Self-driving in Thailand 11 – from Chiang Saen to Chiang Mai (with stops)

We started to drive very early in the morning heading west along the Mekong. We wanted to have some time to visit some some of the interesting points in the Far North.

It was impressive to me seeing how things have changed in this area the last 20 years (that’s the last time I travelled around here) and how some of the mystic is gone to give way to a more massive-global-electronic vibe.

In Mae Sai we bought some breakfast and we could see the early trade traffic between Myanmar and Thailand.
We tried to park our car in a public place (no signs indicating otherwise) by a temple and one guy came to ask us 40 baths for parking there, in a free parking place.

After Mae Sai we drove to Doi Tung to visit the royal project and Wat Phra That Doi Tung, a sacred place in the summit with stunning views over the Mekong and the lowlands. This are has historically been the site of opium production but now is the focus for rural development projects.

The roads to the village are narrow but quite ok though when we drove up to the top we found some places were the slope had collapsed on the road (photo) Anyway we could drive pass them with some care and braveness. πŸ€”

(keep reading after the photo)

Though weather was not accompanying us, we took some time to visit the top and it was very rewarding, the views and the temple were worth the visit.

Last stop was Mae Salong, (Santikhiree) and it keeps being very scenic but also very developed, full of resorts and buildings ruining the fantastic views. Be aware that there are to ways to get to the village. One was in a very bad condition due to the rains and that was the one we took following the gps. Believe me, it’s a very bad one. Next time I would rather take the longer way option…

We arrived at the busy Chiang Mai in the early evening and dropped the car in the parking ready to go trekking in the hills for a few days.

  • Don’t trust your gps a 100%
  • Tourism, greed and development not always improve the places and bring wealth to locals

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