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Archive for October 27th, 2012

Nan Loop 1 – Sao Din Earth Pillars

Posted by TravellingStrom on October 27, 2012

Mayan Prophecy Countdown

As the guest house manager had gone away for a few days, I had to fend for myself. I had heard of this place in town called the Hot Bread but it was 2km away, easy to go there on a scoot, but to get fully kitted up I needed a bigger excuse. My excuse was a loop ride, so just before 8am I was ready to ride and stopped for breakfast at the above mentioned place. I found out they open at 7am! Anyway, I had a top brekky, western style and I was soon ready for the days ride. After yesterdays bums rush I was a bit concerned about riding, but I had plenty of dunny paper, so what’s the worry eh!

The idea today was to complete a loop ride of sorts that would take in some territory and also some sights. Check out the following map.

The ride was to head south on the 101 from Nan, the first bit is chopped off because it would have no detail if I zoomed out any further. At the first large town I turn south onto the 1026 then at the town of Na Noi turn east onto the 1083 and ride it for about 30km until the lookout. Then turn back and take a small offshoot road called the 4011, this would take me to the Sao Din Earth Pillars, after that continue until I get back onto the 1026 and head north and on the other side of town take a west turn onto the 3003 until it hits the 101 again and follow that back to the guest house. Sounds like a good plan so off I went, not far south of town I saw this old overgrown swinging bridge, maybe they could sell it to my local council who destroyed an historic swinging bridge back in Mount Morgan, near my home town!!!

As I was leaving here a whole string of utes came out of that side road(over the new bridge) with flags and banners etc, but I have no idea what that is about ❓

NOTE – I found out later they were involved in the dragon boat races, I wish I had known about them earlier, I would have gone for a decko 😦 ) Not far down the road I take my first turning onto the 1026 and my first waypoint, the Wat on the corner. I have no idea of the name because there is no English but I liked the ship mural on the front wall. A WAT is a temple, a Buddhist temple and they are nearly on every corner in some towns(a bit like pubs back home 😈 ). The thing is though, unlike a lot of churches back home which look like crap, and by that I mean they look like a large house in most cases, nothing fancy, these are beautiful buildings, I reckon we could do with a lot more gold gilt back home, it would sure brighten up the hood!

Now that I was off the main road I started to get amongst the winding roads, it was only a narrow road but good surface and after about half an hour I was at the next turning point to take the 1083 to the east.

From here it was more rural, with a lot of agriculture which was mainly rice and corn by the looks of it. Now, I had seen these trees before, they had orange cloth around them, but usually there would be just the one here and there. This time I came to a whole grove of them. The monks do this, if they want the tree to be kept for some belief or other reason, they will tear off a bit of their robes and tie it around. This was the largest grouping I had seen, so there must be a significant belief on this corner.

Not long after this, after some more lovely corners I arrived at the lookout area. It involved a dirt road which was no big deal to start with, so I stopped at the first lookout for some pictures, the river down below was muddier than the old Fitzroy, if you can believe that!

The track continued on and it then forked, and because big cars were coming down the right hand fork, I thought it might be a loop ride so I took the left fork, hmm, bad mistake as I started heading off around the mountain like a goat and then down!!! There were some good views by the looks of it but they were blocked by corn plants.

After finding a flatish spot I decided to turn around, I could end up anywhere and the SatNav was off the map! I then went back and took the right hand fork and this turned out to be the correct one, there was a National Park site here where you can camp and do rock climbing. I did neither, but took some photos instead, the views had less corn in them 😉

There was a married couple there also, so I helped them with photos, of course they wanted me in the photo too 🙂

Right, that was a nice place to relax, but now for the next event, returning to the small town of Na Noi and then take the turn off down the 4011 to the Sao Din Earth Pillars. On the way down the hill I stopped to snap this large tree which happened to be right on the corner, from both directions. I had seen it on the way up and I reckon if this was in Oz, it would have bark off it everywhere and bits of cars and bikes embedded in it, this one was pristine, so I guess the scooters don’t get enough speed up to lose control 😉

Once I found the turn off to the Sao Din I was on yet more dirt and I also took a wrong turn here and ended up in a not so nice spot, but eventually I turned around and found the correct spot to be, which is a miniature Pinnacles area.

