After a pleasant evening in Khun Yuam we were a little sad to be on our way. Khun Yuam was an exceptionally peaceful place. Our accommodation, Ban Farang, included breakfast so we were able to quickly pack our gear, fill our bellies, fill the fuel tank and be on our way.
The roads were really great. More traffic than we had seen before but the surface was near perfect. Lots of big sweeping turns, beautiful scenery and very little gravel or live stock.
Along the way we passed a viewpoint and decided to stop. We ordered a hot chocolate to share and were surprised when they threw in free tea and dried beans to snack on. The smoke blocked out the view but it was still a very peaceful spot to stretch our legs and have a snack.
It wasn't far to Mae Hong Son and with the good roads we reached it in no time. Once we'd wandered around town and found somewhere to stay we still had a lot of daylight to spare. Just outside town is a “long neck” village where the women wear brass rings around their necks. It's a bit of a tourist trap but, as we'd never seen it before, we figured we may as well.
Looking at the map it was only a few minutes out of town. Sealed road all the way. What the map didn't show was the 10 places where a river flows over the road. Each water crossing was only about two inches of fast flowing water running over concrete. Due to constant water flow the concrete was mostly covered with algae which, it turns out, is really slippery. We made it safe and dry across half a dozen crossings before the front tire slid sharply to the left and the bike came down on its right side, pitching Tanya and I into the water. One minute we were on a motorbike. The next we were on the ground.
We were both ok. We went down going only about 5km/hr and were wearing helmets, armoured jackets and knee pads. It took some doing standing the bike up while balancing on the slippery concrete but we were eventually able to get the menace upright and out of the water. A minivan of tourists was sitting watching. They assured us that our motorcycle crash was hilarious.
Examining the bike it looked like the crash bar on the front and the hard cases on the back had prevented any damage. The menace was unscathed.
Standing looking at the water it was more obvious where the worst of the algae was. It was dark coloured while the concrete was light. By avoiding the darkest coloured areas you could avoid the most slippery areas. Lesson learned.
Continuing nervously on to the village we were surprised to find that there was an entry charge of 250 Baht each. Still, we had come this far. After paying we entered the village and were able to wander around chatting to people and taking photographs. There were a range of handicrafts available for sale. Tanya eventually coughed up another 50 Baht for a scarf. According to the information made available the people are mostly refugees. Hopefully the money is going to where its needed.
One of the tribes women comforted us about our accident. Apparently everyone winds up in the water at some point. I'm still not sure if she just noticed we were wet and assumed we'd had a fall or if the story of two farangs falling in a river had already made its way back to the village. Either way, we did seem to be the source of some amusement. We're always happy to entertain.
Now that we had ticked this item off the bucket list we headed back to town. That meant I had another 10 water crossings to regain my confidence. I wasn't particularly pleased about it at the time but it meant that I had no choice but to get back on the horse. Fortunately, we were able to safely negotiate the road back to town and to our accommodation.
After a hot shower and a change of clothes we headed out to see the town of Mae Hong Son…
Mae Hong Son Loop Day 3 Costs
At the time 30 Baht was about $1.
Petrol in Khun Yuam = 144B
water in Khun Yuam = 14B
Hot chocolate + free tea and dried beans to snack on = 30B
2 noodles + 2 pepsi in Mae Hong Son = 100B
2 tickets for long neck village = 500B
Scarf = 50B
Italian comfort food for dinner = 400B
Accommodation = 400B
- Mae Hong Son Loop Preparations
- Mae Hong Son Loop Day 1 – Chiang Mai To Mae Chaem
- Mae Hong Son Loop Day 2 – Mae Chaem To Khun Yuam
- Mae Hong Son Loop Day 3 – Khun Yuam To Mae Hong Son
- Mae Hong Son Loop Day 4 – Hanging Out In Mae Hong Son
- Mae Hong Son Loop Day 5 – Mae Hong Son To Pai
- Mae Hong Son Loop Day 6 – Exploring Pai
- Mae Hong Son Loop Day 7 – Pai To Chiang Mai
- Advice For Doing The Mae Hong Son Loop