Sunday, September 30, 2012

Trip to Nan and Lake Phayao

We made our first of the season multi-day motorcycle trip last week. We drove over to Nan from Chiang Mai on a cloudy, cool and sometimes rainy day. The rain is lasting longer than I expected although of course I did arrive Thailand earlier than I ever have before. But as I keep pointing out, the rain is warm and while they're intense the squalls are generally brief so one can simply get the rain jackets on and drive through it. After a few miles the rain will stop and before long the roads and our lower bodies are dry again. It's a gorgeous ride over and back: Routes 118 north and 120 east out of Chiang Mai to Phayao and then Routes 1251 and 1091 from Phayao to Nan are all smooth, twisty, and for the most part lightly traveled roads that are great fun on a bike. The 180 mile (290 km) trip took us about 6-7 hours including several stops for coffee and lunch.
Along Route 4024 on the way to Nan (N19.09715, E99.97474)
Green hills near Nan
Wat Phra That Chaa Hang (N18.758189, E100.791580)
Next day we visited a famous ancient temple near Nan, the Wat Phra That Chaa Hang (วัดพระธาตุแช่แห้ง) built in 1353, which is a Year of the Rabbit (Bpii Tao ~ ปีเถาะ). Nut wanted to visit and make a small offering because she was  born during the Year of the Rabbit as well (1963).
I never buy souvenirs but I couldn't resist getting this little golden rabbit for Nut to put with her other collectibles of a religious nature. Buddhists have some interesting customs and beliefs but trying to get others to believe as they do isn't one of them. Ya gotta love that!
We spent two nights in Nan and then rather than going directly back home decided to split the return trip in half with a stopover at Phayao and its famous lake, Kwan Phayao. The reason to come to Nan is for the motorcycling — there's not much else going on — but being as it's still rainy we decided to make it a short visit. I always enjoy riding around the lake and that was another part of the motivation to visit.
Kwan Phayao, west shore (N19.18832, E99.85599)
Fisherman, Lake Phayao west shore
Just after sunset, Lake Phayao
The ride back to Chiang Mai was uneventful and was again punctuated by rain squalls. The CBR250 turned in 90 mpg overall, pretty good gas mileage considering it was all 2-up riding and involved many hills. We ride slow, rarely exceeding 50 mph, but that seems plenty fast on these curvy highways in our area.
On the road to Phayao