Trip to Hang Dong (hahaha)

August 21st, 2008. Categories / Chiang Mai, Thailand

Sorry for not posting in a while, I’ve been very busy.*

But enough with the jokes, yesterday was exceptionally great weather. For most of the day the sky was vibrant blue and full of multi-layered and voluminous clouds. On J.’s request, we headed south to a town called Hang Dong. I wasn’t too keen on going, as most of the area is just handicraft and home furnishing markets.

We drove about half an hour along the canal road and Highway 108. The highway wasn’t as fun to drive on due to traffic and all kinds of obstacles. Our rear tire was low on air, so we stopped at a gas station. The air compressor was a complicated, computery looking thing. I didn’t want to overfill the tire, but each time I connected the hose I ended up decreasing the tire pressure. Meanwhile, a line of two motorbikes and two cars was waiting for us to finish. In the sun with all eyes on my failing pressurization I started sweating bullets. I pulled the bike aside and let the others go while J. went inside to get a bottle of cold water. Ultimately, an attendant helped us out. She didn’t seem to mind at all, but I kept wondering if she thought us completely incompetent. If only I’d known the words to tell her I’ve filled tires with air many times in my life.

Highway 108.

Rice fields and suburbs: one destroys the other.

When we got to Hang Dong, we pulled into a modest road side restaurant and got some fried rice and phad siewe. The latter was some of the best I’ve had: lots of greens, good sauce, and plenty of black pepper. The ladies in the restaurant all seemed related and smiley. Near the end of the meal, a bunch of chickens wandered into the restaurant from the back door and started pecking around for crumbs. No doubt we had just eaten one of their relatives for lunch. The cook ordered them back outside by yelling some kind of chicken code.

I wasn’t in a shopping mood, so J. and I parted ways for two hours. She went browsing the storefronts in the Baan Tawai village while I went on a drive. With only me as the rider the scooter was like a new machine. Nimble and spunky.

The multiple block-long canopy along one of the streets in Baan Tawai village, Hang Dong.

The developed part of town quickly fell behind. I spent an hour and a half driving through small neighborhoods between rice fields, fruit orchards, and water buffalo. In the distance all around me were storm clouds dumping rain.

A road to nowhere.

A narrow connecting road between orchards. It had a dividing line, but the entire width of the pavement was only one car’s width.

Road through and orchard. The fruit trees were right on the edge of the road.

Orange trees.

Ping River.

Ahhh yeah!

Rice harvesting along the road.

I made my way back to our meeting spot, got an iced coffee for 10bht, and sat at a table near a rushing canal. I’m nearing the back 4th of my third reading of Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. As before, I find it entrancing. Combined with Thailand, his work makes me feel like I’m in a waking dream.

J. and I drove around a bit before heading home to beat the rain.


Crazy manicured area at the traffic circle near the Night Safari.


For an afternoon snack: two steaming bean buns.

Our time here is already winding down, and I hope I’m making the most of it. I don’t know when I’ll be back. We’ll be back for about a month after India, but after that it could be a while.

*By busy, I mean smelly.

J. has a few more photos of the day at her excellent blog.



Beautiful photos…I wish I was there…oh wait, I am. :)

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