Chiang Mai dengan Motor Matik 115 cc

Sawadee krap! Tulisan ini termasuk cerita yang paling lama ada di dalam konsep untuk ditulis. Perjalanan ke Chiang Mai sendiri sudah saya lakukan di bulan Desember 2018 dan baru saya lengkapi tulisan ini di bulan Mei 2020. Tanpa mengurangi keseruan dan tips yang ingin saya bagikan, silahkan dibaca catatan perjalanan saya. Semoga kita bisa tetap jalan-jalan asik dengan penggunaan bujet yang efisien. Dalam tulisan ini akan kita bahas:
 
1.  Menjelajahi Chiang Mai, Thailand bagian utara hanya dengan motor matik 115 cc dengan total biaya 500 baht (~230,000 Rupiah) selama dua hari.
2. Pergi ke Doi Inthanon dari Chiang Mai naik motor matik.
3.  Pemandangan dan suasana Doi Suthep saat malam hari, beserta alasan kenapa harus pergi kesana saat malam hari dibanding siang hari.
4.  Apa isi tempat paling tren di Chiang Mai untuk anak muda?
5.  Belajar celup ikat khas Thailand di Ban Rai.
6.  Menjelajah museum seni kontemporer di Chiang Mai sambil menjelajah kuliner local.
7.  Mengapa menjelajah naik skuter matik itu lebih asik? Selain biaya yang jauh lebih hemat.

Sampai di Chiang Mai – menggunakan Low Cost Airlines

Saya mengambil penerbangan malam dari Bangkok menggunakan maskapai Air Asia, berangkat dari Jakarta sekitar siang hari jadi menghabiskan waktu transit di Don Mueang. Sayangnya belum ada rute direct dari Jakarta ke Chiang Mai. Saat itu bulan Desember dan musim dingin sedang terjadi. Temperatur saat ini lumayan hangat untuk musim dingin. Ternyata kami diinfokan bahwa temperature belum turun seperti biasanya sehingga yang kita rasakan saat itu masih dibilang hangat. Rata-rata temperature saat itu sekitar 20 derajat celcius dan turun di daerah pegunungan (Doi Inthanon) di sekitar 15 derajat celcius. Saya setuju dengan pendapat orang untuk mengunjungi Thailand di bulan November dan Desember, terutama Thailand bagian utara. Ditambah dengan keberuntungan, kamu akan mendapatkan cuaca yang cerah sepanjang hari tanpa hujan sehingga kalian bisa menikmati aktivitas hiking, bersepeda, atau menikmati alam sepenuhnya.

Ada layanan taksi dari airport ke pusat kota seharga 80 baht (40 ribu rupiah), bahkan lebih murah dibandingkan dengan menggunakan Grab. Untuk akomodasi menginap, kami menginap di Buaraya hotel, hotel yang cukup nyaman untuk beristirahat. Lokasinya sangat strategis, ada tempat makan kaki lima di depan hotel dan juga toko 7/11 untuk mencari barang kebutuhan. Secara value hotel ini cukup baik, minimum service namun cukup dengan layanan standar WiFi, air panas, dan ruangan yang bersih dan bertemperatur sejuk. Untuk makan pagi memang kami tidak membayar lebih untuk menghemat biaya, kami memutuskan untuk sarapan pagi di pasar tradisional sekitar 3 menit berjalan kaki untuk menikmati makanan pagi tradisional.

Hari Pertama – Doi Inthanon & Doi Suthep

Memulai perjalanan di Chiang Mai, kami memutuskan untuk menyewa motor matik dari Mango rent a bike. Beberapa kelebihan dan testimoni mengenai servis mereka:

  1. Motor yang dirawat dengan baik, karena kami melihat langsung ke workshop mereka dimana mereka melakukan perawatan regular, pengecekan, dan peralatan yang lengkap.
  2. Mereka tidak meminta deposit passport, hanya butuh 1,000 baht deposit. Uang akan dikembalikan saat motor dikembalikan. Di beberapa tempat lain, butuh deposit passport atau 3,000 baht deposit sebagai jaminan.
  3. Staff yang sangat responsif dan membantu.

