Sunday 26th July. Northern Thailand. A day ride around Samoeng Neua area, where I took a ride to Mae Sap Cave, Wat Pa Sukawadee, up to the mountain views of Mon Jam, then to Di Bosco Coffee Specialists and Sala Cafe. (..with a quick stop at San Pa Gu Meditation retreat). Full Loop: Google Map Link (I dont often share rides in the forum, but hopefully, this small day ride isnt too boring. ) FIRST STOP: Di Bosco Coffee Specialist. Chiang Mai province seems to be the coffee shop hub of all of Thailand, spoiling us with multiple choices. One or two always stand out a little from the crowd, and Di Bosco is one of them. They recently totally renovated the interior of the coffee shop also, with great care and attention. Fab coffee and food, with tons of parking space. A great Sunday ride stop..or any day of the week! SECOND STOP: Mae Sap Cave. Having passed by this cave entrance many times, but not stopping to enter, I decided it was time to pay it a visit. I am glad I did. The cave has a very striking and beautiful entranceway, with two main caverns (actually, three, if you count the one leading off from the 2nd cavern). There are no small tunnel systems (that I could find), but still worth visiting for how stunning the cave looks (unlike the labyrinth of deep interesting (and somewhat frightening) tunnels at Tukkatan Cave, at the opposite end of the Samoeng Loop, which I wrote about HERE). It seemed I also timed it well, for at approximately 1 pm the sun came through the natural skylight in the top cavern, flooding the cave floor below. Very beautiful! Additional Details: The cave is free to enter, but a donation box invites you. If you need torches, they can be rented for 20 baht. THIRD STOP: Cực Lạc Cảnh Giới Tự – Wat Pa Sukawadee. I have visited this rather unusual and secretive Vietnamese temple several times since I first came across it on a small explore-ride around Samoeng Neua area last year. Sometimes the gates are open, sometimes closed, but always feels a little like outsiders aren’t really welcome. Officially a teaching temple, they seem wary about outside visitors popping in. On this day I was lucky. Actually, most times I have been lucky in truth. As I was able to enter easily. It really is quite a surreal place, which began construction in 2005 with a $3 million USD budget but left incomplete. In saying that, I did notice some new concrete rendering drying on some pillars, so possibly there is still low key construction going on. I wrote about this temple in more detail, after researching, which, if interested, you can read about HERE. FOURTH STOP: MON CHAEM/JAM Mon Chaem/Jam was typically packed, despite the pandemic. Thailand, having eased off on restrictions, means Thai people are enjoying some tourism in their own country. So, although this region is normally packed with foreign tourists (mostly Chinese), it was still very much congested on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, with car license plates showing a variety of provinces visiting. Seems like everyone wanted a Sunday ride or drive out that day. Thankfully the routes I took that day avoided most of the traffic, and I choose to stop at a simple food place a little down from the main mountain viewpoint. This meant that my midday snack was Mama Noodles instead of something more substantial, but for a great view and avoiding the mass crowds and chit-chat, it was worth it. Also, the lady I bought the food from was Hilltribe, with a beautiful baby strapped to her back, so how could I resist?! FIFTH STOP: SALA CAFE Once I came down from Mon Jam and hit the depressing peak traffic on the 1096, I decided not to end my Sunday ride and instead decided to veer off and head to Sala Cafe for a last (proper) bite to eat before heading home. I also figured I would make a quick stop at the base of San Pa Gu Meditation Retreat, to try to catch the sun setting on the naga dragon staircase. Unfortunately, I didn’t make time to photograph or video beautiful Sala Cafe, as I arrived late and only had a short time in which to eat my food before they closed. I didn’t want to delay their cleaning up and closing time. I will return again to make a proper video of the beautiful cafe. Sala cafe also displays wonderful photographs by photographer Jurgen Chopard, who has been photographing Hilltribe communities for decades. You can visit the cafe to see his photographs and also view them HERE. LAST STOP: San Pa Gu Meditation Retreat Alas, sadly I was just not quite quick enough when eating my meal at Sala Cafe, and missed the window of opportunity for the Golden Hour sunset hitting the naga dragons at San Pa Gu staircase. No matter, just another excuse to return again to try capture the best light at this magnificent entranceway. Maybe another Sunday ride out! My detailed video for this wonderful retreat, including the unusual grounds inside, is HERE ..and finally, HOME A perfect Sunday Ride. Wish you all happiness and good health. Hope I haven't broken any forum rules on this.