There’s a reason they call this the Land of Smiles

It took a while to get rolling today. First time on the loaded touring bikes is a wobbly experience that makes you say to yourself “whoahhhhh”, “phew”, and then “ok, ok, I’m in charge here!” Then we took the plunge, and popped out onto the busy street to go with the flow. Right out of Chiang Mai we flowed down the left hand side of the road past streets full of cars, scooters, motorcycles cutting in and out. Here, you pick your line of travel and don’t stray because all those fast-than-bike-but-slower-than-car moving forms of transportation feels like organized chaos. Once you release your death-grip on the handlebars, it’s easy to start noticing all the gorgeous flowering trees and shrubs everywhere. You’ll just have to take our word for it because we ain’t stopping to take a picture! Despite the busyness I still saw so many Thai faces light up with big giant emoji-smiles, and sometimes road workers would issue words of enthusiastic encouragement. Yep, smiles everywhere.

When traffic thinned and we were finding our groove suddenly this big glittery golden gorgeous piece of architecture compelled us to pull off the road for a period of admiration. The Buddhist temple Wat Ton Phung Mueang was something that can only be seen. Photos don’t do it justice. There wasn’t a soul in sight so we just planted ourselves under a tree in glimmering appreciation.

Then it was time to look for a hotel or something. This was supposed to just be a little 30k warmup ride to work out the kinks. Found one! But upon arrival the gates were locked and it didn’t look welcoming. (Neither did the barking dogs across the way seem to want us there). So we revisited and found one about 6 km back where we came from. About an hour later, and after some multi-lane highway lane-switches, down a teen tiny pathway we managed to find our accommodation. “A Day Inn” (who comes up with these names?) Not fancy, and there’s a little house-gecko occupying Randy’s & mine room. I guess he can stay. He was here first.

We headed out for dinner. First to a “buffet hot pot” place that looked supremely popular but not our style. Down the road we went to the little happening restaurant where we had to cross a rickety bridge to get to it. All Thai menu—we couldn’t understand a thing on it, but it was a lot of fun trying to figure it out with our server! We got three Thais all smiling & laughing trying to help us out. We ended up placing an order for something and waited to behold what arrived. I guess it was tasty cuz we all ate every bite on our plates, and Randy ordered up a second meal! There seems to be a correlation—the less English available, the better the food! As we were preparing to leave, one of us (not naming any names) ventured to the toilet. Squat time! A cultural experience to be sure!

As we were leaving the restaurant a whole table full of cute smiling Thais were delighted to try out their English. “bye-bye” “have a good evening” “good night”. The day ended the way it began—smiles in the Land of Smiles

Posted in Thailand 2023, Uncategorized.


  1. The pictures already look so amazing so we realize how much better it must be. Plus we can’t the imagine trying to order food though. So amazed by what you do.
    Just love seeing all your posts. Know we’ll never go there. Thanks

  2. Hoping you have a translater app on one of your phone? Makes shopping for food much easier….although longer lol That menu was ….confusing!! Lol

  3. Beautiful pictures. The temple look amazing. Locals love pictures with foreigners and usually very happy to pose for you.

    Try it – they love it!

  4. Hi you guys, it looks like all is coming together for you. Lost luggage and all. Let the great adventure continue.
    My recovery is going along well. Today I ditched the walker.
    Cheers, Manfred

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