Beberapa kekurangan:

  1. Pilihan motor yang terbatas. Hampir semua jenis yang ditawarkan adalah motor matik.
  2. Jam operasional yang cukup terbatas, tutup jam 6 sore. Rata-rata tempat lain tutup jam 8 malam.

Untuk menghemat biaya, kami memutuskan untuk menyewa motor matik Yamah Fino 115 cc seharga 250 baht per hari. Sebenarnya ada pilihan motor manual 500 cc yang pastinya akan lebih bertenaga namun biayanya 1,000 baht per hari yang tentunya akan menguras kantong. Agak sedikit gambling kami coba motor matik ini, dengan harapan bisa menanjak di bukit Doi Inthanon dan Doi Suthep. Memang di 10 km terakhir menuju Doi Inthanon kita mengalami kesulitan pendakian, gas penuh kecepatan mentok di 20 kilometer per jam. Di jalanan normal lurus tanpa tanjakan kita bisa dapat 80 kilometer per jam kok. Intinya kami tetap selamat dan bisa jalan-jalan sampai puncak dengan motor 115 cc yang digunakan boncengan, selain itu kita bisa jelajah ke semua tempat lainnya. Tempat paling ekstrim saja bisa, apalagi cuman jalanan biasa, kita sikat selap selip layaknya di jalanan Jakarta.

Perjalanan pagi ke Doi Inthanon

Perjalanan kami mulai pagi hari, setelah makan pagi di pasar terdekat dan keliling-keliling sambil ambil motor di Mango, kita tancap gas menuju Doi Inthanon. Jalanan menuju Doi Inthanon sangat mulus dan panjang, layaknya jalan tol. Total jarak yang ditempuh bolak balik sekitar 200 kilometer. Kita jalan menuju Doi Inthanon pukul 10:30 dan mencapai checkpoint kedua pukul 13:15 untuk beristirahat makan siang. Di jalan kami sempat berhenti beberapa kali untuk toilet break dan meregangkan badan. Dalam perjalanan kita melewati beberapa gerbang penjagaan untuk pengguna mobil yang perlu membayar tiket, namun sampai ke atas kami tidak membayar biaya apa pun.

Makan siang Tom Yum ayam dan ikan air tawar goreng khas Thailan sungguh membuat energi kami naik lagi, setelah perjalanan jauh, lanjut menuju puncak. Kami sempat beberapa kali berhenti ke objek wisata seperti Mae Klang waterfall namun tidak masuk karena biaya masuk 200 baht sangat mahal dan kita fokus mencapai puncak untuk menuju Pagoda Raja dan Ratu. Sore hari kami sampai, disuguhi olah pemandangan cantik kedua pagoda yang ditaburi cahaya matahari sore di tengah kabut tipis yang mengitari bukit-bukit disana. Sayangnya, area pagoda ini sangat ramai oleh turis jadi momen menikmati tidak terlalu syahdu. Pagoda tersebut bercerita tentang kehidupan Buddha dan ajarannya yaitu Dhamma.

Perjalanan malam Doi Suthep

Selesai menjelajah Doi Inthanon dan menempuh perjalanan balik 100 kilometer kembali ke Chiang Mai, kami kembali ke penginapan untuk bebersih. Sekitar pukul 6 sore saat matahari mulai terbenam, kami melanjutkan perjalanan menuju Doi Suthep yang terkenal itu. Karena lokasinya lumayan dekat dengan pusat kota Chiang Mai (sekitar 30 menit perjalanan), kami tidak menyangka perjalanan ke Suthep akan berkelok-kelok tanpa henti. Penerangan lampu sangat minim dan di beberapa tikungan bahkan kami bertemu dengan sesosok pria. Sosok raja Thailand yang dibuat hampir berukuran 4 meter dengan tatapan mata yang mentap pengendara di jalan. Perjalanan jadi lumayan seru, naik bukit sambil menebak-nebak kira-kira di tikungan selanjutnya akan ada sosok tersebut atau tidak. Sosok pria tegap berpakaian kerajaan sambil menatap, cocok untuk membuat kita tetap waspada di jalan. Temperatur udara dan cuaca sangat baik disana, tidak perlu pakaian dingin untuk kesana. Namun jika kita mengendarai motor tentunya jaket anti angin akan sangat membantu.

