Ruth: No amount of flattery from Gordon will talk me up another mountain road like the road in and out of Mae Salong. I did make it without bailing and taking a $2 ride up but oh my $#€%!! Today was not as difficult as yesterday, but still we were racing down into the valleys only to climb all the way up the other side again. I have never cycled up more steeply graded roads in my life! Fortunately there was lots to distract us on our journey. This is tea country and the mountains are covered with terraced tea plantations.
It is also an area that is extremely popular for Thai and Chinese tourists who want to visit this little bit of China in Thailand. Unfortunately we visited Mae Salong right in the middle of its busiest tourist period. We almost didn’t get a room last night, and happily shelled out when we found one. There were also hundreds of tents set up all over the town. Bangkok families with their mint SUVs were roughing it for the night in tents set up about 6 inches apart in parking lots. There was a steady flow of cheers and thumbs up for us as these SUVs and minibuses watched our ascent. When we stopped at a plantation to try some tea a family posed for pictures with us and then donned my helmet and posed with my bike.
Mae Salong is also a market town where many hill tribe men and women come to shop and sell their wares. These two Akha ladies were set up right in front of our hotel hoping to sell some of their bags and jewelry to the guests.