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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    Phrae - Nan - Uttaradit - Route 1243 OMFG

    As stated in this thread: http://teakdoor.com/laos-forum/74565-rr-in-vv-3.html I recently did the road trip from Chiang Mai to Nong Kai on a visa run, taking the more direct (and much more scenic) route advised by another poster. Went with the missus and another couple. When we got to Loei on the way back, I wanted to head north and check out Phrae and Nan, but our co-travellers had to be back in CM.

    When we got back, the missus and I decided another road trip was in order, to check out Nan mainly, as the missus has always wanted to go there and it looked interesting and quite isolated.

    It was a great 3 day / 2 night trip and following is a travelogue. They don't see a lot of farang folk out that way and I highly recommend visiting this area, it would be worth hiring a car for a few days rather than bussing it or doing a group tour.

    I would just like to give credit to the awesome Mazda BT-50 that has racked up 36,000 kms in road trips and general driving in the year since I bought it. I opted for no 4wd after talking to a supposed expert who claimed none of the roads in the north or Thailand require 4WD and it would be a waste of money. Now I'm wishing I spent the extra dosh on the 4WD version, as there's been quite a few hairy moments and many tracks not taken due to being limited to 2WD.

    And yeah, I'm no gun photographer so the shots are pretty rough.

    ######################

    We left Chiang Mai at 5am to head down highway 11 to Lampang, before turning in more or less a straight line for Phrae. A lot of these pics are taken from a moving vehicle. These are from the route from Lampang to Phrae...







    We get to Phrae and it looked pretty much like your average small Thai city....



    ...Until we got to the main street and there was all these clothes shops displaying their wares outside on the main street. I asked the missus what the go was, she said everybody knows Phrae is about fashion. Fair enough.








  2. #2
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    That's Thung Hong

    Home of the Ma Hom shirts that were a sort of prehistoric version of denim

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    We head up the main highway to Nan, which was a good road and great scenery. More snaps from the passenger side on the way to Nan....


















    A storm is a brewin as we approach Nan city.



    First stop, of course, was the local "famous" temple for the missus to wai. Got a bit of excercise going up the steps....



    With a rewarding view at the top.



    Just your average chedi, nothing too impressive....



    ...and then there's this amazing huge gold coloured Buddha overlooking the city.







    Wai-ing area where the missus made merit.



    Some views over the city as the giant Buddha would see it.





    Buddha waves us goodbye...



    Then back down the stairs.





    Info on the temple if you're interested and can read Thai...


  4. #4
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    It was mid arvo by this time and about to piss down rain, so time to find a place to stay. We cruised around the outskirts of town for a bit looking for somewhere decent, came across this reservoir, not sure what the shacks lining the water are but there was some music pumping from that direction - perhaps some sort of nightlife area...it looked pretty dead and gloomy when we were there.







    Passed this house that looked quite nice, and in the style we want to eventually build (not a fan of the colour though).



    This is the entrance to a resort that was supposed to be pretty good, but at 1200 a night it's a bit pricy for outback Thailand...



    Then just across the road was this silver shop with four bungalows, missus gave them a call and at 700 a night, a bit more than we usually pay on road trips, the place was nice enough good value. Sold.





















    And this just for the the Dawg.







    We drove around a bit looking for somewhere to eat in the evening. Usually it's just finding the place with the most people eating, as it must be good. In this case is was a steak and salad bar joint. I ordered the 179 THB signature dish, fillet steak that was supposed to be some breed of Thai beef cattle. The steak was overcooked and chewy and the salad bar had bugger all, but it filled me up. Missus ordered mushroom soup for 30 THB which was really nice. Similar portions of inferior soup go for 80 THB+ in Chiang Mai. This place also has cheap rooms available that are probably OK.


  5. #5
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    Marmite the Dog's Avatar
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    I really like Phrae, but Nan is dull.

    Nice thread so far.

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    After a good nights sleep we set off the next morning to explore the border area and make our way down to Uttaradit. Looking at the map, route 1243 looked like the go, a seemingly semi-major road hugging the border with Laos. Well, the road was pretty fokn far from major...









    As we made our way towards the border of Nan and Uttaradit, the road slowly deteriorated...





    While the scenery was superb, potholes made driving slow and tricky...















    Random hut atop a hill in the middle of nowhere.



    A few signs of life though, and the area has been nicely slashed and burned.









    Refreshing to see a nice little stream in the midst of deforestation.








  7. #7
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    ^ ^
    Nan is expanding fast.
    If the border road gets built it will be the overland route to Luang Prabang

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    And then we hit this; dirt road in wet season. We pushed on, on the road was very hairy in some places. With 4WD no probs, but with 2WD it was pushing the limits. Wouldn't advise 2WDing this road unless you're a balla off-roader like myself

    Added to this was the fact that the missus is 6 months up the duff so needed to take it slowly, though at times I needed to gun it in first up steep hills with water ditches crossing them. Also some bogs where you need to just put your foot down and don't stop.

    Unfortunately we didn't get snaps of the more hairy parts, I was busy concentrating on driving and the missus busy back-seating.

    I'd estimate the dirt road best suited for 4WD, crossing the border of Nan - Uttaradit, to be about 50-70 kms, though it was a slow and grueling ride. The the BT-50 performed like a champion.















    And back to tar road in Uttaradit now, much to the pleasure of the missus. I quite like a bit of off-roading, though would rather do it without a pregnant missus and with 4WD. There was a nice looking (dirt) road towards the border with Laos, but the threat of rain and the whining of the missus prevented us taking that detour.



