I took the bus direct from Mae Hong Son to Chiang Mai, a nice, roomy air-conditioned thing which was all going so well until about 100 miles short of Chiang Mai when the clutch started to give up on a mountain pass road. The procedure adopted to get around this became familiar – when the clutch started going and the bus ground to a halt, the conductress would jump out and look for a rock to shove under the wheel to stop us rolling back down. Then after the driver’s spent 5 minutes with a spanner in the engine compartment, he’d restart and the bus would lurch away, with the assistant on board as he could not stop again, and the rocks left out in the middle of the road to provide entertainment for traffic behind. About a thousand yards later the cycle would repeat, until we reached the summit when it was plain sailing downhill to the straight that leads into Chiang Mai. Only on the outskirts did it give up altogether and they loaded the whole bus load of people into a single sangthaew (large tuk tuk) to get us there.
Well, you may start to know me by now but I’ve changed my plans, yet again. I am now heading to Bangkok by train on 9th Oct and will probably spend two or three nights to the west in Kanchanaburi. I was there a couple of years ago but there’s more out there I’d like to check out. Then I can cross back through Bangkok to Pattaya and then return on the flight of 16th Sept.
Meanwhile Chiang Mai seems quite different in just the 7 days I’ve been away, there is a lot more sun (if that was possible) and a lot more farang (western tourists) about, a hint that high season is on it’s way I suppose, in turn meaning it’s good to get out of the country before that happens!