This section from Mae Salong to Mae Sai is the thirty-ninth instalment of my bicycle loop through South-East Asia from Yunnan – if all goes according to plan. Titled “Slap the Belgian!”, it is simultaneously published on Crazyguyonabike.com, where you’ll find a map with the itinerary and many other bicycle diaries by me and others. I hope you’ll enjoy.

Again, fireworks are cracking before dawn gets a chance to. I lunge my heavy head outside the door and watch the sun rise. No chance of a morning market on Chinese New Year’s day: pretty much everything is closed, with the exception of 7-eleven. With the first morning light, singing children start terrorising the streets, banging on doors and asking for hard cash. When they spot me on my balcony, they stare a bit, murmur to each other, and then hesitantly sing something I don’t understand – probably asking for money. I hide behind my white skin and smile like an idiot.

Sunrise over Mae Salong
Sunrise over Mae Salong

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This section from Chiang Dao to Mae Ai is the thirty-sixth instalment of my bicycle loop through South-East Asia from Yunnan – if all goes according to plan. Titled “Slap the Belgian!”, it is simultaneously published on Crazyguyonabike.com, where you’ll find a map with the itinerary and many other bicycle diaries by me and others. I hope you’ll enjoy.

I haven’t slept this well for a long time, possibly not since the beginning of my trip. Almost ten hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep with the aid of a small bottle of Singha beer. Only when I wake up, I realise how tired I’ve been the last few days. I suppose only adrenalin kept me awake.

But now there’s birds singing and cicada chirping away even though the sun is still in hiding behind a thick veil of morning fog. I waste two hours playing Pixel Dungeon on my phone – best done when surrounded by only nature – and shaving and clipping my toenails and wringing the morning dew out of the clothes I’d hung outside to dry.

Breakfast. Tiny bowls of noodles, but they are cheap and taste great!
Breakfast. Tiny bowls of noodles, but they are cheap and taste great!

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