A Chiang Run

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    CHIANG MAI – CHIANG KHAM – CHIANG KHONG – NAN – CHIANG MUAN - CHIANG DAO – CHIANG MAI

    THE WAY
    1. Chiang Mai – Mae Kachan – Phayao – Chun – Chiang Kham – Thoeng - Chiang Khong.
    Routes 118 – 120 – 1 – 1021 - 1020
    2. Chiang Khong
    3. Chiang Khong – Thoeng – Chiang Kham – Tha Wang Pha – Nan
    Routes 1020 – 1021 – 1148 - 1080
    4. Nan – Santiphab – Nan
    Route 1080
    5. Nan – Chiang Muan – Chun – Phayao – Wang Nua – Mae Kachan - Wiang Pa Pao – Phrao – Chiang Dao
    Route 1091 – 1021 – 1 – 120 – 118 – 1150 – 107
    6. Chiang Dao – Chiang Mai
    Route 107

    DATES: Sunday 30th May – Friday 4th June 2010

    Glorious weather. Route 120 Mae Kachan - Wang Nua - R1 "Phayao."
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    Route 1021 Phayao – Chun
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    not very exciting, but with such fabulous weather it was a lazy ride soaking up the fresh country air & views
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    En route to Chiang Khong I dropped 1 ½ hrs GPS-ing the sois of Chiang Kham city. Chiang Kham always strikes “you” as a bit of a backwater nowhere town, but it is a Thai Lue town & cruising the maze of sois in & around I (1) got lost / confused & (2) discovered I really like the town with its superb traditional houses, all kept spotlessly clean & well looked after. Such was my delight at re-discovering Chiang Kham I intend to spend a few nights there in the coming months. The town really is gorgeous & very traditional – something not so easy to find nowadays & with a character to be valued. Check it out sometime & you will be very pleasantly surprised!

    Wat Sridornchai. Chiang Khong
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    In Chiang Khong it was time to meet up with Moto-Rex & send him off to Laos for one of his regular dirt adventure rides; and the ‘Khong was looking as good as ever
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    Even Houei Xai looked stunning in the late afternoon light
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    With Moto-Rex away it was time to check on the new Mekong bridge progress. Some photos are already here
    houei-xai-chiang-khong-friendship-bridge-start-t4128.html#p47521

    You take the “Don Mahawan river road” at south end of town, just 300 metres after the bridge.
    And it’s a sweet rural lane down to the bridge site
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    Just past the bridge in the tiny village there are lots of Mekong rocks for sale
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    and all a bit naughty I thought.

    The next day was a leisurely ride to Nan on the amazing 1148. I took my time & snapped away endeavouring to emulate the famous Captain Slash, except I have to get off & on a relatively high Africa Twin. And it gets to be hard work after awhile = smaller is better for enjoying more of the scenery & taking photos!

    The start of the twisties on R1148

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    Up on the ridgeline
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    oh to have a riding partner for some riding shots I must say!

    Sakoen drink stop
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    Back on the road
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    Doesn’t R1148 just turn you on

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    I thought these two trees looked like a couple of flag marshalls beside the track!

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    Up on the ridgeline again
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    This fellah was on pole position by the looks of it
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    Cute spectators
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    The fabulous way ahead
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    The run down to Song Khwae
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    to be continued. Time for a San Miguel set..... :D :D
     
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  3. Ally

    Ally Ol'Timer

    Nice!

    Ally
     
  4. David Learmonth

    David Learmonth Ol'Timer

    Good photos. I am turning green with envy! :mrgreen:
     
  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    In Nan it was the Dheveraj Hotel for my place of stay this time.

    Backdoorpil turned up the next day as agreed, stayed at the same hotel & promptly got a room 100 baht cheaper than I did. His was 600 baht & mine 700 baht. Not impressed when I paid the bill on checkout after 2 nights I reminded the staff & manager that there should be NO touch ups on the old GT Rider fox.

    Next trip to Nan will be in a couple of weeks & I shall stay at another hotel - The Grand Mansion @ 350 baht a night.
    recommended-gt-rider-spots-contacts-in-north-thailand-t3374-100.html#p42312
    and make the point of visiting the Dheveraj to say hello, & remind them I'm back in town but staying at another establishment.
    :take-that: :take-that:

    Anyway, onward. Once Backdoorphil turned up it was time to (fit some tight jeans) & visit Buddhist Hell.
    Buddhist Hell in Nan is on show at Wat Phumin temple; & I have to say thanks to Bert on the Bike for the tip off here
    nan-hot-hazy-heavenly-ride-t7617.html
    :clap: :clap:
    I’ve been to Nan & Wat Phumin many times, but somehow always managed to miss the visit to hell. Perhaps it’s because it is inside that funny little white dome-chedi, that looks a bit like an old pressure cooker pot?

