Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Lovely Day in Mae Sariang

I got a feel for this town today, and saw another hot spring in the area. It is a nice small town where all the tourists are concentrated in a line along the river, and I'm staying off the river. I like it but its a bit too small making it a little harder to do stuff, and I pretty much saw what I want tody, but I like the real vibe here. It is another kinda strange vibe because it doesn't feel too Thai, more Karen and Chinese.

I woke up early this morning and went to the morning market for some tea. Not many people speak english so I ended up getting hot chocolate and some green tea, but not the Thai tea like I was looking for. It was nice to sit for a while in the market though and watch all the women sell there vegitables, and meat, and watch the men hang out and drink coffee. Then after walking the town a little bit, passing a tour place recommended by the Lonely Planet because it looked closed, and finding a nice local place with rice soup for breakfast. Rice soup is the traditional breakfast here and it is good! The place is only open in the morning and I got a bowl of soup and as much green tea as I wanted for 15B, what a deal.

Next I went to the tour place and it still looked closed but I knocked on the door anyway. It turned out I was too late to go on a trek of the hill tribes and waterfalls because the driver was already working in the fields for the day (I guess I should have knocked before). Then I talked to the guy about hot springs and he told me detailed directions to get to one about 14 Km out of town, and said that was it for hot springs in the area.

So, I got some stuff ready and rented a motorbike. It was hard to find one though, and the one I got was an automatic, and seemed to be the last one in the place. I found out I don't like the automatics as much as the manuals, it feels like I have less control over the bike. With the bike I drove around town and found some chicken and sticky rice to eat at the springs and headed off.

The ride was interesting because it was only 3 Km on the main road then a bunch of smaller mountain roads through Karen fields and two vilages. I also found out how hard it is to drive a motorbike on a dirt road. Pretty soon after getting on the dirt the bike slipped out from under me. I wasn't going too fast so it wasn't dangerous, just a realization how easily they slip on the dirt. I scraped the bike a bit but it ended up being fine (the rental place/guest house/resturant didn't notice). I found the springs fine with the guys directions but it was good I had all those details because there were no signs and I just had to know it was there.

Some fields on the way

The springs were across a little river with a bamboo bridge and were the first sulfer springs I have seen. I went up to the sources first which were very hot, had the sulfer smell, and the white algee typical of a sulfer spring. The soaking tub was down near the government bungalows that the people who took care of the springs lived in. It was a very big tub in a bungalow that the guy who had pretty much been following me and pointing to where I should go had to turn the water on to start it filling up (he had good vibes but couldn't speak english, I think he followed so I felt like I was finding them myself).

One of the sources with the white algee

The water in the tub was about 104 which is perfect for me, hot enough to overheat, but not too hot you can't stay in for a while. I soaked, ate my chicken and sticky rice, read my book and soaked some more. It took the whole time I was there (maybe 3.5 hours) for the tub to fill to almost full. The guy would check on me every once in a while to see if I was ok but didn't pressure me to leave or anything, and even filled up my water for me so I could soak some more. It was a very nice spring and would recomend it to anyone.

The tubs

The view from the tubs bungalow

After that, I paid the guy 20B which he didn't ask for but I figured I should pay, and drove really slowly back to Mae Sariang. I returned the bike, and had some tea or coffee (it was hard to tell) at a little coffee shop near the mosque (good tea houses tend to be in the muslim neighborhoods). After tea I headed to a resturant on the river for the view, but it had terible food, I should have eaten something at the tea house.

A burmese wat in Mae Sariang
After that I was going to go to an internet place to write this blog, but the one I went to yesterday was closed, so after walking around a bit I decided to have my first thai massage. There was this little place I passed a few times that seemed like it was a good place and an hour massage was only 100B. It was a wonderful experience, different than any other massage I have had. Lots of stretching, and rubbing of each muscle on each limb with me stretched in different ways. Next time I'll have to go for two hours. Then on the way to my guest house I passed this shop (which wasn't open yesterday but is today) and decided to write the blog. Tomorrow its moving further north to Mae Hong Son and seeing stuff around there.

No comments:

Post a Comment