Setelah 15 menit perjalanan mendaki dari bawah, kami berhenti di pertigaan besar dimana banyak didapati turis-turis berdiri di sebelah kanan menunggu jemputan bus dan penjual makanan di sebelah kiri. Kami memarkirkan motor di dekat trotoar di depan penjual jus buah. Saya sempat nyobain jus manga disana, enak banget! Untuk menuju ke kuil, kita harus menaiki anak tangga yang lumayan banyak. Lumayan lah untuk kardio malam.

Sampai di lapangan tengah kuil, kami duduk di lantai sambil mendengarkan alunan paritta Buddhist yang dibacakan para Bhikkhu dan menikmati tenangnya malam itu. Angin yang sesekali bertiup, malam yang terang penuh bintang, gemerincing lonceng kecil khas kuil dan lantunan paritta membuat momen semakin larut dalam kesunyian. Di Doi Suthep, selain momen foto terpaan cahaya bulan ke kuil emas yang sangat indah, suasana disana sangat menenangkan.

Kami menyarankan untuk pergi ke Doi Suthep pada malam hari untuk menikmati suasana malam dan juga menghindari kumpulan turis yang ramai pada siang hari.

Turun dari Doi Suthep, sempat berhenti di spot untuk melihat lampu kota Chiang Mai dari bukit. Namun karena rasa lapar sudah melanda, kami putuskan lanjut turun untuk makan malam. Tidak jauh dari turunan Doi Suthep, ada daerah vibrant yang cukup ramai karena diramaikan mahasiswa mahasiswi Universitas Chiang Mai. Kami makan di sushi bar untuk mengisi tenaga dengan karbohidrat.

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

Saat perjalanan dari hotel menuju Doi Suthep, kami melewati suatu kompleks perjalanan dekat sebuah mall yang cukup besar. Sepulangnya dari sana dan makan malam, kami memutuskan untuk mampir jalan-jalan disana. Parkir motor dengan mudah bisa ditemukan, walau agak padat sih. Uniknya tidak ada tukang parkir yang minta bayaran loh disini.

Di night bazaar, banyak jajanan dan tempat jualan barang-barang unik. Pada dasarnya tidak jauh beda kok dengan bazaar di Indonesia, namun beberapa hal yang perlu kamu coba adalah:

  • Thai tea Chatramue, tokonya seperti toko boba gitu. Rasanya unik dan wajib coba.
  • Jajanan pasar hampir semua enak.

Berikut rangkuman perjalanan hari pertama kami di Chiang Mai, untuk bagian kedua akan bercerita tentang belajar seni. Ciao!

Astonishing Chiang Rai – exploring the golden triangle in a cheaper and hassle-free way

This is part of my 7 days trip to Thailand last December. Even though Chiang Mai was the main destination back there, Chiang Rai which was the supplemental destination successfully exceeding my expectation. Make sure you do not miss the golden triangle region of northern Thailand. During my trip in both Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, I chose motorbike as the main transportation choice. Read through on my post on how you can afford cheaper and less hassle transportation to explore the region.

Accommodation

Pan Kled Eco Hill Villa – 8.4 rated in Booking.com

Plus: Quiet and homey environment, motorcycle parking, including proper breakfast (choice of Thai or Western style), good value for money, very responsive staffs.

Minus: Hot water heater not working (however, they offered a room switch due to the inconvenience), location is far from the city center so a private transportation mode is a must.

Pan Kled Villa Room

First Day

We arrived in Chiang Rai quite late enough on a several hours bus drive from Chiang Mai. From the bus station, we took a grab car service directly to the Pan Kled hostel. Upon arriving, we checked in, had a late supper of Thai fried rice, and get a rest for tomorrow.

Renting a Bike

First thing first on the morning, renting a motorbike for the journey. Near the clock tower, there were lots of choice for Motorcycle rental. Our choice fell to the ST Motorcycle Rental.

