Continuing the Tuk Tuk Diaries, it’s Day 6 and Mark and Jen visit Mae Hong Son where they have a close brush with celebrity.

Having dropped down Doi In Thannon and driven west to the Myanmar border, today we head to Mae Hong Son some 170 kilometres to the north.

Maybe its because Liverpool won last night but today Jen and I feel in perfect harmony, she is shifting through the gears as if I am a mere passenger, even when Smithy isn’t driving.

The Tuk Tuk Dairies Ninjas
The Tuk Tuk Diaries : Meeting the Ninja Bikers

On the opening stretch we pass through a lovely boulevard of trees, which provides a delightful dappled shade. Now, relaxed behind the wheel I feel Jen moving towards the 60kph mark – although The Tuk Ruk Club stipulates a 50kph speed limit – and I have to release the throttle, when Smith gently reprimands me.

I even begin to obey the Highway Code Thai-style, indicating left when it’s safe to be overtaken and right when I’m approaching a tight bend or an oncoming vehicle – not that the overtaking vehicles often take note of the latter. This is the perfect Sunday morning spin.

Stopping for coffee and a comfort break, we bump into some Thais from Bangkok who have just driven up here on their motorbikes, and our now playing on some swings. They are going to spend a week travelling along these roads at a speed that will put us to shame.

We take lunch in Kuhn Yuam about 70km from Mae Hong Son, enjoying some local cuisine and my first experience of a lunchtime fuk, a type of vegetable like a gourd not a Mediterranean ‘siesta’.

Shortly before we reach our destination we stop at the Pha Bong view point, which offers us quite spectacular views of the valley below. I see a group of bikers in the distance but it’s not our swinging Thais.

We don’t quite get as far as Mae Hong Son, as our destination is some 10 kilometres before the town – the Fern Resort. Angelina Jolie stayed here on a visit in her pre-Brangelina days and then again with Brad Pitt. There is some commotion as we check in. Then the keys are handed out and I am allocated room 16 – Angelina’s room.

Mae Hong Son market was a peaceful affair with no hard sell

We don’t quite get as far as Mae Hong Son, as our destination is some 10 kilometres before the town – the Fern Resort. Angelina Jolie stayed here on a visit in her pre-Brangelina days and then again with Brad Pitt. There is some commotion as we check in. Then the keys are handed out and I am allocated room 16 – Angelina’s room.

Now, I am not normally one to suffer from stardust in my eyes, but as I am led to my room I wonder how extravagant it will be – a four poster bed perhaps with fine silk drapes – before my guide explains it’s quite “simple”. True enough when I open the door I discover no Aladdin’s den, but a simple wooden bungalow. Still, I think to myself – this is the bed that Angelina slept in.

After some sunset drinks overlooking the paddy fields, we drive into Mae Hong Son. The town is abuzz with the night market which spreads around the lake in the middle of the street. Now, normally I am not one who likes markets – either night or daytime. Having an arm tugged by someone who is trying to sell me a bracelet or scarf or bag that looks identical to every other bracelet or scarf or bag but at a “bargain” price that is twice as much as you should pay, has no appeal to me whatsoever. So, as we ease ourselves into the throng I start looking for the nearest bar to base myself.

However, the Mae Hong Son market was a peaceful affair with no hard sell, clearly marked prices and although all the bags still looked much like every bag I have seen in all the years of travelling through Southeast Asia, I felt myself more inclined to buy them simply due to the relaxed atmosphere. Not that I did of course, settling upon three brownies which I shared with the group.

in bed with angelina
The bed that Angelina slept in – well the bed in the room where she slept

Tomorrow will be another day of rest for The Tuk Tuk Diaries, but still I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep. Well, if it’s good enough for Angelina then it’s good enough for me. At least I should have a jolly good night’s sleep.


The Tuk Tuk Diaries continues with Jen taking another day’s rest while Mark goes on a hike.


Read Mark and Jen’s previous adventures on The Tuk Tuk Thailand Dairies, here.


To get more information on how to get off the beaten road with The Tuk Tuk Club, click here.

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