Mopeds, waterfalls and lakes

25 Aug

2 Days ago we hired a moped. It took a long time to debate whether we should but in the end we decided it was the best way to explore some places not easily accessible by foot (i.e. a good 15km walk from where we were staying).

Waterfall Playground

Waterfall Playground

So we set off on our little automatic 110cc bike toward a waterfall that the bike rental place had recommended (it was free and less touristy compared with the main bigger waterfall around here). After a short while we ended driving up a pretty well paved mountain road, reaching what looked like a lookout spot we got off to explore. We explored round and down a very worn ‘path’ that lead to an amazing lookout of Chiang Mai.

On the way back we noticed 3 locals sitting on the opposite side of the river/waterfall. After waving and various silly posed photo’s they beckoned us to come over. One of them met us half way and we slowly inched our way across the top of a slippy, fast flowing shallow. One of the plunge pools after a fall had a line across with tires attached, it looked pretty solid so using the power of no words I asked the locals if it was ok to swim. He replied saying “Tarzan ahhhhheiiiiiiiiahhheiiiiiiiahhhhh” and beating his chest and giving the thumbs up. That was enough for me, I slowly edge along the rope letting the current pull me from the rope, it felt incredible.

After a short time I had gained confidence and was jumping straight in, which seemed to invite the locals to show their daring side. After showing me how you could swim behind the falls using a back current they played the ‘this is how WE do it’ game. This involved sitting at the top of the falls and riding it down like a slide and then climbing to the top of a nearby tree and jumping right into the deep plunge pool. It felt as if we had stumbled upon the local ‘watering hole’.

After our extended good-byes we took off on the bike again, this time headed for a nearby lake. Arriving there (having to pay 20 baht each) we had a quick bite to eat at one of the small straw shacks by the waterfront. The lake was more like a giant pond and felt more like swimming in a far warmer version of the ponds on Hamstead Heath.

We drove around the 10km edge stopping briefly at a statue of a standing Buddha and finally headed back to Chaing Mai. We used the bike in the evening to drive to a “Contemporary Vegetarian Restaurant”, which Clare had a spicy Thai salad that was too hot to eat more that 2 mouthfuls and I had a coconut drink that was disgusting. My food was nice (a tofu sweet n sour chicken) and Clare’s Sweet herbal tea was nice, so between we had one inedible meal and one fantastic meal.

Next up, meditation for 6 days in a Buddhist mountain temple. No, really (How do I get talked into these things?).

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