Now that I’ve been back to work for a week and almost recovered from the journey home in an aluminium tube I’d like to share my reflections of Thailand. First it was a fantastic adventure, relatively simply we transported ourselves to another continent with a totally different culture and language. The Thai people are amongst the friendliest and polite I have met, at no time did we feel unsafe or worried for our personal safety or possessions, their culture is one of honesty. The driving however leaves a bit to be desired, it was put to me that any road signs, markings or rules are merely a suggestion and not to be taken too seriously. The result of this is that you need to keep your wits about you, the Thai drivers are not aggressive or inconsiderate just a bit daft really, they don’t understand the danger they are putting themselves and other in. The small mini busses who traipse the tourists around the country are the worst offenders, blind corners, into the face of oncoming traffic are normal overtaking manoeuvres for them which makes life for the others unpredictable. I would never get into one of these minibuses although thankfully we didn’t see any accidents, I suppose if you sat in the front seat and hit the guy every time he thought about making a dangerous move that might work but he’d be pretty beaten up by the time you got anywhere.
The people as I’ve said, polite friendly and very pleasant, the biggest issue they face is returning to democracy, the head of the Army and therefore the current president has decided just this week that there will be no return to democracy until at least 2016, having watched one of his weekly speeches on TV I suspect trouble ahead, you know trouble is brewing when the best he can offer is “for those who disagree, we have got to get on, don’t disagree or think too much, instead of listening to the troublemakers just immerse yourselves in TV Soaps and be happy”. The other thing I have to mention is the sex trade, we were in the more remote areas so thankfully saw nothing of this issue most of the time but it was evident in Chiang Mai, always when you get poorer people trying to survive with an influx of rich westerners the prostitution thing will happen, sad that these girls have to turn to this but it is survival, sadder that visitors to the country take advantage although I understand the argument that it’s a business arrangement and these girls and their families would potentially starve otherwise, all I can say is it’s not a good situation. Like cocaine users the users of prostitutes are invariably the cause of deaths and heartache as the gang leaders fight for dominance. Having said all that it isn’t obvious in the North and only my social conscience brought it into my field of focus.
The roads are fantastic and the north of Thailand is an adventure playground for motorcycling, the other great thing is you are brining much needed tourist dollars to areas which normally don’t see many tourists, the costs are cheap for us, a meal in general is less than £2, Hotels £6 - £36 for the range we were in and all were well up to standard with en suite facilities, beer was just under £2 for a big bottle, Petrol about half of Euro prices and big bike hire less than £25 a day.
If you can stand the inhumane air travel thing then I’d thoroughly recommend it, Temples, elephants, great roads, great people, what’s not to like?
Enjoy some more photos....
|Temple at night Chiang Mai
|Nice and ancient Temple Wat Chedi Luang
|Spotted in a back street, cool Triumph cub
|Enjoying tea despite the rain, note the waterproof
|Mae Hong Son Loi Krathong festival
|Last minute adjustments at Tony's big bikes
|Contemplating the day ahead at Mae Sariang
|Temple in Mae Sariang
|Pit stop in the rain
|Mae Hong Son Loi Krathong festival
|Woo Hoo enjoying the sun in deep contemplation
|Doi Mae Salong
|Laos boat plying trade on the Meekong. Shrouded in early morning mist
|Not sure, we were kinda lost here
|Are we on the right road?
|Stop for a break and check the maps and GPS
|Local guy showing off his dinner on Phayao
|The white temple in Chiang Rai
|Finally a well deserved cup of tea , an end to our tour!