We left Lamphun around 9am but as soon as we steps outside we realised our error. We had been lazy leaving thinking it was a short day at 35km so no need to rush. Unfortunately the sun never got the memo and was already out waiting for us.
The majority of the ride was alongside a train track. The road was relatively quite even being in such close proximity to Chiang Mai, the capital of the North. Though our next turning changed that suddenly as we found ourselves heading on to a motorway. So we instantly turned back and found a alternative.
Touring Tip: when following Garmin or similar devices you don’t have to follow its route if it’s unsafe or unenjoyable there is likely to be many other options available.
This route skirted round the south east corner of Chiang Mai. At which point we realised we had ‘made it’ by completing our planed Bangkok to Chiang Mai route and took a moment to sit in the shade on the floor outside a 7/11 to guzzle some water and feel proud of our accomplishment. Rehydrated we realised there was a nice looking restaurant across the road and headed off for lunch.
The rest of the ride to our first warm showers was amazing and nothing like what we have previously experienced. It was like cycling through millionaire drive, mansion after mansion. Each village had a touch of what I expected traditional Thai dwellings would be like then there would be a monster mansion round the corner.
In fact the only thing that made us stop admiring the view was when a huge funeral procession on foot passed the other way effectively shutting down the road! We later learned that when a local dies their body is wrapped and takes to the villages ‘crematorium’. They are placed on a permanent pyre and a fire is lite under them and they are burned out in the open with the whole village watching.
Meeting Mal and Lee reminded us why Warm Showers is an exceptional experience and why we love it so much! They welcomed us in with open arms and Lee cooked us a delicious spread of Thai vegan food. We were introduced to lots of meat substitutes which was fascinating. They guided us around their abundant garden pointing out food sources which the majority I had never heard of before. We definitely learned a lot already within this stay and I have a feeling our lesions are not finished.