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    With hell out of the way it was time to head for heaven & the hills of Santhiphab, a Mien (Yao) village at the end of the road & the last in a series of Yao villages on a side road north-west of Nan. There’s no number on the Santiphab road yet, but it’s on page 160-161 of the old GT Rider Motorcycle Guide to the Golden Triangle. The turn off is still by the police checkpoint at Rai Prai Wan. GPS WAYPOINT N18 55.977 E100 45.702 if you rely on a GPS only.

    The road in is a real steepie, tight & narrow.
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    It used to end in Huay Juk / Nam Ngao, but the asphalt now runs in 17 kms.
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    There are still several lovely Yao villages along the way, & Santiphab is the last one, at the end of the road. You have to walk from here, or test yourself out on some single track maybe. According to the villagers there, they moved / walked from Sop Khun / Houn (17 kms away as the crow flies) 30 years ago. Sop Khun is down the mountain from Doi Tiew Hmong village on the mighty route 1082. Sop Khun was close to Doi Phachi & communist stronghold at the time & considered a hotspot in those early days. If you can talk to the locals out there, they have an interesting history worth checking out.

    True to form with poor rural people, they were all incredibly friendly & sincere. Backdoorphil & I were offered fruit, water & invited into their houses. We enjoyed ourselves immensely. Check it out sometime.

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    Fleeing the rain on the way home
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    but not quite, it caught up to us on the main highway & we were drenched in seconds! We took belated shelter at a petrol station. Note the different rain gear.
    The KTM Adventure Bike Rider
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    The Honda Dream Rider
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    and the winner was the moped rider of course. The locals know best!

    Meandering back into town we picked up on a new bridge across the Nan river, upstream from Nan city.
    Wat Had Ket Bon was a delightful; temple, close by the river, on the east side.
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    more coming..
     
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Slash
    The Santiphab turn off is on R1080, approximately 21 kms north of Nan; by the police checkpoint at Rai Prai Wan.

    Re the Dheveraj, I still like the place, although quite a few might disagree with me. What disappointed me most was that there was no real apology, or offer of a 100 baht (big deal?) refund paid for the first night in advance. It may well have been a genuine mistake, but after being a customer for 20 years & the manageress knows that, you'd expect them to cut you quite a bit of slack. The Dheveraj still has a warm friendly feeling to me, plus there is under cover parking if you want top use it. Compare this to the 350 baht cold sterile Grand Mansion & I'd rather pay the extra for the Dheveraj, most days.
    The Fah Thanin used to be good value for money too, but unfortunately it is no more - repossessed by the bank I believe.
    If you want to spend more there is also the new Nan boutique type hotel. GPS WAYPOINT: N18 46.905 E100 46.796.
    http://www.nanboutiquehotel.com/
     
  7. harrythefinn

    harrythefinn Ol'Timer

    Breakfast at the Hot Bread shop is worth it. :thumbup:
     
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    DAY 5 & & Time For A Ride:

    Nan – Chiang Muan – Chun – Phayao – Wang Nua – Mae Kachan - Wiang Pa Pao – Phrao – Chiang Dao
    Route 1091 – 1021 – 1 – 120 – 118 – 1150 – 107

    After a reasonable breakfast at the Dheveraj (my brekky favourite the Hot Bread was shut yet again)
    recommended-gt-rider-spots-contacts-in-north-thailand-t3374-100.html#p42509)
    we were on the road at 10AM, heading west away from the Sun.
    Route 1091 really is a superb motorcycle road & is my preferred route into Nan, if you’re going that way. BDP did it both ways on this trip & it will be interesting to know what he feels about – which way is a better ride? Heading East does it for me.

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    The descent to Ban Luang
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    It was not all green though
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    and you have to wonder what’s going on with the weather & what type of agriculture is involved.

    Two absolutely steep mountain crossings to keep you exhilarated
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    The Chiang Muan descent
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    Time for a change of pace (& say hello to old mates?)
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    something new for me in Chiang Muan: a dinosaur park

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    What you need to know
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    Laugh, was this guy about to water the tree?
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    or get on his motorbike & ride home? :lol: :lol:

    Inside the museum
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    one hell of a size & not someone you’d want to disagree with over 100 baht for your hotel room.

