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Day 8
Including details on getting to Chaing Saen and the Chaing Khong border with Laos
Kantun-Lanna Homestay Residence to Chaing Mai,  Thailand   
Kilometers 64     Miles 38


Road/Ride - Highway 11.  Started the ride around 7:10
a.m.  Easy to follow signs.  Shoulder is wide and road
paved.  Services along the hwy are very scarce until
you get to Lamphung and beyond.   Then there are gas
stations and food pretty frequently.

Hills - Ride started with a climb in the first kilometer,
then we descended for a while.  The road finally
leveled off and stayed pretty flat and straight all the
way into Chiang Mai.  

Weather -  It was the chilliest morning yet.  For the first
time we are wearing a second layer of clothing, but it
is a nice change.  We are noticing cooler and dryer
weather in the north especially in the mornings.  During
the day it's still very hot in the sun.  The evenings are
perfect

Chiang Mai is a very touristy town with a modern area
outside the more historical walled city.  The outer city
is cramped and has the worst traffic we have pedaled
in so far on this trip.  It is very congested, polluted and
chaotic with its one-way streets.  Cycling is challenging
but definitely doable.  

This historical walled city has everything a traveler
could desire and more.  Over 300 historical Wats of
varying architectural variations, are squeezed next to
trendy bars shops and restaurants.  

The city hosts two lively open markets with hundreds of
vendor displaying a combination of authentic
handicrafts and kitsch items.  The city is the perfect
place to set out on a trekking trip into the mountains to
visit the tribe villages, ride and elephant and take a
bamboo trip down the river.

Recommendations
Bakeries - Found two amazing bakeries.  One is the
Blue Diamond Bakery and Breakfast Club inside the
wall city.  Head north on Thaonon Moonmuang and turn
left on Soi 9.  Then take another left before you get to
the wat.  The corner has a sign for the bakery.  They
have good packaged treats, plus soy yogurt and soy
ice cream, vegan desserts, breads and treats.  Plus a
very extensive vegetarian menu using lots of avocado.

But the best bakery we visited, Bake & Bite was
recommended by a local.  It is outside the city walls,
across the street from the Pae Gate on Thanon
Changklan.  It's the street is the first left you can take
off of Th Chaiyaphun.  The bakery is on the right hand
side near an Italian restaurant.  They have fresh
goodies such as onion, spinach and whole-wheat
bagels, plus real brownies, muffins, cinnamon rolls,
sandwiches on rye, sourdough, whole wheat bread
and so much more.  Well worth a visit.  There is also a
very good used bookstore next to the Bake & Bike.  
They have a large variety of books plus a few boxes
with discount books, but the best part is that they have
a box with FREE books. We found 2 very good books
for free.

For good Mexican food visit California Miguel's
Mexican Restaurant on Thanon Chaiyaphum, outside
the city walls, just north of the Pae Gate.  We weren't
disappointed. The guy that owns the restaurant is from
San Diego, CA.  Rich ordered the veggie quesadilla
and I had the veggie burrito.  Both are made with real
flour tortillas.  The Mexican rice and refried beans are
also good.  We shared a nachos plate and it is a huge
portion.  

Bike Shop:  Top Gear, (www.topgearbike.com)
173 Chang Moi Rd. Chiang Mai
053-233-450

Slept - Marlboro Guest House
Location - Outside the wall city.  138 Sithiwong Road.  
Signed as Jo-MoBor. From Thanon Chaiyapoom turn
left onto Sithiwong Road, then take the first left bonto a
small street.
The guest house is on the right side.
Cost - 350b  ($9.45) The price is appropriate for the
quality of the room.  A bit shabby, cramped and run
down.
Amenities - Small room with en suite bath.  Shower
over the toilet. The guesthouse has a small bar and
restaurant.  Our room was very tight, but it did include
a big fridge, TV with two Thai channels, and a huge
armoire.  En suite shower with hot H20.  The owners,
Joe and Amala, are very gracious and helpful.  They're
both fluent in English.  Bikes were locked inside the
guesthouse in the hallway during the night.  During the
day the bikes were locked in the yard with the rental
bikes.
Drawbacks - The close quarters were making us a
little crazy.  Also the location is a bit out of the activity,
but close enough to walk right into the wall city.


Bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, Thailand

We decided to take the bus from Chiang Mai to
Chiang Rai.
We pedaled to the Arcade Bus station just north east
of town about 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) after crossing
Nahon Phing Bridge.

The locals at the bus station were very helpful and they
pointed us to the ticket window for THE GREEN BUS
THAILAND that travels through the northern region.  
This was the only bus company we saw that was going
toward Chiang Rai.  