    Missus thought all the shit along the road was from wild elephants though I doubted it, then we saw these...





    And back into farmland as we head towards Uttaradit city for the night.





    Plenty of scooters but not a sole in sight. What they be doin in dem bhills back there?



    Random sign....



    This house is being built in the middle of nowhere. Well, not in close proximity to other houses as seems to be norm in Thailand. Why oh why the blue roof? Ruins an otherwise nice building.







    And finally the crossroads with 1123 that will take us to civilization in Uttaradit city.



    Wow! Bankhok only 24 clicks, thought I'd been drving for ages.



    Good to know we can safely eat fruit here.


  9. #9
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    Uttaradit was pretty uneventful, no snaps there. We got a cheap but fairly nice room with all the amenities for 320 THB, it's a relatively major hotel just up from the bus station.

    On the way back the missus wanted to go to a temple near Phrae that we bypassed on the way. We also bypassed all the teak markets that are a major attraction for the area, and bargains to be had, so well worth the detour.

    I'm no expert on wood but I think most of the stuff on sale is new farmed teak, or old driftwood carved into furinture.

    A set like this goes from 1800-2200 THB with room to bargain and cheap interstate delivery. Much cheaper than Ban Tawai (the wood area near Chiang Mai).



    This stuff is more expensive, forget the price but I think around the 4000 THB mark for the set...





    If it's wood, Phrae has it...





    Missus bought this fold up short round table, so she can do shit sitting on the floor. 550 THB price tag, sold for 450.



    And the street on the crossroads outside Phrae with all the wood shops lined up, all selling the same shit of course...


    This stuff is pretty cool, about 20-30K THB for a set...





    Awesome rocking chair that rocks just nicely, 17,000 THB...



    And some more assorted items...







    Certainly no shortage of stock...





    And with that, we headed for the famous temple in Phrae...

  10. #10
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    Great pics, 9999. I love your commentary too. I've heard good things about that area. I'll have to get there sometime.

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    Wat Phra That Cho Hae, Phrae

    At first I thought pfft, with pissy steps like this, this temple can't be that great...



    ...but it turned out to be pretty impressive as far as temples go...











    Apparantly this chambers holds bits of hair and bone from the Buddha himself.



    Buddha pumpui and Buddha slim down...









    I really like these sketches and would like to get hold of some. Unfortunately I couldn't get my camera to take clear pics due to user problems, but they depict hybrid man-beast-reptile people gathering to listen to the Buddha teaching from atop.





    And more Buddhas...



    Details and history of this temple for those interested...



    Some kids getting taught by monks, not sure what the two kids on the front right are up to, looks a bit dodgy...



    The forbidden chamber,,,



    And Buddha waves us goodbye once more...



    Another 'Doi' (mountain) temple 3 k's up the road...no thanks, one per day is enough...



    so we head back to the boring and windy, well travelled route 11 back to Chiang Mai in time for dinner.



    And that's it folks.

    Just one question to the powers that be; when are you gonna fix the gallery software so doing posts like this doesn't take so friggin long?

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog View Post
    I really like Phrae, but Nan is dull.

    Nice thread so far.
    For some reason I was taken by Nan, not sure why, maybe the tranquility and friendliness of the people, or perhaps it was the cheap valium from Laos kicking in

  13. #13
    loob lor geezer
    Bangyai's Avatar
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    Very interesting thread 9999 and some great pictures. Always wanted to do the same trip but not made it .

  14. #14
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    I have been invited to stay with a friend near Uttaradit,somewhere out of town. Looks great unlike where I am now, the Philippines

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat Mr Earl's Avatar
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    Great RR, thanks!

  16. #16
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    Very great post and nice picture.Thanks


  17. #17
    Thailand Expat Jesus Jones's Avatar
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    My kind of place. Choose this over a beach anytime!

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat aging one's Avatar
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    Excellent photo blog, very well done. Its funny but I was talking just this week with Marmite about doing the dame trip. Now I am even more excited.

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    Cheers, I'll be crossing this area again next month and will be following route 211 along the Meekong through Loei - looking forward to it.

  20. #20
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    Thanks for the pictures and time. I will never get to see otherwise.

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat mingmong's Avatar
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    well done, we visited the same Temple in Nan. quite impressed with Phrae too, cleanest Service station and Coffee shop in main street.

    saw a Car parts shop and decided to buy a Stainless Roll bar for the D-Max, before I could pay for it there were 3 lads in the back of me Ute bolting it in!

    great service and smiles alround, it was just after 5pm

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat
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    Great thread 9999, I will be doing a trip to Nan in about three weeks time from Chiang Mai via Fang, Chiang Rai and then back via Phayao to Chiang Mai.

    Would the trip be better on a motorcycle than your Mazda BT50? Assuming no pregnant women are on the trip that is.
    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." - Abe Lincoln.

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat
    Marmite the Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by palexxxx
    Would the trip be better on a motorcycle than your Mazda BT50?
    Yes.

    http://teakdoor.com/thailands-travel...-thailand.html (Novice biker does Thailand)

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat
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    ^ Thanks Marmers, I had read your thread previously but forgot that it was in that area.

    I'm looking forward to my trip. I'll take lots of pics and may even post some of them here.

  25. #25
    My kind of town
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    9999, did any shop owners give you the business about taking photos?

    I was taking a few pics at a shop like the the other day and the owner ran to me "saa-top, saa-top, no, no ,mo mai ruup".

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