ST Motorcycle Rental – near the clock tower – Jetyod Road

The cheapest alternative was the 125cc scooter with a cost of 250 baht per day. The deposit is a must but you can leave your passport as a substitute, which I strongly do not recommend because you need to keep your passport on your side every time wherever you go. The deposit was around 2000-3000 baht.

Fuels – for the second day full trip:
Chiang Rai – Golden Triangle (72 km)

Golden Triangle – Mae Sai (25 km)

Mae Sai – Chiang Rai (62 km)

Chiang Rai – White Temple – Singha Park – BANDAAM – Blue Temple (60 km)

Total journey was around 219 + intra city = 225 km

Bike journey from Mae Sai to Chiang Rai

We refueled 2 times of 91 RON gasoline on a total amount of around 7 litres (170 baht) . An average of 32 km/litre consumption, not bad eh? The total cost of transportation all over Chiang Rai per person:

170 baht + 250 baht = 420 baht / 2 person = 210 baht per person

IT IS FREAKING CHEAP! I strongly recommend you guys to use motorbike, and if you have more budget you can go for a higher cc bike to have faster journey. The maximum speed of the scooter was 80 km/hour, while the limit of the highway was 100 km/hour.

The long 1061 road

My route was Chiang Rai – Golden Triangle – Mae Sai. The other alternative was Chiang Rai  – Mae Sai – Golden Triangle. Just take the long 1061 road from Chiang Rai to reach Golden Triangle, the road was really smooth with only few of cars or local motorbike passing by. Upon reaching the Mae Sai from Golden Triangle, we were stopped by the local police for a passport and licence check. After showing my international driving licence, they let us go.

*There were some articles and blogs that telling the story on Thai police stopping and asking money from some tourists, but I do not think that is really the case. If you are wearing a helmet, having your licence, and behaving courteous then you are good to go.

the Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle was the largest opium producer area in the world alongside the Golden Crescent in Afghanistan.  It is the junction of the Mekong and Ruak river which is also a border of the Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand. The things to offer here are the view of the junction, the big sitting Buddha statue, and the House of Opium. There are two places that shows the opium related things: Hall of Opium and House of Opium. I did not go to the former one, since already visited the House of Opium.

Interesting things on the House of Opium: a story on how the drug addiction habit was actually started as a recreational activity on the early years, how they found out the opium turned out to produce the opium from the poppy, and on the end of the museum they show the effect of opium consumption. A recreational activity turned out to be a commodity business that powering the nations’ economy in the world war’s era.

There is a legend of the Mekong giant catfish as well. It is the Pangasianodon gigas which is known as Patin in Indonesia. It is also observed in the Kalimantan river as their habitat and local people consumed it as a source of protein.

Opium Museum

Mae Sai

Mae Sai is a city in the north of Chiang Rai, it is a border city between Burma and Thailand. The city is small but lively. We visited Mae Sai on the way back from the Golden Triangle using the west side road. Must visit places here are:

  1. The border market
  2. Wat Phra That Doi Wao
  3. The Big Buddha statue

All of the three are close nearby, but make sure you ride a motorbike for a convenient commuting. You can basically park your bike and get off for a place, then get in the bike to move to another places.

While exploring the market, I found an interesting traditional cardigan-like clothing. The lady owner was a Thai and the store assistant was a Burmese. You can identify the Burmese with a gold colored paint smear in their face. The clothes was so comfy and had an nice color combination, made me having bought the thing for 600 baht. I know it could be more cheaper but I like the shop owner and the assistant, and more importantly the clothes itself. We left at around 5 PM from Mae Sai, just before the sun set. On the way back, we passed by the famous Tham Luang cave where in 2018 twelve Thai boys trapped in.

Border side to Burma

Border control to Burma

Big Buddha

Scorpion Temple

Mae Fah Luang market

On the way back home to Chiang Rai, we passed by a crowded street near the Mae Fah Luang university area. Some street food vendors selling khai tot, crepes, thai tea, fried food, and waffle ball should not be missed. We took a break as well to stretch and also trying some foods.

