BKK to Chiang Mai to Chaing Khong to Nan to BKK in 5 days!

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by TonyBKK, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Good Times with the GT Riders!
    We left Bangkok for Chiang Mai at about 0800 with 9 riders.
    Straight shot up the 1-
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    A beautiful day for a ride! We made excellent time and passed hundreds of other bikers. (Oddly no one passed us) :wink:

    Google estimates drive time at about 10 hours, but we did it in about 8 with a long stop for lunch and a few other mishaps.

    One guy on an aging CBR400 made it an hour out before his front sprocket apparently fell off, or the drive bearing broke or something like that. This is the same guy who showed up at the rendezvous point nearly an hour late. I couldn't be bothered to go back and bid him farewell. :?

    A Thai rider on a borrowed CB400 didn't notice that his fuel line was leaking until he ran out of gas (at which point he was soaked in gasoline and far from any gas station...)

    The kind gentleman who invited the two riders above lost his phone so we didn't see him again until this morning when we happened to run into him at the Bike Week. He had picked up a friend in Sing Buri and had also gone to fetch gas for the CB400 so the three of them were able to make it to CM, albeit quite a bit later than originally planned.

    80km out of CM the R1's "trunk" flew off, but it wasn't noticed that it had gone missing until some 20km later, requiring the owner to backtrack and search along the road for his missing piece. Fortunately it wasn't run over and was recovered with only minor scratches.

    So- even with all of these delays and rather heavy holiday traffic and a LONG lunch break we still made it to CM in about 8 hours. I think that on a 'normal' day without any mishaps it could easily be done in 6 or 7 hours.

    I didn't take hardly any pictures on this day. Here's one I snapped at a gas stop-
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    XJR1300, R1, Ninja ZX10, Ninja 250R (2 more Ninja's missing from the pic)

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    No idea how this bike went over, but fortunately the rider was unhurt and the damage to the bike is only cosmetic.

    Seems like on the Holiday that the police decided to abandon all their checkpoints. We rode all the way from BKK to CNX at speeds of 140-170km/hr without a single checkpoint- that's a first for me, and I LIKE it! 8)

    I was worried that we were too slow for the guys on the rockets- Ninja ZX10 and Yamaha R1, but they were really cool and were content to rocket ahead and then slow down and rocket ahead again. Both very competent riders which is always nice!

    Upon arrival we enjoyed many rounds of refreshments at the Kafe in Chiang Mai [​IMG]

    The missus drove the truck up and brought my son and his nanny as well. We stayed at the Top North Hotel, stumbling distance from the Tha Phrae Gate and the Kafe-
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    Basic clean room for 800THB/night including breakfast. Not luxury, but not bad. Free WiFi, a pool, and excellent location.

    Like I said- I didn't take many pics on this day, so hopefully others can fill in what I've missed.

    DAY TWO coming up next!
     
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  3. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    CHIANG MAI BIKE WEEK and Golden Triangle Riders trip- DAY II

    I forgot to mention that we had the good fortune to run into a bunch of GT Riders at the Kafe on Friday evening. My friend John from Khon Kaen looked quite pleased and confident on his beautiful new BMW GS1200
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    Peter Dougal was there on his trusty FZ1 (the one on the left)
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    And I got to meet Marco, a very nice fellow riding a GIGANTIC BMW 1800LT, aka the "Land Yacht"- :wink:
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    Goodness it makes my little Ninja 250R look small... [​IMG]

    Also met David and Mai from Chiang Khong. Those two experienced GT Riders have travelled over 100,000km in SE Asia on their various BMWs and are a joy to know. They were riding their nicely customized BMW1200GS-
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    Saturday was a mellow day- Trent and my little one at breakfast-
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    I forget which one is the baby... :roll:

    Then wife and baby stapped on their lids and we rode over to the Chiang Mai Bike Week site at the Sirinat Hotel to check out the scene.
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    That's right- 3 up on a Ninja 250R! Only in Thailand, huh? :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    The Bike Week was off to a slow start; not too many bikes yet and they were still setting up some of the booths.