It was very hot in here and it did not seem to be all that well laid out, the signs were confusing, and for tourists I really expected a tiny bit of English, but there is none. So, after 1/2 an hour in the hot sun I skedaddled back to the bike and got some airflow happening by riding the last bit of the 4011 though the rice paddies until I turned north on the 1026 where I started to look for some lunch.

Now, as I entered Na Noi I looked for a nice place to stop, but it was well off the tourist route so I called up a POI in the SatNav and selected a place called Boat Noodles, but when I got to that location there was just a chook stop, hmmm. I was starved, and when I queried about rice they had some so that was settled. The best part of it I reckon was that the rice was sticky rice, I had so much trouble keeping the normal stuff in I am hoping this will live up to its name 😉 The BBQ chook was great and so was the sauce with the rice.

After this I headed north and took the 3003 rural road to the west. This was quite fun and the whole way I was surrounded by corn fields. But nothing is flat around here, so the corn goes from the bottom of the valleys where the rice is, all the way to the top of the hills. It was harvest time and I reckon you would get super bloody fit walking up and down grabbing all the cobs. But not only that, they also removed most of the stalk and brought it to a chipper to be chopped up, that has to be hard work!! For me, I just had to be aware of tractors carting people and sacks of corn to the storage areas.

I was soon on the 101 again and heading north back to Nan. It was the same bit of highway I had come down this morning, flat smooth and basically a connection road, except for the swinging bridge of course 🙂 When I got to Nan I headed for a POI that Phil had mentioned on It was a WAT with some real nice murals and some gruesome sculptures, which sounded real fine for me and I was soon parked up and looking around at the Wat Si Phan Don. It was under heavy redecoration by the looks but after removing my boots I went inside for a look around.

It looked nothing like the photos I had seen on the forum page so I asked some local coppers and showed them the photos of what I was looking for. No, you are not in the right spot(although the name of the Wat was fine and the location was fine the photos were from somewhere else!!!) So, now all hot and steamy I don my gear again and head to the correct one, I know it is the correct one because it has a big gold steeple thingy and there was one posted on the forum.

I once again stripped off after parking under a tree and looked around for a while, the murals inside this place were nearly non-existent so I must be wrong again, what is going on here!!! ❓

I once again asked some coppers(a lot of them around at the moment, hmmm) and they said, no, over there down the street, bloody eck I was beginning to wish I never started this!!! Anyway, this one was finally the correct place, it is called Wat Phumin and I was soon bootless and taking photos of the murals inside, no flash please 😉

After looking around here for a while I ventured outside to the more gruesome place, even though some of the murals were a bit bloody, these statues in a small domed place outside depicted what happens to you if you are a bad boy. This includes being boiled alive and having your tongue pulled out amongst a few!!!

It was now gone 4pm and I decided to check out some of the POI’s I had been given, just to see where they were with relation to where the guest house is and it is easier in the daylight of course. I had already found the Hot Bread, I now needed to find Tony’s Place and I did find it, although it looked a bit rougher than I expected on the outside although it was clean and tidy inside 😉 . I also found out that the reason for all the coppers was because the Princess was in town and that was why there were all these purple and white decorations everywhere. She was here for the dragon boat races apparently.

Tony is an expat Pom who has lived here a long time with a Thai wife. Because he works over in PNG he set this kitchen place up for his wife and it has done pretty well apparently. I arranged to be picked up later once I had had a shower etc and I was soon back and having a nice cold beer. I then ate bangers and chips(mash was finished) and peas while meeting some of the locals. As this place is next to the hospital they get a lot of doctors in here, about 8 of them tonight while I was there 🙂 The tucker was good, that is the main thing and Tony was a nice chap, we had a few beers and chatted for a while.

Then a retired Doctor turned up, Dr.Loong Witarsak with his nephew Bom, he had a great grasp of English and has travelled the world and also written quite a few books, not just on doctoring but other subjects. He loves his booze now that he has no work and we got on real fine. In the end we ended up at a place in town where more food and beer was consumed 🙂

The decision was made by me around midnight to call off tomorrows ride as I would be in no condition, oh well, another day to sleep in.

Cheers from Nan

Posted in Around The World, Eurasia | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

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