough-ness.

We pulled in for a drink stop a little after Ban Huay Suak and were greeted with more warmth that anyone could expect. The owner's wife was intrigued to see Dr M and started to give his prosperous tummy a big rub. I warned Dr M whatever it is, not to reciprocate as her husband was watching all too closely! We laughed to no end. Perhaps it was like rubbing the tummy of the Big Buddha for blessings.

As we approached Chiang Khan, we could feel the traffic build up. After passing through the many hamlets, Chiang Khan felt like New York City and it didn't help that all the bustle was due to an exodus of Bangkok-rians no thanks to a long weekend.

Trust me to pick this weekend to enjoy what was supposed to be a quiet riverside town! Well, I supposed one positive way of looking at it is the whole of Thailand came down to congratulate us for finishing our ride...

This meant that all the guesthouses in town were full and the prices were sky high. Fortunately, AngK came to our rescue again and she remembered driving past some places 4km before town. We did a recce and finally decided on a very suitable bungalow and took 5 rooms at 550B each.

Once again, I felt very grateful to the patience and long suffering of my fellow riders as we took almost 2 hours to find accommodation. It was great to have our bikes as 4km to town is not a very far distance to ride. We were also very blessed that our bungalow was located near a very scenic location along the Mekong and all the tourists came here to soak in the views. It was here that we discovered the best snack ever - deep fried small shrimps in batter, eaten with sweet chilli sauce! We ate lots.

Our biggest challenge now was how to get back to Nong Khai where we left our bags and boxes. However for the moment, we just felt happy that our Mekong 210km adventure had been, as Rod described, "a life changing one" but sad that it had ended all too soon.


Michael Khor said...

Hey Al, it'd be interesting to see the entire route of your mekong ride. Can you post that? Seemed like a great tour btw :-)


mike k

Taiwoon said...

Thank you Bro Al and Angkana for finding the wonderful maison to stay in!