Mountain rides around Chiang Mai Thailand

I’ve got a taste for long rides now. My first venture outside of cruising along the roads of Bali was to ride from Canggu to Ubud. I was cautious at first, i’d never ridden outside of the area I was staying before, but the idea of getting from one spot of Bali with just a scooter and a backpack appealed too much. Like easy rider but on scooters. Even easier rider.

When I targeted Chiang Mai as the next place I wanted to visit, one of the draws was the huge amount of natural mountains and parks which surrounded the area. Mountains meant mountain roads, and that meant twists, turns and empty stretches broken up with beautiful views, all surrounded by fantastic scenery.

People when visiting Chiang Mai choose to ride to Pai, a three-is hour journey starting out at Chiang Mai, then up through the mountains and eventually ending in a little town called Pai. However, my travel preferences mean time on the mats and time spent being creative with clients, this would of been a long ride with no rolling at the end.

Luckily, I came across something information about the national park around the Doi Suthep Wat. Lush environments, a mountain side Wat (temple), all at the top of a 40 minute or so ride out of the city and through the mountain roads.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Here we have the best of everything. No overnight stay so I’d be back on the mats tomorrow, but still a fun scooter cruise and some beautiful environments too.

I plugged the location in to my maps and set off. The bends and the views on these roads make for an amazing ride, and one thing I hadn’t considered but really enjoyed was that the air gets cooler and cleaner the higher you go. It really bought home for me how polluted the city air is in a lot of Asia, and how much I miss the crisp air of home. This was maybe the second time in months that I’ve actually felt a little cold. There’s view points on the way up where you can grab a landscape photo of Chiang Mai. The old town with the fort walls is easily visible here, cutting through the city you can see a square and as with all great stopping points in Thailand, there’s an abundance of meat on a stick.

The real magic of this route though isn’t on a stick, it’s at the Wat.

At the end of the ride i’m at the gate for the Doi Suthep Wat. After the usual shops and stalls I spot the stairs. There’s no elevator to this temple, and it’s high up. I’m glad yesterday wasn’t leg day as I begin the climb. Just before I enter I remove my now well worn shoes (one pair for the whole trip so far) and I’m surrounded by gold.

I wasn’t expecting to be entranced by this temple, but the pure amount of gold statues and monuments creates an amazing glow all around you. Today was cloudy and the sun wasn’t bright, but what little there was reflected off everything around me and the whole place was illuminating. When you combine it with the peaceful setting of being high up in the mountains and people respecting the silence around you, it really does feel spiritual. It’s calming to walk around it, you can really take it in and reflect. Sure there’s a hundred other people doing the same, but it doesn’t take away from the environment.

Just look up.

Continue Reading

Balinese New Year, Nyepi and the Ogha Ogha

Balinese new year means two things. Ogha Ogha and silence. The celebrations here take the form of firstly (over the weeks leading up to the day) building huge demons out of paper mache, these are called Ogha Ogha and each area has it’s own one. On the day before their new year, they parade these mache monsters down the streets before arriving at a meeting point to show them off with each village performing their own dance.

It’s pretty amazing to watch, and although Canggu has it’s own Ogha Ogha, I got the local knowledge and was told they’re bigger and better over at a place called Mungoo.

A post shared by Richard Moody (@rich.roams) on

A post shared by Richard Moody (@rich.roams) on

So, myself, a small scooter squad, and a few Bintangs took the shortcuts through the rice paddies to ride over to Mungoo. There’s something awesome about riding to a new spot in Bali, the scenery is always beautiful, and scooters handle like a dream.

Upon finding the parade we almost became part of it. We wanted to see all the Ogha Ogha before they arrived at the meeting point so we rode up some side streets. Unfortunately the parade was coming in fast from the other direction. We about faced and quickly. I’ve never been chased by a parade of monsters before but it’s more trouble than it sounds.

Continue Reading

Have Gi Will Travel

3 planes (1 of them I almost missed). 2 Layovers. 1 Sketchy cab ride.

South Africa to Bali was a long twenty something hours of flying, with a further double digits of layover time (I don’t want to think about what this travel time was in total – I think the exact math comes to a lot).

However after almost missing my connecting flight from Kuala Lumpur to Denpasar Bali (what airport needs 2 sets of immigration?) I made it.

Time zones took a while to adjust to and i’ve been exploring the area of Canggu. There’s a few Jiu Jitsu schools here but i’ll be spending most of my time at Bali MMA although may do the odd class at a few of the others just to get in some new rolls.

The surf here is amazing and i’ve been alternating training days with surf days. Adapting to the heat has gone a long way in improving my rolls – it definitely held me back in SA. I heard it’s snowing at home, I much prefer this, even though I probably lose a solid 2kg+ per training session.

I’ll do a few posts about training in Canggu Bali, as well as a few more travel based posts here as i’ll be here for a while.

I’m also putting the things in process to create Jiu Jitsu and MMA brand inspired by the places i’m visiting. There’s a lot of great design around, cool cafes, awesome brands and tonnes of naturally pretty things to look at in this area. It’s been really fuelling my ideas and creativity. I’ll post more about that once there’s a bit more to show…

Enjoy training everyone – more updates to follow!

Continue Reading