    There’s a pretty good display of info on dinosaurs & fossils in Thailand, & if you know as little as I do, then it’s interesting & informative = more ideas of places to ride & go see!

    Here’s the excavation site where the original discovery was made
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    all fenced in, & part of the museum. Well done. :thumbup: :thumbup:

    Back on the bikes it’s into the low undulating hills & what a joy Route 1091 is from Chiang Muan – Chun. A lot of guys prefer 1251 from Dok Kham Thai, but 1091-1021 it is for me. Faster more flowing, & with those sweet low rolling hills & a twisting road.
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    Wat Thung Nong was the only stop in the next section, & it’s worth it.
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    By the time we’d snapped away here it was time to go & ride – I wanted a photo session on R1150 Wiang Pa Pao – Phrao, as I anticipated the light would be good. It was that time of the day approaching. The whip was cracked & away we went, probably a bit faster than BDP would have liked, but not for me. Overtaking the MU7 was fun, and I’d tailed the guy for a long way – highly impressed with his smooth driving in & out of the traffic, no touching of the brakes, just rolling on & off the accelerator. It was a pleasure to ride / drive in a “convoy” with someone else so smooth.

    BTW from Route 1 to Route 107 via Route 1150 is one hell of a superb motorcycle ride guys.
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    Try this for an overnighter to Phayao: Chiang Mai – Chiang Dao – Phrao – Wiang Pa Pao – Mae Kachan – Wang Nua – Phayao. Route 1150 at the east Wiang Pa Pao is currently in perfect condition with fantastic forest cover & as good a ride as you can get in the North! Give it a go soon.

    Route 1150….
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    It was a bit of a mad rush to be up on R1150 at the right time, but it was well worth it, eh Phil....
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    The colours and light were superb
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    A big thanks to Phil for putting up with me on the photo sessions.

    Overall a great trip for me, with wonderful roads & wonderful people.
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    KEEP RIDING FOLKS!

    Life is good on the road. The rainy season is a coming & the countryside is turning green.
    :wave: :wave:
     
  10. burnjr

    burnjr Ol'Timer

    nice ride report david :happy1:
     
  11. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Oops, forgot this one.

    Phu Pheng Dao Resort

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    on R1091 approx 5kms south of Pong.
    GPS WAYPOINT: N19 04.326 E100 15.553

    Looks good, & there's not much else in the area. The owner claimed to be a cook from Bangkok, who first had a restaurant going on the site, then expanded it to include some beautiful bungalows. The place has style & class, so I don't doubt the food is excellent. Next time.....:thumbup:

    Check out the Thai website
    http://www.phupheangdao.makewebeasy.com/
     
  12. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    And at the end of the day we ended up at the beautiful Rim Doi Resort on Route 1178, north-west from Chiang Dao. The surroundings & food here are superb.
    There's a variety of accommodation from A-frames huts, to rooms, to bungalows, to 2-3 bedroom houses, to dorms.
    We opted for the 500 baht bungalows

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    BDP was up a lot earlier than me the next morning & took a lot of photos of the resort. Maybe he will post some of his photos to give you an idea how pretty Rim Doi is is...
     
  13. Franz

    Franz Ol'Timer

    David, seeing this report, I must admit in getting a little jealous how would I have loved to do this too, well your nice pictures will give me at last something to plan. Nan-Chiang Muan is a road I like very very much, and not only me, ask TonyBKK.....555555555555555555555555, keep 'em comin', Franz
     
  14. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    R1091 is the BEST way to ride into Nan!

    But why not check out the cute Dinosaur Museum on the way through?
    It's basically where you make the left turn on R1091 to head east to Nan.
    Straight on puts you on R1120 south to R1154 & Song.

    Head towards Nan, there is a dinosaur statue outside the Pong Sanuk school on the left side. 100 metres before you make the left turn to stay on R1091 for NAn.
    Turn off waypoint: N18 52.430 E100 17.188.

    I might join the SSR guys guys for the Nan sector, too.
     
  15. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    A couple of photos from Backdoorphil..
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    The Rim Doi Resort is on both the GT Rider maps

    1. The Golden Triangle Loop
    http://www.gt-rider.com/maps-of-thailan ... iangle-map

    2. The Mae Hong Son Loop
    http://www.gt-rider.com/maps-of-thailan ... -guide-map
     
  16. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

  17. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Bump for Alan Pratt. :idea:
     

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