    We wandered around and enjoyed checking out the Harley girls. Here are some pics my buddy Trent took-

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    Met up with John, Dougal and Marco in the hotel for coffee. (Milk for some) :wink:
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    At the Bike Week we also ran into KhunDan whom we had lost the previous day shortly after leaving Bangkok. It turned out he had lost his phone somewhere along the ride which of course made it impossible for him to contact any of us. Fortunately he and his friend from Singburi and his Thai friend on his wife's CB400 were able to make it to CM on the 5th despite the various unexpected challenges that were thrown their way.

    It was a beautiful day and the GT Riders were going to meet at IanBungy's X-Centre in the afternoon, so I decided to take the missus and little one a a fun little loop around Doi Suthep since the X-Centre is on the loop-
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    Wow- I'd done this road on a dirt bike years ago and didn't notice what a fun road it is. A bit challenging 3-up, but we managed just fine. I was in some pain on the steep downhill sections what with my son sitting behind me and the wife on the pillion pressing me up against the tank- OUCH! :cry:

    I got a break when we came to a large tree that had fallen across the road-
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    Took a while for some guys with chainsaws to clear the road and we were off again!

    There were a lot of beautiful bikes at the X-Centre-
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    An interesting mix of styles- here we have a stunning CB1300 with more custom parts than I could ever list and a sexy Triumph Tiger 1050:
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    A Bonnie and a Street Triple-
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    To Be Continued... [​IMG]
     
  4. Muzz

    Muzz Ol'Timer

    Well done lads, looks like fun! I did Singapore to Bangkok in 22 hours back in 2000 on a GS1150. I would not recommend that ride to anybody. No sleep, just coffee, fuel and pi55 stops! :D
     
  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    TonyBkk
    Good stuff mate. It's a pleasure having you on GT Rider & contributing. I'm also glad you've met up with some GT Riders from the North too. It's fun being able to finally put faces to the nicknames & meet in person eh? So thanks for your trip report(s). Please keep 'em coming.
     
  6. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Cheers David and Muzz- Always a good time with the Golden Triangle Riders!

    Enjoyed a fun afternoon with the Golden Triangle Riders at the X-Centre on Saturday. This is where we decided to ditch the rather boring Chiang Mai Bike Week and join Dougal, John, Marco, and David and Mai on their Golden Triangle ride. :lol:

    My son was quite taken with Ian's puppy Butch [​IMG]
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    And the puppy seemed to enjoy the attention :mrgreen:
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    Game Over! :wink:
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    I'd never been to Ian's X-Centre, but highly recommend it- great food, super friendly staff, and a nice place to take the family-
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    After the X-Centre we rode back into Chiang Mai. I tried unsuccessfully to find an express laundry, but was successful in drinking a few more beers with the boys at the Kafe [​IMG]

    Wanted to pick up a GTR shirt at Mr. Mechanic but they only had XL in stock... Gives me a good reason to ride back up when they get more in stock :wink:

    Went for a brief swim with my son back at the Top North Hotel- talk about COLD!!!
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    This is NOT the pool, but my boy was ready to jump in! [​IMG]

    Then off to the Chiang Mai Bike Week-
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    I've got to say that this was probably the most mellow Bike Week I've ever been to in Thailand... Hats off to Yamaha and HD for putting together some very impressive displays with lots of sexy girls, but all of the other brands were quite disappointing. Triumph and BMW displays were bare bones and zero accesories. I gave my friends at Kawasaki a hard time for not having a ZX10R or ER-6N on display. I mean after all, they're planning to start selling them in 2009, so why not send up the display models from Bangkok for the Bike Week to let everyone know what's coming?!
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    All of the North Comet guys I met were very friendly, but it was not a very well organised event. There was a lot of confusion about the registration process, what with abandoned tables and no stickers. There was a stage with an old lady singing karaoke or something- very odd... The free food for bikers was a nice touch, but what's up with trying to charge 300Baht for a Chiang Mai Bike Week T-shirt?! :?

