September 10th, 2007 – by: vosking
Busstation Chiang Mai.
Today we go further to Soppong. A small place on the road to Mae Hong Son. We go to the busstation in the Sawngthâew ( it's a pickup taxi with a roof and a bench on both sides). It's the same driver as yesterday and still as friendly. I cann't say I feel the same way, it's 7.15 a.m. and I'm still quite sleepy. After saying goodbye to the driver we walked to the ticket office to buy the bustickets. There is the same man as yesterday aswell. he's also very friendly, he's even make a joke about the bus. He says that our bus is a non airco, very old and small one. I laugh about his joke and pay for the tickets. I tell my husband about how funny the ticket salesman was about the bus and he laugh's aswell about it. We waited for quite a while.
Many busses arrived and left the station. The busses are very big and nice painted. They even got stewardesses. What a luxery!! After 20 minutes, a small old smoking diesel bus arrived at our platform. It must be a mistake. No one will travel with a bus like that. SHIT!!! It wasn't a joke, the guy was serious about the bus. It's our bus!! There only about 10 bench seats in the bus. Our backpacks and all kind off goods and grocery's of our fellow travellers, are placed on the backseat. We can step in to the bus and sit on our bench. Okay, I maybe not one off the tallest people, but even I hat to bend over not hurt my head. And then we sat down on our bench. OH DEAR, this is going to be a long trip. I was sitting next to the window, but my husband couldn't even sit normal on the bench.
Local bus to Soppong.
The bench was about 75cm wide. But then even more people came in the bus and there were no seats left. They were sitting on bags of rice and and other bags with things in it, I even don't want to know. Mothers with baby's were sitting in the path. In total 40 people and luggage fit in the bus. After an hour driving we came in the mountains. From that moment the bus drove maximum 10 KM an hour. You could walk next to bus, that slow. Everytime we stopped in the mountains, the second driver hat to jump out of the bus to put a big wooden bloc behind the weels. After an 4 hours driving the bus stopped again. All the passagers were leaving the bus. So, we did aswell. First I hat to gave a baby back to her mother, she was laying in my arms the last couple of hours.
Our local bus to soppong.
It's just a pitstop. We're not there yet. We were half ways. !5 minutes later everybody went back in the bus and we went further. The scenery is magnificent. Time enough to look at the view the bus is getting slower by the minute. Severel times we hat to stop for military checkpoints. It's close to the Birmese border and there are many smuggler and illegal Birmese who are trying to get in to Thailand. So, we hat to keep our passports nearby, because every time we hat to show them. The athmosphere in the bus was relaxed, most people were a sleep. The children in the bus were playing with us. We were like enormous white dolls to them. It was okay, we did funny faces with them. And we hat a good crowed, they kept laughing.
Inside the bus.
After an 8 hours travel, we arrived in Soppong.
YES,YES!!! At last, we could go out of the bus. With us, most fellow travellers did. They all live in or nearby Soppong. The guesthouse we picked, was nearby. At the end of the town, nearby the road halfways in the bush. Soppong River Inn guesthouse is a bit more expensive then the other guesthouses, but you got the most beautifull view over the river and the appartement/ room is great. Build with natural materials and all the luxery you need with a fan, toilet(paper), warm shower, big bed, musquitonet, fridge etc...
Inside the bus.
We were exhousted of the bus trip. We freshed our selves up and went back to the town for having an meal. Their is only on bar in Soppong. The owner is an englishman married to an Thai and lives there for severel years now.
His wife makes us an northern Thai meal with the things she got left in the house. She apologies for the fact that she hasn't got enough in house for a full meal, but the market is tomorrow. For us it's no problem, the food taste great and the Chang beer also. After a nice talk and meal we walked around town. Their is not so much to see, it's just one street with about 50 houses on both sides of the street. That's the whole town. The market place is the most important thing in town. Tommorow we will see for our selves. We go back to the guesthouse and relax the rest off the day. The bus trip was exhausting and I even got muscular pain in my legs and but from sitting in an uncomfortable way.