This being my fourth time to Thailand, I wanted to try something different to the usual beach holiday. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been spoilt living in sunny Sydney, but laying around on the beach on holiday doesn’t really interest me any more. With this in mind, Elissa and I booked our first ‘adventure’ holiday – a 4 day mountain biking tour from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai in north Thailand.
We were lucky enough to have a private tour – just us and the 3 Thai tour guides; 2 of them cycling with us, and the 3rd doing a Tour de France style backup in the van behind – he literally crawled at 10kmh for the whole of the 200km journey, emerging every few hours to provide us with refreshments or do some maintenance on the bikes.
On the way, we stopped in local villages populated by the Karen tribe, Thai/Burmese women who live a quiet life weaving baskets, nursing their young and preparing food while the men farm the land. The simplicity of the tribe was incredible – their wooden houses, basic dress and lack of superfluous possessions made our mountain biking seem suddenly quite ridiculous…
We reached Chiang Rai on the 3rd day after cycling 200 or so kms from Chiang Mai through forests, paddy fields and villages. Our accommodation was getting progressively more luxurious, no doubt to pamper our progressively aching bodies, from a hut on the first night to a resort style hotel on our third and final night. If you’re fed up of the usual beach/bar/beach routine of backpacker Thailand, I really recommend this cycling tour to anyone who wants to try something different.