This is another first! A 12:30pm departure. The Meridien in Chiang Rai is a lovely hotel and a better place to spend half a day than Nan which is only 226 kms hence.
So the morning started with us being serenaded from the courtyard in front of our rooms and set us up nicely for a mini-rest day though of course there was the usual catch up on car jobs for some.
A few left earlier to visit the White Temple which certainly stands out, because it’s white and rather spectacular. Certainly worth the effort of an excursion.
The route to Nan proved delightful. An easy run out of town and a turn east took us into rural Thailand with lush green countryside and plenty to enjoy.
The roads were straight and fast and their condition impeccable. Bliss really. We saw cotton growing for the first time and the next town advertised “hand made cotton products”.
After 90 kms we stopped in Chun for a visit to the Wat Phra That King Kaeng. The building was impressive but more stunning were the paintings all around the interior. Lively and colourful; it would have been nice to understand their significance.
The community which the Wat dominated seemed very wealthy and the houses reflected a more ambitious style than the stilt houses we have seen to date.
A counterpoint to this wealth was a small lady harvesting what looked like weed from a field.
The run from Chun to Nan was a dream and although short, full of interest.
We passed through a lot of forest on an undulating road, climbing from under 300 meters to nearly 800 meters in short order, and then plunging down the other side around alternating sweeping and tight bends, only to start the next ascent. Three or four times up hill and down, the road seemed endless but great fun for the driver and a touch nail-biting for the navigator.
Lee and Mandy suffered one mechanical challenge on the way when their gear lever came off in Lee’s hand. Some improvisation with duct tape, cable ties and a screw driver got them to the hotel but an early call for a more permanent fix is planned for the morning.
Alan also took the opportunity to give Chalky a once over, though possibly not the best place to be if the brakes were in any way dodgy!
Our digs for the night is the Nantrungjai Boutique Hotel, conveniently located for our border crossing tomorrow into Laos.