Compare to New Zealand, the one biggest difference on the road is the motorbikes/scooters. At home, I’m lucky to see 2-3 other bikes on my commute to work. In Thailand, scooters are absolutely everywhere. Helmets, as far as I understand, are strongly recommended, but not compulsory (Actually, I’m not sure about licences for bikes either as I was told I can hire one even without a car licence…). As we headed north on the main highway, I watched out the window as we passed scooter after scooter, sometimes transporting a family of 4 and 5 to work. The speeds for no helmets and multiple passengers, sometimes side saddling was astonishing and on reflection a bit of an eye opener of how safe I am (when at times I feel like I am fighting against our local health and safety ‘rules’).
Entering the Chiang Rai district, we stopped for a local coffee at the highest hot spring in Thailand. Local ladies were boiling and selling hot spring eggs. Turning off the main road was a tall spring (behind the above image). “its just a fake one” our guide announced. Sure enough, I get out of the van and can hear the petrol driven pump shooting the spring up into the air. Amusing if nothing else. I wandered towards the boiling egg part. I think this was a real spring. No pump to be heard anyway.
Walking behind the sign of the above image was a set of stairs. It looked like it went into further spring pools, but was either abandoned, or turned off? – I was the only one looking that far anyway.
As we left we passed this amazing looking building, almost complete
Now, to the untrained tourist eye (me), it looked like a new temple. I asked the guide what it was? “Oh, it was going to be a luxury sauna for the tourists. The locals protested it would take all the water and they were not allowed to continue”. I guess its just going to sit abandoned, almost finished. You’d be kicking yourself for not getting the tick from the local community before sinking money into that!
Off down the road we headed for the boarder. Thats tomorrow.