Northern Thailand 2004

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Northern Thailand is beautiful, exotic, and serene. The countryside is a mix of forests, rice paddies, and lovely villages. Every sizeable town has a stunning Bhuddist temple. Roads are uniformly excellent; street signs, often in both Thai and English, are even better. Distances on the signs are accurate to a tenth of a kilometer. People, especially children, are extremely friendly. Our arms grew tired from waving hello.

We visited in December and January. Our tour included the middle and north of the country. The northern hills can be tough and temperatures can be cool in December and January. The central plains can be quite hot, even in the winter months, and are probably unbearable in summer.

You can't go hungry in Thailand. Even in the remote countryside, you are rarely more than a few kilometers from a soup kitchen. (Soup kitchen is our name for the small, often portable, food stands that specialize in chicken noodle soup, strongly flavored with lemongrass.) Lodging can be hard to find in the remote areas. A tent might help, if you don't want to bike long distances. Accomodations can be primitive, but the hospitality will be excellent.