The Tuk Tuk Club gang were out and about last month exploring what it one of Thailand’s best bits of road. Running from the laid back and sultry Mae Sariang up to mountainous Mae Hong Son sticking to the main road (and we use that word advisedly!) is fun in itself but a sense of extra adventure had got into the gang today, perhaps it was the remnants of the last bottle of Beer Chang the night before or more probably the sense that life really is too short to just stick to the plan every day.
All started as normal as we headed out of Mae Sariang through peaceful villages and slowly wound our way up into the mountains. An interesting detour onto a winding dirt track through a valley floor got us into the mood for something different – if you’ve never seen a Thai farmer almost fall off his motorbike at the sight of a convoy of Tuk Tuks heading towards him then you haven’t lived! – and after a hearty Northern Thai lunch it was time for another detour from the normal route.
Google Maps seemed to indicate there was a tiny road heading through the mountains right up to and along the Burmese border and whilst said app isn’t always spot on (!) it looked well worth exploring. The first few KM’s weren’t particularly inspiring, running alongside what must be Thailand’s least used and least developed airport – basically a long flat field – but slowly the road started twisting and winding and before we knew it we’re in the middle of huge trees and felt like we’re in the land that time forget.
Passing through a sleepy police check point with nothing more than a smile and a wave it became clear that this was THE road of the day. Towering trees, terraced rice paddies and unbelievably romantic looking villages with the most stunning temples marked out the route. We knew we were really off the beaten track when an old Karen villager literally dropped his pipe in shock when he saw up motor past.
Onwards we headed and the road started climbing higher into the forest, adding to our excitement, until suddenly the tarmac ended and the road turned to dirt. What to do? A quick chat and all us thought, why not, what’s the worst that can happen. So, off we head deeper into the forest on a dirt track heading who knows where. The odd passer-by stood open mouthed at the site of travellers in bright orange Tuk Tuks and then quickly recovered and followed the shock with the biggest smile and waves we’ve ever seen.
After around 15km of awesome driving through the forest we started dropping down and heading back away from the border and towards Mae Hong Son. However, one last great site was awaiting us. The lead Tuk Tuk suddenly point on it’s hazard lights and pulled over and the guys jumped out. Engine problems? A flat tyre? Overheating? Nope, they’d spotted a family of water buffalo submerged in a trackside mud pool. Fantastic to see these great animals having a family bath and keeping cool in the heat of the day.
Fast forward a couple of hours and we’ve completed the planned route of the day and check into Fern Resort – a must visit for anyone who enjoys a great place to stay in the heart of nature – and were enjoying a cold beer at what we’ve repeatedly said is the best sunset bar in Thailand, if not South East Asia. And this group of people who’ve travelled and worked in travel for all their lives couldn’t stop raving about the experiences of the day.
- Awesome roads – check
- Random route selection – check
- Amazing villages that seem unchanged by time – check
- Stunned villager dropping his pipe in shock – check
- A travel adventure best explored in a Tuk Tuk – check
If a day like this appeals to the adventurer in you then all you have to do is get in touch with The Tuk Tuk Club. Northern Thailand, adventures to remembers and great sunset bars – it’s what we do!