11-Feb-2019 -- This report should have been submitted ages ago. The photos got lost, finally they now reappeared.
Our last visit to a confluence point was at the end of October in Turkey. We met up again, this time in Northern Thailand. On a round tour from Chiangmai to Doi Inthanon, Mae Hong Son, Pai, Chiangrai and back to Chiangmai this confluence point seemed a suitable one to get to. We had another one in mind too, N18 E98 near Mae Sariang, but realized time was not on our side.
The road from Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest point at around 2500m, went through spectacular green terrains.
We took road 1009 from Doi Inthanon down to National Park Check Point 2 and then west on road 1192. At Baan Lao we had a lunch at a road side shop and visited a couple of Burmese inspired wats. At Mae Chaem we headed northwards on road 1088, later changing on to road 1263 which took us to Hwy. 108. About 30 – 35 km south of Mae Hong Son we took up a narrow road to the village of Baan Mae Cha (บ้านแม่จ๋า). At a Y-junction we took left and headed up the hill which soon revealed some very steep climbing with many sharp U-turns . It was getting late in the afternoon, we returned to the village and made a quick survey eastwards at the bottom of the valley, found that would be a better way, only a couple of kilometres by foot to the cp.
Back on Hwy 108 we came across a large group of villagers, some in fancy costumes, some with drums and cymbals and most of them dancing, some acrobatically, along the road. It was a local festival marking the end of the cold season and a way of going to the local temple up the hill somewhere. We joined the dance for some brief moments and continued to Mae Hong Son for the night.
Early next morning we returned to the village and drove eastwards as far as the mud track allowed.
From there we followed the Cha creek which contained very little water, an easy going.
About 400 meters from the confluence point we made a short cut over some dried out fields and entered the scrub and the forest. Great mistake! A few meters into the vegetation we were covered by aggressive hungry red ants. We were on a constant lookout for other living creatures, heard a few birds, but did not see them and saw no snakes in the mainly very dry forest. We retreated and continued up the creek till we had the confluence point straight north about 200 meters up a very steep slope. The ground was lose and partly covered by dry leaves and the ascent was a difficult climb. At 92 meters we decided that would do.
We took the required photos and returned to the car. Reaching Baan Mae Cha (บ้านแม่จ๋า) we stopped outside the local school. It has 44 students and three teachers. Jin had a good chat with the one who spoke English and learnt a bit about the Thai educational system. I had a chat with the male headmaster about the activities in the school, about growing vegetables and flowers and about snakes in the area (not many, but some). He also turned out to have a younger sister who was married and living in my city in Norway and proudly showed me photos of her and her daughter.
On the way back to Mae Hong Son we stopped at a temple with a Burmese inspired architecture before we went to the main temple in Mae Hong Son, Wat Chong Kham (วัดจองคำ) which is a very Burmese inspired temple with some delicate pictures painted on the back of glass panes. Worth seeing.