We bought our tickets, leaving 6 December at 8:00
am.  We had to show our bikes to the luggage guy for
approval.  After telling us we had to remove our front
tires the bikes were approved as luggage at no extra
cost.  

Our ticket to Chiang Rai cost 260b each ($7.22).  
Numbered seating.  Bikes stored n the luggage
compartment no extra cost of ticket needed for
bicycles.

We've taken one other bus in Thailand and the
experience was very stressful because we changed
buses just before the final stop.

Bus Ride - Got up and pedaled to the bus station to
catch our 8:00 am bus.  Had no expectations as to
what kind of bus or service we would setting ourselves
up for.
The Green bus company turned out to be great.  The
luggage guys carefully loaded the bikes in the
compartment on a platform so nothing was placed on
top of the bikes.  The bus was modern with A/C, huge
and comfortable, numbered seating that were reclining
with elevated footrests and a very clean toilet.  The bus
had a lot less seats than a normal bus so there was a
lot of leg room.  Snacks were provided such as water
and a small pizza.

The trip took 3 hours - Direct non-stop trip ending at
the main bus station in the center of Chiang Rai at
11:00 a.m.
Bus Company  - THE GREEN BUS THAILAND -  
Highly recommend this bus company.

Chaing Rai, is not a pretty town.  It's a dusty, dry place
with light traffic, wide streets that have the restaurants
and shops.  Several streets are dedicated mostly for
the tourist.  The town has all the amenities a traveler
would need.  Travelers stop here to book trekking
excursion to the tribes people.

Slept - Suknirand Hotel
Cost - 600 b ($17.00)
Location - 424 Banphaprakan Rd, just west of clock
tower.  Central location near Night Bazaar and
restaurants.
Ameniities - Twin beds, big window, TV (Thai
channels) a/c, en suite bath with shower.  Not luxurious
but okay for one night.

Chiang Rai to Chiang Sean, Thailand
Kilometers    62.4                     Miles   39

Road/Ride - The exit out of town was well signed.  
Road work for the first 3 kilometers.  Sealed roads
with good shoulder.  Traffic light.  
Took highway 1 to secondary road 1016.  
Highway 1 has four lanes with a wide shoulder.  
Secondary road 1016 has two lanes.
Pleasant ride.  No major climbs.  Food and services,
such as gas stations are spread out evenly along the
ride.  

Hills - No major hills.  Some slight undulations.  Overall
a flat ride.

Our intentions were to continue out of Chiang Sean
toward the border town of Chiang Khong.   Once over
the border in Houei Xai, Laos we were going to ask
about a boat that makes the trip to Luang Prabang in
one day, instead of two days.  We had heard about the
Naga boat that did the trip in one day, but had not met
anyone who had actually taken the boat.  

Our plans changed when we checked into the River
Hill Hotel in Chiang Sean and the staff informed us that
the hotel has a boat trip that makes the trip to Luang
Prabang in one day.  The price of the ticket includes
vehicle transport from Chiang Sean to Chiang Khong,
assistance with border transactions, the ferry crossing
over the river into Laos, and finally a leisurely boat ride
on comfortable seats to Luang Prabang all in one day.  
The manager of the River Hill Hotel, Mr. Vipat said it
was a new service the hotel was offering and the boat
was owned by him.

The cost was 1000B ($27.00) per person (promotional
price).  
Meal was not included.  Bikes come for FREE.
Website with information www.chiangseanriverhill.com.


Chiang Sean, is a pleasant walled city built beside the
Mekong River.  The city is sprinkled with beautiful
Wats that seems to pop up where you least expect
them, in the middle of buildings and around corners.  
The streets are wide and the traffic is light.  

Lots of shops and a good covered central market on
the main street Phahonyothin Road has fresh produce
and fruit.  Plenty of restaurants on the river road,
Rimkhong Rd and places to buy provisions for the
boat trip the next day.  The road along the river is
pleasant with beautiful views, vendor stalls and the
traffic is very light.  

Slept - Chiang Sean River Hill Hotel
Location - 714 Moo 3 Sukuapibansai.  Easy to find.  
Well signed on the road as we entered the city.
Cost - 980B ($24.00) including buffet breakfast.
Amenities - Large room with double beds, mini bar,
a/c, beautifully decorated in Thai style with traditional
chairs, paper umbrellas, paintings, etc.  Very
hospitable staff.  When we arrived a hotel staff
member greeted us with a silver cup filled with Beal
fruit tea.    Delicious.  Elegant restaurant.  Room price
included buffet with fruit, European bread, ham, eggs,
sausage, coffee, tea, juice.
Bikes were locked in the car garage in the back of
hotel. Very secure.
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