    Contrast that to last weeks Bangsaen Bike Week where every biker got a FREE T-shirt (Trent got 5?!?!) and additional shirts were available for only 150THB. I skipped the CM T-shirt and I think I'll skip this bike week in the future...

    I was very very happy that Trent and I met some of my GT Rider friends who invited us to join them on an awesome Golden Triangle ride.

    To be continued! 8)
     
  7. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Riding the Golden Triangle- Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong with the GT Riders 8)
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    David and Mai, Dougal, John and Marco- I can't thank you all enough for inviting us to join you on your ride. I'd never been past Mae Sai and it was awesome to explore new country with skilled riders.

    Gassing up in the morning:
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    The 107 winds through some beautiful country and it was good to get out of Chiang Mai and RIDE! 8) A few solid hours of riding brought us to Tha Ton where we stopped at Kwan's Guest House for coffee and lunch-
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    David, Trent, Peter and Marco

    A beautiful day and stunning scenery, though past the 107 the roads in this part of Thailand were not in the best condition- had to watch out for potholes and gravel/sand in the corners. Fortunately traffic was surprisingly light considering it was a holiday weekend.

    The Golden Triangle!
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    We arrived in Chiang Khong in the late afternoon. Peter, John, Trent and Marco checked into a cute guesthouse on the river. My wife (driving the 'support' vehicle) REALLY wanted to go camping and David and Mai were kind enough to invite us to their beautiful resort-like home where they let us set up camp.

    Trent came over and saw what a beautiful place it was and promptly returned his key to the guesthouse and moved to David and Mai's place as well. :lol:

    Mai and her mother cooked up an amazing Kantoke-style dinner for us which we washed down with plentiful beers- Trent and I stayed up late around a nice warm fire drinking with Mai's brother and uncle and playing sobriety games until they couldn't stand and Trent lost a sock... :roll:

    I borrowed a sleeping bag and passed out under the stars. You really could not ask for a better ending to a perfect day! 8) :lol: :mrgreen:

    To be continued!!!
     
  8. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Touring Thailand on Two Wheels- Chiang Khong to Nan via Phu Chi Fa 8)

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    Oh yeah! This is what it's all about!!! [​IMG]

    Woke up well rested with only a minor headache from the previous night's festivities :wink:
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    A beautiful morning and quite chilly.
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    David and Mai's place is amazing- Peter said they need to print up some maps so that guests don't get lost!
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    Time to ride!
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    Near Phu Chi Fa
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    A coffee break in Phu Chi Fa:
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    Route 1148- a new favorite! 8)
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    I took these pics while riding- probably not the safest thing to do but I just had to get some pics of this amazing road!

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    Had to pull over for a quick pit stop and snapped John and Trent as they rode by-
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    Heh heh- I didn't mean to take this pic but it came out kinda cool 8)
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    Following Peter, John, and David and Mai-
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    Beautiful roads and stunning views-
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    Well, mostly beautiful roads! :wink:
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    A final gas stop before rolling in to Nan- You can tell everyone is happy with the day's spectacular ride [​IMG]
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  9. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Here's our final day- Nan to Bangkok in 8 hours! 8)

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    We left Nan at 0800 after coffee and a good breakfast. It was very cold and very foggy! I'd say visibility was perhaps 30 meters or less in certain places. A chilly but beautiful morning ride.

    There are some beautiful winding roads that pass through the mountains between Nan and Phrae, and again between Phrae and Uttaradit. After that it was full throttle pretty much all the way to Bangkok, and again, the only police checkpoints we encountered waved us through ahead of waiting cars and trucks making us feel like VIP's :lol:

    Another nice discovery is that the Highway 11 via Phitsanulok is in MUCH better condition than the more popular and somewhat rough in spots Highway 1 that most people take to get to Chiang Mai.

    Next time I'll take Highway 11 for sure as it's a much more pleasant ride.

    Happy Trails!
     
  10. beattheswiss

    beattheswiss Ol'Timer

    This is such a great cheerful trip report, Tony, I enjoyed it a lot! It was good meeting you and your family and all the lads at the Kafe on Friday night. What a crying shame we couldn't enjoy the GT Riders' company just a few days longer. Well, there's always a next time!
    Have a good time in Europe over the holidays. Hope to see you in BKK some time!
     