Mae Fah Luang Food Market

the Clock Tower at 7 PM

Arriving at Chiang Rai, it was almost 7 and we proceed to the Clock Tower. At 7 PM, it showed a light show with music on the background. It was quite okay, but the traffic and crowd around slightly disturb the ambiance. I decided to come back at midnight to enjoy the clock tower.

Clock Tower at 7 PM

After that, we went to the night market just nearby to have a dinner. I devoured a portion of Pad Thai (which is I like most among all Pad Thai I tried in Thailand, I think it is the most authentic one) in the food bazaar just beside the night market. There was a live music on the food bazaar, local artist singing Thai songs. After eating, we explored a bit on the night market and had a one hour Thai massage. My first time trying the Thai massage and I liked it how they stretch our body after a long riding hours from Mae Sai. For massage, most of the parlor there will offer the same price (200 baht per hour for Thai massage, and around 300 bahts for traditional oil massage).

Jetyod Road

Even though I was exhausted, a Tottenham Premier League game could not be missed! So I searched for a nearby sports bar, and found out that the Jetyod Road where I rented my bike was full of bars at night. After looking around for the most comfy place, I chose the Cat Bar which is actually the most visited bar. After parking my motorbike on the side of the street across the bar, I sat and ordered a Singha beer. That was a good night, Tottenham trashed Everton with a 6-2 win!

Jetyod Road Bar

After the Full time whistle was blown and the bar was about to close, I rode my bike to see the Clock Tower at late night. It was nearly 1 AM so nobody was there, I could enjoyed the enthralling clock tower with no traffic on the street.

Clock Tower at Midnight

Second Day
White Temple

Wat Rong Khun is the most mainstream place in Chiang Rai. It is very crowded even in the morning. To be honest, I found this place as the most overrated. The concept of the hell depicted in the yard is quite interesting but apart from that, it is merely a touristy place. You need to pay an admission fee of 50 baht to enter the area. Moving on from here, we departed to the Singha Park.

Wat Rong Khun

Singha Park

Singha Park has lot to offer for a family. They have a restaurant, outdoor games, a mini farm, and a tea plantation sites. They also offer lots of good spot for photo-taking as well. The only thing is that the price of food is quite pricy, if you decided to go all-in backpacker style then you should bring your own food or skip the food in Singha Park to avoid the pricy restaurant there. I was tempted to try the climbing wall activity that costed me 150 baht (quite expensive right?) and my friend tried the zip line ride that she really enjoyed.

Bandaam Museum

This museum was promoted by the famous Thai artist, Thawan Duchanee. I enjoyed how the artist make a concept of hell into a complex, but somehow some display’s concept was seemed forced. My favorite display was the round mini house where some chairs placed on the circumference border inside the house. In the middle was a skin of a dead crocodile. It is weird, but the lighting and acoustic was good making it enthralling to sit inside. Moreover, this place is okay to visit (very touristy as well just like the Wat Rong Khun) but do not expect much from this.

Bandaam Museum

Blue Temple

This was our last destination in Chiang Rai before catching up the evening flight to Bangkok. This temple was actually better than the white one, in my view. It was still full of tourist but the architectural is better than the white. The afternoon light spraying on the temple building made it even enjoyable.

Blue Temple

Returning the bike and getting our deposit, we then hurried to the airport which is quite far from the city. Our grab driver was pretty skillful as she knew the shortcut to the airport as well so we arrived very early. The flight was also delayed, so we spent several hours waiting inside the airport.

Total Expenditure in Chiang Rai

4,154 baht

Rent a bike 2 days                        500
Gasoline First 91                          90
House of Opium entry                       50
Coconut @golden triangle                   35
Sun hat                                   120
Snacks 7-11                                55
Lunch (sweet sour pork+rice+americano)    230
Traditional clothing Mae Sai              600
Snacks Mae Fah Luang                       30
Dinner Pad Thai                            60
Thai massage + tip                        240
Beer at Cat Bar                            80
Gasoline Second 91                         80
White temple admission                     50
Singha Park lunch                         210
Singha Park climbing                      150
Bandaam admission                          80
Snack at blue temple                       55
Dinner                                     49
Accommodation for 2 nights               1150
Bus ticket to Chiang Rai                  240