Self-driving in Thailand 9 – from Sukhothai to Phayao via Phrae

In general, the roads are in good condition and it was an easy drive.

The trip is 310 km long and it takes you from the flat central plains to the forestry hills. When we started to drive early this morning our fuel tank was a quarter full.

We took route 101 (picture below) that runs through a green hilly landscape. The road is windy and bordered with thick forests. And there are no tank stations, at least for very long distances.

When we reached the first tank station on this road we were driving with the reserve tank.

  • Check your fuel before start driving.
  • Fill up your tank if it happens to be half full
  • Phrae is worth to visit

Self-driving in Thailand 8 – from Chiang Khan to Sukhothai

The drive between Chiang Khai and Sukhothai (almost 350 km) was long but interesting, going from the riverside village through the mountains and into the plain.

We stopped a couple of times, once to have breakfast and then visit Loei and Phu Rua national park. At the park the weather was not good but at the peak the light was interesting to take some shots of the landscape.

Phu Rua is a small park, with a couple of waterfalls that you can also visit.

The world, walking:

At lunch time we stopped for a break and grabbed some food at 7-Eleven.
It caught our attention a suitcase attached to a sort of cart and topped with a solar panel parked next to us.
It was Rico's. Rico is a German young man who has been walking for two years, from his native Germany to this place in the middle of Thailand where we met. He only flew once, he told us, to avoid Afghanistan.
A nice story I will try to describe it in a separate post.
In the meanwhile, this is his website if you want to know more about his motivation and support this long long walk: www.ricoslongwalk.de and on Facebook: rico's long walk

Cheers, Rico.

  • Roads in Thailand can hide many surprises

Self-driving in Thailand 7 – Around Chiang Khan

We spent this day in Chiang Khan and its surroundings enjoying fantastic views over the Mekong and mountains of Laos on the other side of the river.

We found a complete list of activities to do "in and around" Chiang Khan in an article published by Travelfish.

The views from Phra Yai were stunning. The picture featured in this article is one we took from there.

Then we drove through the rural roads to Phu Tok. These more than 20 km can be a heavy task if it is raining hard but is more local and interesting than the main road along the Mekong.

In the afternoon we head to Khaeng Kut Ku to have a drink and a boat trip in the Mekong.

  • Local roads can be a little more difficult but far more rewarding. In our experience small roads are quite ok in a 90 per cent of the cases. If it rains you need to be alert.

Self-driving in Thailand 6 – West of Mekong to Chiang Khan

We left Nong Khai and took the route 211 in direction to Chiang Khan in the west. The idea was driving the 190 km along the Mekong visiting some villages and temples on the way.

The morning was rainy as the tropical depression was affecting the area besides the usual monsoon season.

As you travel west, the landscape turns more hilly and rural.

We stopped in Si Chiangmai and Wat Hin Mak Peng with nice views over the Mekong. Then visited the waterfalls at Than Thip, Bang Muang and Pak Chom.

We arrived in Chiang Khan when it was dark. Then by some reason all our systems went offline at the same time. No wifi, no gps, no mobiles. We thought that there will be no way that we could find our hotel being all the signs in Thai and without a GPS. Then we stopped at a local small shop in a corner. Even though the people there spoke nearly no English they understood our situation and called to our guesthouse to explain exactly where we were. Our hosts picked us up some 15 minutes later (by the way our hosts didn’t speak much English either).

Tip of today

  • Locals can be very friendly and helpful if you are friendly too 😊

Self-driving in Thailand 5 – following the Mekong to the east

We followed the route 212 to the east to visit the Navel of the Mekong river in Ban Ahong and then to Wat Phu Tok.

From Nong Khian route 212 is a wide and well kept road that goes smooth until Pak Khat. Then it turns into a narrow road but no difficult at all.

From Ban Ahong to Wat Phu Tok we took the route 222 to go and the 2013 to drive back and we found no trouble.

The visit was very rewarding, specially the impressive Phu Tok and its whole system of wooden bridges, stairs and walkways to the top.

Self-driving in Thailand 4 – it was not just rain but Sonca tropical storm

This morning we found out that the super heavy rain that hit us last night was in fact a tropical storm as the Typhoon Noru came ashore.
It s said that this tropical storm called Sonca will last for a couple of days at least.
In the meanwhile, some provinces are severely flooded and the country had to open the dams due to the excess of water.
Main roads keep safe to drive, though we found some 25-35 cm water on some parts of Khon Kaen.
Even so, it s better than we expected. Only last night it rained 100 mm and it haven't stopped yet (being 11:30 am)

We drove the 175 km from Khon Kaen to Nong Khai visiting Udon Thani on the way.
It was fast and easy.

Sunset on the Mekong river was both dramatic and splendid.

  • If you are doubting about packing or not that umbrella, please don't hesitate. Just do it. 🙂

Self-driving in Thailand 3 – Nan Rong to Khon Kaen

Today was a combination of big roads and small roads.
Most of them in very good condition.
Though every big tank station has a coffee shop today it was hard to find a decent one.

We visited the Khmer temples of Phnom Rung and Hin Pimai on our way to Khon Kaen. Both are worth to visit. Even if you have been in Angkor before, these ones in Thailand are very beautiful and well restored.

It was hot and raining all day long.
At sunset the clouds in the sky were spectacular. Weather was very stormy and it poured harder and harder as it became dark.

We finally arrived at the hotel and found a fantastic place to have dinner with live music. It’s called Jimphony!

  • By observation we came to the conclusion that for the locals of this area there is no difference between a continuous line or a dotted line at least in what roads are concerned.
  • Shoulders are consider something in between bike paths, car lanes and parking lots no matter how narrow they are
  • Animals on the roads. Dogs can be suicidal. Chickens too. And mopeds.

Jimphony:

“Surely, of all the wonders of the world, the horizon is the greatest.”