I am 69 years of age and have just completed a fantastic
journey at very little cost, all done on my 125cc Honda Dream motorcycle.
What an appropriate name for a motorcycle “Honda Dream”.
I travelled 2,772 kilometres on my motorcycle and it never missed a beat.
Not even a puncture. This says a lot for the Honda Service Team behind the
big S. Panich store on the Chiang Mai - Mae Rim Road who gave the bike a
great service before I left Chiang Mai. They suggested a new front tyre and
discovered a large staple embedded in the rear tyre and put in a new inner
tube for me. The bike is only two and a half years old and runs like new.
My intention was to get away from the smog in Chiang Mai.
My first stop was Uttaradit, a journey of 220 kilometres, there was no smog
there but even on a clear day I could not find the hotel! I asked a group of
young people if they could help me and a young couple jumped onto their
motorcycle and told me to follow them and they led me to my hotel.
The staff at the Seeharaj Hotel was great; it was 800
baht a night which included a buffet breakfast. The Hotel has a beautiful
swimming pool and even has ballroom dancing classes every night> For safe
keeping I put 6,000 Baht in between the pages of the room service menu as I
didn’t want to carry all that money while walking around the City.
There is a small town near Uttaradit called Nampii with a
small steel works; only two men making steel swords, knives and souvenirs.
The steel they produce has a blue tint to it and the swords made at Nampii
were used by all the great Kings of Thailand.
They have unearthed Nampii swords that have been buried
for more than 400 years and there is no rust on them. There is also a small
folk museum, as usual I got lost looking for the place but I came across a
council office where I made enquiries and a young man named Tom volunteered
to lead me on his motorbike while I followed him to the steel works and
After leaving Uttaradit I did a 400 kilometre ride to
Loei where I mistook the local private hospital for a hotel! But I must say
it did resemble a first class hotel, it wasn’t until I entered the reception
area to discover a lot of nurses that the penny dropped, and I quickly did a
U turn out of the place.
I found a small hotel called the “King Hotel”. It was
when I went to pay for my room I discovered I had left the 6,000 Baht back
in the room service menu at the Seeharaj Hotel in Uttaradit. I phoned them
but my Thai is not too good and they didn’t understand what I was saying.
Luckily I have a good Thai friend in Chiang Mai who phoned the hotel for me.
They found my money and after I gave them my bank details they deposited the
money into my account the same day. How lucky was I?
The next day Loei was full of smoke, ash was falling from
the sky and it looked like snow on my motorbike, so I quickly left and
proceeded the 147 kilometres to Udon Thani where I had lunch at a great pub
called “The Irish Clock”. After lunch I went on to Nong Khai a beautiful
small city on the banks of the Mekong River.
I stopped at the Khong River Hotel which was 500 baht a
night, no breakfast included although it did have a hot water jug in the
room and two sachets of coffee supplied every day along with the usual
water. The room had a balcony overlooking the river and the staff were
great, there were plenty of good eateries in Nong Khai, two in particular
stood out, they were Brendan’s and Beer Belly Billies, I can recommend the
Pies at Brendan’s and the Apple Pie at Beer Belly Billies !
After staying a few days I went back to Udon staying at
“Top Mansion” A spotlessly clean guesthouse for 370 baht a night. But if you
are staying there ear plugs are essential because of the nearby bars and
disco, but it was fun anyway.
I relaxed there a few days and then went to Kalasin,
staying at another guest house called AP Garden. I rented a bungalow there
for 500 baht a night. Kalasin is a nice city, quite small and the Dinosaur
Museum is a must see place to visit. I found a nice coffee shop just outside
the AP Garden guest house serving homemade cakes and, of course, coffee. The
guest house owners had a disabled dog, I think its back legs must have been
run over by a car, it was a beautiful dog with a nice nature, so friendly,
it moved about by dragging its back legs behind it; if you visit AP Garden
Guest House please pat the dog. The guest house is next to a manmade lake
where you can see people exercising in the evening.
From Kalasin I went through Maha Sarakham and Roi Et
Provinces to Khon Khaen, I stayed at the Khon Khaen Hotel for 650 baht a
night including breakfast. It was what I would call a cosy place to stay; I
was only going to stay for one night but stayed for four.
There is a temple in Khon Khaen with a nine story Chedi,
its called Wat Mahathat and if you go on a Saturday, Sunday or during a
school holiday you can be given a tour by youngsters from a nearby school,
their English is very good, but please give them a tip if you go, they are
worth the money. Also the museum in Khon Khaen is worth a look.
The Khon Khaen Hotel has a room called “The Harem”; it
comes alive at night with a live band and cabaret show twice a night, at 12
midnight and 2am. It has very comfortable seating and you can pay an
attractive girl 200 baht an hour to sit and drink with you, no hanky panky
From Khon Khaen I went to Phitsanulok, a lovely city. I
stayed at “The Princess Green” Hotel for 490 baht a night including a cooked
breakfast. It was a very small hotel with great staff.
At Phitsanulok there is a famous temple with the nickname
Wat Yai, it houses what they say is the second most beautiful Buddha image
in Thailand, that after the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok.
It was the birth place of King Naresuan, who also used a
Nampii steel sword in his fights against the Burmese.
If you visit Phitsanulok you shouldn’t miss the Sgt.Maj.
Thawee Folk Museum and Iron foundry. The museum has a 50 baht entry fee for
both Thai and Farang and the Iron Foundry is free. I met the Sgt Major at
the Museum, both are gems of places to see, the foundry makes Buddha images
and as you go in there is a poster on the right explaining the procedures in
making the images that is a must to see before entering the factory.
At 6 p.m. every evening by the riverside there are
aerobic classes, Judo and various forms of sport and exercises taking place,
it was great, I finished off the evening with a 100 baht foot massage and a
trip to a beautiful coffee shop called “ Coffee and More”. I will definitely
go back to this city.
Then it was back to Chiang Mai stopping of at the
Seeharaj Hotel in Uttaradit to reward the room service lady who found my
6,000 Baht and the Manager who put my money back into my account and yes the
smog was still in Chiang Mai but I at least missed a month of it.
As you have read I was helped quite a bit on my travels
by some of the nicest people you could meet, I thank them all.
As a footnote I spent 1,870 Baht on fuel, it varied in
price from 36 to 40 baht a litre. The average kilometres per litre was 56
and the 2,000 k service I got at Khon Khaen was going to take 20 minutes,
when I asked for a special service as I had a long way to go they gave me a
30 minute service !
I hope you enjoyed my story as much as I enjoyed doing my
trip. I can recommend it to anyone.