The Road to Pang Mapa, a set on Flickr.
Pangmapa is one of my most favourite places to visit on a somewhat regular basis. I love its wildness, its seasons, its crazy mountain roads, its extreme vistas, deep fast moving chocolate rivers, remote villages and, ridge top footpaths and colourful hilltribe people.
I first came to Cave Lodge, Baan Tham Lod, Pangmapa in 1997 when I was leading trips for Intrepid Travel and found myself returning to Cave Lodge twice a month with tour groups in tow for the next 8 months straight then every now and again for another 5 months.
Over this period I became very good friends with the owners of Cave Lodge John and Nung Spies. I stayed with Intrepid Travel with 15 months then returned to Australia.
Unfortunately, I did not make it back to Thailand for 2 years after this but have since returned at least once a year since and always always make a trip to Pangmapa, to walk and talk with John and Nung, to climb into its caves, paddle its rivers, walk it's narrow ridge paths, eat the wild vegetables collected by Nung and the Shan Women at Cave Lodge.
I have travelled to Pangmapa (5 hours by road from Chiang Mai) by bus, mini bus, car, motorbike and scooter and no matter how I get there, no matter the season (I love rainy season the best), when I arrive at Cave Lodge and see John and Nung all my worries and weariness of the road thus far travelled slip away and I know the walking and talking will begin all over again.
Hope these images give you a taste of just what I'm talking about...