  11. Franz

    Franz Ol'Timer

    Tony, once more it amazes me how good your reports and pictures are !!!! Many thanks in sharing with us this long trip to&down from&to Cnangkokx !! Just imagine that you had to work hard on your throttle for keeping up with all the 1.000+ cc bikes around you, but don't worry, 2009 and ER6N or Ninja 1000 are soon here........... :p
    Cheers,Franz
     
  12. Marco

    Marco Ol'Timer

    Hi Tony

    Nice report,,but my little German PANZAR wagen (LT) is only 1200,, i hope it would be 1800 but not yet,, how ever heard from BM booth in Bike week that there might be 1800 or 2000cc LT coming out on 2010 and i'm gonna grab one if im still here (job issue)

    It was really nice to meet you and your happy family and Trend,,that is one gigolo that lad, but fun to be with,, i have one picture what im gonna post soon him molesting Ians ZORB ball in x-center.... 8)

    i took 506 pictures on my cam and will sorting them out and will post as soon.
     
  13. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Cheers Beat, Franz and Marco,

    Beat- It was great to meet you and your lovely wife in CM and we hope to see you again in the new year.

    Franz, you were missed but your name came up often and we'll certainly have some adventures in 2009! (Dougal spoke of a trip to Laos in February :lol: )

    Marco- ha ha- 1800, or 1200, it's so big I don't think it matters! :wink:

    Looking forward to seeing your pics. It's so cool how you can put your bike on cruise and use both hands to take pictures!

    It was funny, but the little Ninja 250R kept up just fine since none of the guys in our group are speed demons, except perhaps for Trent, but I can always catch him in the corners :wink:

    Happy Trails!
     
  14. 2Up Chiang Khong

    2Up Chiang Khong Ol'Timer

    Was great riding with you and the others - good cheerful FUN riding!

    You're all welcome back our way anytime!!

    Cheers,
    David and Mai
    Chaing Khong
     
  15. Marco

    Marco Ol'Timer

    David & Mai

    It was so nice to meet you guys but unfortunetly just too short, well next time longer.

    Heard from Peter that following few days you guys had a fantastic ride, happy to hear that and hope to ride with you guys again.
     
  16. Dougal

    Dougal Ol'Timer

    Tony,

    Great report as usual.
    Just back myself and will try and get the photos sorted out. Catching up with work so please be patient.

    Hey everybody, you got to ride with Tony and Trent; they are just great entertainment value both on and off the road.

    A very special "Thank You" to Dave and Mai for their great hospitality and taking time out to take us around and down to Nan. The rest of you can be justifiably jealous as I had a beautiful day trip with them around and up Doi Pukha.

    I was just sorry that Marco had to rush home and could'nt be with us.

    Thanks Tony.
     
  17. nakedAIR1300

    nakedAIR1300 Active Member

    Hey David & Mai, Marco, Peter and John,

    I agree it was an awesome trip. Leaving Chiang Mai into the unknown was one of the nicest experiences ive had in the north

    David & Mai - It was a pleasure to meet you, thank you for your hospitality. That was my first time eatting Kan Toke and i know it wont be my last, thank you. You have a beautiful home and motorbike and I look forward to meeting and riding with you again.

    Peter - Classic storytelling. Nice to meet you! Thank you for your kind words. I love to have fun and im glad you could laugh with us.

    Marco - Classic bike, let me know when you get the coffee maker onboard your bike. Then you honestly say you have it all! Nice to meet you, sorry you had to leave early. We will catch up and party again next time. Cant wait to see the photo from that big ball... a few more minutes in that thing and you would of seen the 2 bowls of cow soi i had 10 mins previously

    John - Great times, look forward to more early in the NY. Im hoping to make it your way early January.

    Good times with GT riders and the only surviving member of Iron Butt 2 - Tony in Chiang Mai and Golden Triangle. Im already planning my next trip up north again early January.

    Hope to see you all soon.

    Stay upright
    Trent
     

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