East of Chiang Rai running along the Meekong River is the Luang Prabang mountain range forming the border between Thailand and Laos. These mountains include the postcard famous Phu Chi Fah, the lesser known Doi Phatang and Chiang Kong to the north.
Our 120km ride up the mountains begins after a typical ‘Josh has misplaced the motorbike keys yet again.’ The mid-morning skies were carpeted with the thick grey monsoonal clouds, spelling out imminent rain. Nevertheless we hit the road making our way along the back roads through the Meng Rai and Thoeng districts.
The lowlands were an easy ride for the 125cc Kawasaki GTO, fully laden with 2 people and luggage. However this all changed as we reached our first mountain turnoff for Phu Chi Fah. The flat winding roads of Meng Rai suddenly angled into steep inclines with blind corners winding their way through jungle, rubber tree plantations, various fruit bearing orchards and fields packed with rice and corn crops.
Midway along this mountain pass we came across a makeshift roadside arena hosting Cock Fights! This is something which I’ve believed to be long banned in Thailand, and was amazed to finally come across it. Brutal for the chickens, and somewhat more-so for the defeated bloody, torn up chicken lying on the ground, it is an engaging form of sporting entertainment for the locals. Whether truly welcomed of not by the Thais, we were able to watch a full 5 minute round of chicken on chicken pecking, scratching and stomping.