SOLO TRAVELLING TO PANG UNG LAKE – BAN RAK THAI – CHIANG DAO
[ Mae Hong Son-Chiang Mai, Thailand ]
Hi! Eventually, in my mid-20s, I have been starting travel alone. Solo travel gives me ultimate freedom, it is only me- just do what I want-where I want-when I want. I feel comfortable to discover new things, and learn to become a little bit more independent and confident. I believe that whatever I have experienced, I will return more mature.
That’s why I have realized that how much I love to travel on my own.
For this trip, even it was not my very first solo travel, but I had not planned much actually. At the beginning, I first saw a picture of Pang Ung Lake, and it suddenly caught my eye. I just thought that I must go there. Don’t wait! Just pack the bag and get there!
As I had travelled in low season in September, I think there is no need to book guesthouse in advance. I just had the name of the place and called them to check out the availability on that day, and I decided to walk-in instead.
There is no direct flight from Bangkok to Mae Hong Son. You need to book the flight from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son again which has many times daily. For me, I made advance booking for 1st class air-conditioned Sombat tour bus costs 788 baht. I would say that there are not many bus companies operate direct route from BKK to Mae Hong Son as well, if I am not wrong, there is only two, and Sombat tour is one of two.
The bus departs from BKK at Chatuchak (Mochit 2) bus station at 5.00 pm which is on time to pick up the rest of passengers at Sombat Tour Bangkok Office – Vipawadee at 5.30 pm, so don’t be late,
The overnight bus was heading to Mae Hong Son taking around 14 hours. I had slept until 10 pm as the bus stopped in Kampangpetch to let the passengers had buffet for dinner here. Such meal is quite nice. I looked around and realized that there is only my bus here. How silent it is! @-@
After finishing dinner, we continued travelling, and the scariest part of the trip is we need to pass 1,864 curves along the way from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son from midnight till the morning. I tried to sleep but it was very hard to sleep through this kind of rough-riding way.
Early in the morning, almost reached the destination, I can see a blaze of yellow sunshine above rice fields and mountains. I really can’t explain how beautiful it is! You have to come see yourself.
I got the bus station in Mae Hong Son around 7.30 am. Thank you myself that I could handle the curves and not lose my dinner throughout the ride.
I got off the bus, looked around, there is only a few people here. Fortunately, I saw two men who look like locals, and showed them bucket lists of places I had planned to go. I decided to go with a man who offered to bring me to all places in my list cost 800 baht whole day.
So, today we will get around by motorbike…he told me…Seriously? Yes….let’s goo………….
The first place we visited is Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu. It is the oldest landmark in Mae Hong Son standing on the top of Doi Kong Mu. The large white washed structures with this breathtaking scenario create this sort of atmosphere of serenity.
Behind Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu, there is the coffee shop called ‘ Before Sunset ’ I recommend you not to miss this small coffee shop with five-star panoramic view. Looking at this, I cannot stop smiling!
From Phra That Doi Kong Mu where is not very far from the city, we traveled to ‘ Su Tong Pae ; The Bamboo Bridge of Faith ’ This bridge was built to link the temple with the village of Kung Mai Saak across rice fields which so much more beautiful especially when return beautiful green in rainy season.
The beliefs that local community together helped building this bridge by faith, as you stand in the middle to wish, and walk along the bridge to the temple, your wishes will come true!
We took a long way from Su Tong Pae bridge to move to Tham Pla Fish Cave ; one of the attractive places to escape the heat as we need to ride up to mountains to get here. You can feed thousands of fish with tea leave and vegetables. Then, we continued traveling to ‘ Pha Sua Waterfall ‘ With uphill/downhill curves of this route, I recommend for those who have experienced mountain ride.
So, eventually, I was here. The place where made this trip began; The Royal Forest Project called Pang Tong 2 (Pang-Ung)” Such a beautiful tranquil place in rainy season…
I asked the official whether the water mist had been built up in the morning these days. He said not yet, but if it rains and you are lucky enough, you might get a chance to see it.
The mist on the face of the water in winter is the highlight which attracts people to come here and see by themselves. The large water reservoir covered by water mist and surrounded with forest of pine trees make the atmosphere is charmingly quiet and romantic.
And here ” Ban Rak Thai ” The border village of Thailand-Myanmar where I fell in love at first sight.
Ban Rak Thai is the small Chinese town surrounded by hills and the lake in the middle which make scenery amazing. I stayed in the guesthouse costs 400 baht per night. After refreshing myself, I rent a bike to get around the village. Almost forget to tell you! I used the tripod to take photos. It is a must for whose who are solo travelers.
And here, I found that the best getaway place is not the place where there’s lots of activities to do, but the place where there’s nothing to do…
Just the place we can indulge with nature…look at the mist goes down covering mountains before sunset….look at chicken, dogs, animals lying down and playing together…
That feeling when you think nothing…it is the best
If you come here. Don’t forget to visit Lee Wine Ruk Thai Resort. The style of this resort is very unique and stunning which stay in the middle of tea plantation. If you walk down to the main road you can also try the original tea-houses and Yunnan-style lakeside restaurants. It is really relaxing.
It rained in the day when I visited, but I love it sooo much because the sound and the smell of raining relaxes me a lot and the weather after raining is very nice, the mist go down the mountains…I am very happy here.
At night …I still had one plan in my mind which is Chiang Dao trip to see Doi Luang Chiang Dao view where I will be trekking to the summit in November.
I booked the homestay called ‘ Ban View Suay ‘ which is the newest homestay costs 500 baht per night. It takes 6 hours and change 3 buses to get to Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai. I need to get there before 5 pm after that there may be no buses to go up to the homestay.
Next day morning, I went down from Ban Rak Thai with the guesthouse owner. She is very kind. With her help, she sent me to the bus station. It took 5 hours from Mae Hong Son before getting off at Mae Malai, Chiangmai. I took a red bus to go to Lotus, Chiang Dao then.
Normally, there are red buses only in the morning going up to the Doi Luang Chiang Dao homestay daily, but I reached here very late, and it was 5.30 pm already, so I need to pay to the driver to bring only me to the homestay. The way is rough driving and some part of roads is narrow pass National forest. I recommend you not to get there so late because there is no electricity, it is a bit long way, and you will have a hard time to see things on the way up.
The owner was waiting to arrange dinner for me when I got there. I went out to see the atmosphere around. I can say that this place is one of breathtaking places I ever visited. Chiang Dao is spectacular mountains. I really can’t wait for trekking in November. Never get enough of this place…
Tomorrow night I had to go back to BKK…and one place I always love to visit when I have been in Chiang Mai is Walking Street ; a large market located in the centre of the old walled city area of Chiang Mai starting from 4 pm until midnight
The last small trip before going back to reality is Doi Suthep
Up to Pui National Park …looking those mountains…so stunning
Sunday walking street at Tha Phae Gate… And Wat Chedi Luang
……………~U n t i l W e M e e t A g a i n~……………