Tha Thon

Right: Akha saleswomen, Tha Thon.

From Chiang Mai I continued north to Chiang Dao where I spent a night and visited some nearby caves (Tham Chiang Dao), then on to Tha Thon where I would take the trip down the Maekok River to Chiang Rai. The area is close to the border with Myanmar (Burma) which can be a source of unrest. Soldiers came onto the bus a couple of times to check people's papers, my passport seemed to be an item of mystery to them.

Doi Phra That Suthep

Left: The bigger the Buddha, the better!

Tha Thon was pleasantly laid back and a welcome respite from the throngs of touts and vendors falling over each other to get at your cash. The town is characterised by some pleasant views and some impressive religious statuary.

From Tha Thon I travelled down the Maekok River to Chiang Rai by long tail boat, the trip took about 4 hours. The long tail boat has an outboard motor with a long propeller shaft. We were packed in like sardines. As it was the dry season the river got quite shallow in parts and we were required to push the boat on occasion and at one point we had to walk along the river bank until we arrived at a conveniently placed convenience store. Pretty touristy stuff but a fun adventure anyway. The views along the river afforded a nice glimpse of rural river life.