Day trip by bicycle to Doi Suthep; celebrating Loy Krathong in Chiang Mai.
Even though yesterday had been our tour’s last official cycling day, we had a special treat prepared for all enthusiasts looking for another sporty challenge:
Doi Suthep, a magnificent buddhist monastery and temple lies at a beautiful spot 700 m above Chiang Mai. The winding mountain road leading from the Chiang Mai Zoo all the way up to the monastery was going to be the last challenge of our tour! While half of the group decided to take it easy on the last day and take the red Tuk-Tuk up the mountain, the other half was eager to test the effect of cycling 1000 km over the past three weeks. The five of us who accepted the challenge all managed to conquer the mountain without difficulty! With a good feeling of achievement we then visited the temple and enjoyed the great view over Chiang Mai before rolling downhill all the way back into the city.
Of course, on the last day of the tour, we were planning to find a nice spot for our farewell-dinner. Who would have thought that we would find just the perfect setting for our last evening? It could not have been better! Not only did our lovely guide Paradise find an atmospheric restaurant just next to Nam Ping river… but we were in a perfect place to oversee one of the greatest spectacle of the Thai year: As it happened to be Loy Krathong festival, we were able to observe thousands of small candle-boats float down the river beside us – and thousands of sky lanterns soar into the air. For the inhabitants of Chiang Mai, Loy Krathong is a an occasion to leave all the sorrows and bad things behind – by attaching them (metaphorically) to the little boats and lanterns and let wind and water carry them away.
This was a beautiful ending for a beautiful tour we have had! During the last three weeks, cycling through China, Laos and Thailand, we had collected an abundance of impressions and memories – and tonight’s sky full of lanterns proved to be a worthy climax.
At this point, it is time for me to say thank you: Thanks to all participants of this tour through the Golden Triangle, you were great! Despite very diverse biographies, all of you got along in a respectful way, you showed respect to the countries we cycled to and to the people we met… and always managed to keep the spirit up! The best gift for a guide is to guide a friendly and interesting group such as you are. And last but not least: Thanks to Erika, Harald and Rolf, who had processed some of their memories into three witty and moving songs which they sang to us at the end of the evening.