1500 kilometres of turns and counter-turns, mud and asphalt, mountain climbs and long downhill stretches to the rice fields for an itinerary far from the beaten track. Emerson Gattafoni and Valeria Cagnoni, the stars of ‘Dreams Road’, broadcast on Italian channel Rai Uno for more than 15 years already, have crossed the extraordinary countryside of Northern Thailand with their Multistrada Enduro bikes, taking in mountains and uplands that interweave history with a unique humanity that centres around culture, ancient traditions and warm hospitality.
The journey begins in the far North, in the village of Mae Klang, between mountainous landscapes and arduous roads, far from the Thailand of mass tourism and golden beaches. We are in the so-called “elephant’s head”, the animal symbolic of the Thai nation, where the land is dominated by forest upland and jungle-covered peaks. It is in these places, often characterised by cloud, widespread spirituality and the rituality of gestures and traditions, that the mountain people live, with their welcoming smiles and flower, rice and coffee plantations.
Mud and sweat on routes through the uplands
Once upon a time, the tribal people of these areas travelled by elephant, following the water courses. From 1965, a small road leads to the nearby villages, but the asphalt is not in perfect condition and so the route remains an adventure. The journey to Mae Hong Son, the city that borders Myanmar, is an arduous one that takes in winding roads, as well as stretches of mud and dirt. A tiring and difficult day, but one that gives a taste of true Thailand. Mae Hong Son is an authentic city, isolated for centuries, that preserves its ancient appeal, also thanks to an almost total absence of tourists.