This Songkran we are going to SipSongPanNa, the Tai region of Yunan Province in Southern China.
The plan is to do a loop covering Thailand, Laos, China, Myanmar and back to Thailand in a week from 8 – 15 April. It is going to be a tiring journey especially for the forty-something. When this idea was mooted, it appeared as a good idea. After all, we have seen most of Thailand. Now it’s about time for us to take the plunge and I start to wonder if my fifty-plus year old body can take the heat.
The bus from Chiangmai to Chiangkhong will take 6 hours and start almost immediately after we touch down at ChiangMai airport at 11:00AM. We have to stay at a guest house in Chiang Khong (1 night). All these are booked through Ms. Pui in NamKhong Travel in CM +66 (53) 874 278 using my barely passable Thai.
The next day’s trip of Chiang Khong – HuayXai – LuangNamtha will be another gruesome 9 hours. I heard that Laos beyond Vientiane is really outback and Spartan. Having traveled form Vientiane to Savanakit before, I roughly what to expect. But the Asia Highway to China is under construction, they may be more bumps and detours than expected.
I stopped planning beyond Luang Namtha and take the “Expect the unexpected” and look-and-see approach. 5 men and a Lonely Planet SEA on a shoestring guidebook 2006e should be safe. Too much planning will take away the fun out of traveling, methinks. The rough plan is to rest in Luang Namtha (1 night) and proceed to JingHong (2 nights) (capital of SipSongPanNa or XiXuangBanNa in Chinese). We will then cross over to KengTung (1 Night) in Myanmar. The final loop will be from KengTung to Taichilek / MaiSai / Chiangrai (1 night). We will then travel back to CM (1 night) for flight back to Kuala Lumpur.
I think the plan is a bit insane, come to think about it. I have left no buffer for travel delay or missing a schedule departure or connecting bus, etc. We have our China Visa but plan to get our Myanmar (isn’t Myanmar part of ASEAN?) visa at the border. There could be problem there too. If worst happen, we will skip CR and go back to CM.
The original plan is also to celebrate SongKran in JingHong and fly back to CM directly on Bangkok Air. The cost of airfare of 4,500 bahts is rather high especially we paid less than that amount from Kuala Lumpur to CM. Although I could afford the cost, I would rather save for 2 more trips this year – Sihanoukville & PhnomPhen (Cambodia) and Hue (VN).
I am now into Video shooting and will bring my video camcorder with me and will my tour mate to shoot still shot for the blogs. Do watch out for my blogs on my return and wish us luck in our adventure.