Ubon Ratchatani, but I was thinking of places like That Phanom and Beung Khan.
Never been there. How were they entertaining?
In Beung Kan I got taken to a morlam club out on the highway by the people who owned my guesthouse, it was a cracking night (cracking afternoon too, drinking beer by the Mekong).
That Phanom is really pretty with lots of local tourists. I met up with a crew of older Isaan folk who were there for the weekend. Lots of beer and awesome food at restaurants floating on the Mekong.
BTW, I used an entry-level mountain bike (Matts Merida 40) for my ride in Thailand. It was mostly level from Chiang Khan to Loei. How about when you continued east from Chiang Khan - you said it got hilly - what happened to your bike?
It got really hilly.
The bearing for the crank went. I could ride my bike but the cranks were loose.
Chiang Khan is a strange place, it is now anyway. I think I first went there seven years ago. There were two guest houses in the town at the time and just the one restaurant on the river; but there were about a dozen francophone tourists in the town. Me and my mate were bemused that they had picked this town when it was no different from any of the other towns we had stopped in.
Apparently it got a bit of backpacker buzz and Thai students got onto it and now it is a circus looking for an attraction. I was there at Christmas. It makes me ashamed to have ever been a tourist.
Sorry to hear about your crank ... that's pretty much the end of the ride. I loved my Matts Merida and the white and green paint job elicited comments from every Thai who saw it.
Why'd you go back to Chiang Khan at Christmas if you didn't like it?
The bike is still going bless it, I just had to get the bearing replaced.
When I was in Chiang Khan at Christmas it was all students. It wasn't my choice of destination, I was travelling with Thai friends. When I did the original cycling trip it was all "Isaan? Tum mai?" but now Chiang Khan has a name....
I recommended we go further upstream, where food and accommodation would be cheaper and the scenery better but Chiang Khan it had to be. My friends loved it though, they spent ages browsing along that street with the varnished shophouses.
I liked Chiang Khan the first time but when I returned I couldn't understand why it had become so popular.
Apparently it's meant to be the new Phai. My friends reckoned that people wanted to see a typical Isaan town, but Isaan towns don't typically have overpriced "boutique" hotels and streets full of gormless Thai students taking photos of shops selling shit you could buy at Chatuchak.
People piss me off, especially when they are on holiday.
I loved it when all the kids came running out to see the farang on his bicycle in the small towns from Nongkhai to Chiang Khan. The people in those villages were wonderful and very welcoming to me. I was carrying a lot of raisins as energy food, and the kids and adults I shared with were so happy. My Bkk friends told me I was crazy for doing the ride.
^maybe during the week. My understanding was that it was backpackers that got the place started and then the students moved in. It's certainly got that gormless-Thai-hipster-student feel to it.
After Chiang Khan we were climbing a bastard of a hill. Six pick-ups passed and and every single one stopped to ask us if we wanted a lift.
I started chatting about Thai food with the woman who ran our guest house outside of Muang Nong Kai. She insisted on sending her daughter to market to get some local sausages and she and her daughter cooked a couple of local dishes, we had a big breakfast together and she wouldn't charge us a satang for it.
I don't live in Thailand any more so I was more interested in seeing friends than the destination. It could of been worse, we could have gone to some resort town full of western tourists.
I want to check out Nam Nao. I drove from Loei to Chiang Mai, the hills in that area were awesome.
Last edited by Jimmy Mulga; 7th May 2012 at 20:14.
Is there an 'I'm jealous!' emoticon?