July 20, 2013 - Riding north of Chiang Mai, Christina and I bumped into all sorts of temples, Wats and other interesting sites. Initially, we rented a Honda Wave or something similar, but at one point we decided to take it up a notch and see if we could us the G/S and I created a small rear seat using the top of my backpack and some clothes. It worked really well.
This allowed us to venture quite a bit further afield.
During the space of a week, we drifted northwards towards the Burmese border, following the Ping River. The GPS was incredibly accurate and invaluable, even on the smallest roads. At one point, we spotted a large Buddha in the distance and detoured to find it.
The Buddha was not really the most interesting site here, as next to it, we found a very small Wat, all in white.
It took me a while when we got back to find the name of this place, using the GPS's lat/lon reading, various searches and Google maps. Aside from one monk, we saw no one.
Further north, the Burmese influence becomes more obvious.
Try as I did, I was never able to figure out the right name for this tower-like structure, which houses a mediation centre for locals.
We rode hundreds of kilometers on back roads, stopping for only a fraction of the Wats we saw.
Most were abandoned and we didn't have the impression they saw a lot of tourists, based on people's reaction when they encountered us. We didn't quite get the effect I experienced in Vietnam in 1993, where people would leave their houses to come and stare at the tourists, but it certainly was not too far from it. Being off the major roads and digging through the occasional dead-end dirt road probably put us off the beaten path.
The bike got an oil change, a valve check and a tire kick to make sure it's ready for Laos.