Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Trip to the Mae Kuang Reservoir

Mae Kuang Reservoir

So it's Monday morning, we woke up and went across the road for breakfast. I'm ashamed to say it but I sat down for my full English. We used Basecamp and planned a trip to the Mae Kuang Reservoir. Our aim to head out and take a look around and then west to some of the trails on the map, well that was the plan.

The sun was out and the sky was blue, the day was warming up nicely. We got kitted up and headed out to the petrol station to fill up for the day ahead. We followed the GPS to the Mae Kuang Reservoir. This involves the "wonderful" task of leaving Chiang Mai which was at first an experience and I now hate coming in and going out of the city. It seems everyone is out to kill you, central London seems like a walk in the park compared to this chaos.

Riding along the motorway/highway was the first time I noticed the sun shining down on my neck, sun tan lotion "what's that?" My motorcross jersey and my helmet didn't quite meet and had left my neck exposed to the sunshine so I would have to do something about that soon. 

As we arrived at the reservoir we found the original route we had planned had a locked gate across the trail so we turned around and headed down the to the waters edge. We pulled up and took off our gloves and helmets to get some air and take some pictures. We're greeted by a local who was sitting there on his boat with his fishing rod out (not a euphemism for the select few). He took a keen interest in the bikes, not speaking a word of English we said our hello's and he moved back to his boat.

The views at around the reservoir were beautiful the weather was amazing and sunburn was becoming noticeable.

We headed towards Ban Pong Din and stopped off at a mini mart to get some suntan lotion at Pa-Miang, SPF50 was the call of the day. We sat outside and stripped off to take a break from the midday sun. As we sat there drinking some water and a coke there was this repetitive sound of an 8-bit video game from the 80's. It turns out it was the electronic scales sitting outside the shop with a BMI warning feature. The problem was in Thailand people aren't normally very tall, I'm 188cm and about 85KG, the machine only went up to 180cm and with Scouse a bit taller I guess we wouldn't be using this.

Continuing along the road to the Doi-Saket Hot Spring (I'd normally at this point post a picture but to being honest it wasn't the most picturesque image you can imagine). There was tourists there with what appeared to be baskets on the end of fishing rods, apparently these contain eggs which you can boil in the spring (it did look warm as it was over 30 degrees that day and there was still steam coming from the spring).

We left the springs and headed towards Nam Mae Lao and followed signs for the waterfalls. I cant tell you the names as we was going to come back and write them down but things didn't turn out that way.

Following signs to the waterfalls we rode through a few villages, these didn't appear to be your normal tourist villages. You can normally tell the non-tourist villages from the "what are you doing here?" looks you receive from the locals, a quick "sa-wùt dee krúp" (pronounced Sa-wad-dee-kap which means hello and goodbye) and a wave returns a happy welcome and a smile.

We lost track of the waterfall but found a trail that went into the woods. This wasn't on the GPS but we went for it anyway. It turns out there was a reason for it not being on the GPS as we got into the lane the path was blocked by fallen trees which were impassable on the bikes.

We headed up and over the mountain on another trail which was on the GPS. By this time we had ascended 2,800m. It was only later that night I look at the GPS and found it had a warning "very steep" and my god was it.

Heading to Ban-Pok and down to Ban Mae Lai. Being this far above see level you would normally expect views at ever corner but as this was the "jungle", the views was inhibited by trees and plants. You would normally expect these corners to be cleared as a tourist attraction with a someone selling goods but there was no such thing. We finally came across a corner where we could appreciate the views. Here are a few of the photos I took.

Once we were back down the mountain we checked the GPS and found we were 35 Miles from our hotel so started to head back.

On the way back something made me stop and take a few pictures of these fields. I was trying to get a picture of this field and the Buddha statue below in one shot but it was too far away.

It was about 3 or 4pm at this point and not having eaten since breakfast earlier we stopped off at what I can only describe as a food hall about 6 miles outside of Chiang Mai for a late lunch.

Later that evening we took a walk to the night market to get some dinner. There's a lot going on at night in Chiang Mai. From the Tuk Tuk's and street sellers to markets and bars playing live music. There's always appears to be something going on and people earning their living.


  1. Really enjoyed this post - you're definitely getting into your stride now! Beautiful countryside pics and love the contrast with the town nightlife. BTW, what's with the b/w mud pic eh?!!! ;-)

  2. Thanks Paula, it's all about the lines. I can send you a colour version if you like ;)

  3. Aha! Bear with me, maybe I'll appreciate the artistry better in colour! :)