The above heading is taken from the GTR "Golden Triangle Loop" map's description of the road that hugs the Burmese border passing around Thailand's second highest mountain at 2285 metres, Doi Phahompok. I had sent Davidfl a PM indicating my interest in tackling this road to which he replied: "Rod That is quite a dicey one & I wonder if there is any road left after the earthquake? That man Captn Slash (Surprise) was up there recently http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mot...ns-Around-Fang Rossi was running his bike tours around there to give the customers a thrill, & I'm sure you will get one when you're out there. Brendan BJ was also up there http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mot...-Doi-Ang-Khang his photos are a bit more dramatic." Brendan BJ's report is tempting, totally enticing & covers the section that is the subject of this report. It seems Captain Slash was trying to attack the section that rises to Nor Lae. I've been up & down that section several times in the last year - its unquestionably the toughest road in Thailand! Other reports I scanned appeared to cover this particularly terrifying stretch to Nor Lae & not the loop around Doi Phahompok. David was right - its dicey & its thrilling!!! I took the road to Wieng Wai off the Fang bypass. You know you're on track when you ironically pass the 'good luck' Buddha overlooking the scenic, rice field fillled valley of Wieng Wai: Riding on to Mae Mao Dam is straight-forward if not signposted in english. The dam is a wonderful stretch of water. Looking for the checkpoint above the dam appearing on the GTR map I was pleased to stumble across such a checkpoint with relative ease. I rode up above the checkpoint to a viewpoint worthy of a 'beer stop': Absolutely magnificent despite thee seasonal haze. The only problem which I was to later discover is that if you are 'here' then you've gone the wrong way! Its still worth it though! This route actually loops around back towards the Nor Lae climb where the section from the checkpoint back to Nong Tao is currently being re-surfaced. Frustrated (read 'its not easy if you dont speak Thai') I was fortunate to stumble upon a Thai fellow with a Baja who, showing great foresight, had learnt english in speaking with the pastor in Fang. In the photo below he shows me the correct way - to the right & not to the left which leads to the checkpoint photographed above: The road offers spectacular views over the dam before climbing & climbing up around the face of Doi Phahompok. Its a scintilating ride, much along the ridges of extremely steep gorges & ravines affording tremendous views across to Burma. The road is in good shape reflecting I suppose the total lack of traffic it sees. You pass by several checkpoints one of which appears below (so that you know you're on the right track) & 3 times as many army camps set along the mountains overlooking Burma being watched in return by just as many camps on the Burmese side: I understand this has been the theatre of much fighting between Thai, Burmese & Shan State armies & its a wonder, really, that the authorities will let you pass at all. And then there's the added risk of the collapsed road as you'll see below. Arriving at the collapsed road brings you quickly to a halt. You dismount & wearily investigate the scene. The road appears to have been constructed by pushing road-fill into a space between 2 hills, then sealing it. To the east of the road a large crater like hole has formed which gives the impression that it would fill with rain & then seep downhill to the detriment of what little road foundation remains. The western side presents a spectacular drop just waiting for what little remains to come tumbling down. The road to the north of the collapse rises steeply &, during rain, the water must absolutely hammer down the surface attacking the collapsed section without mercy. The first hole on approaching from the south with the eastern side showing the start of the crater-like hole: The second hole in the road whilst heading north; you can get a feel to the left of the severe drop-off: You have to determine if you can find your way across, calculate if what remains of the road will support you & your bike & then have a liberal dose of insanity to proceed. I was just too keen to grab a shot so left the bike midway & rushed over to take 2 shots to prove the crossing, thinking all the time just how, well, brilliant it would be if I captured the D-Tracker catapulting down the hill in one final collapse! You can clearly see the steepness of the drop-off in the first shot whilst the second is taken from the north looking back. I rode on, feeling very pleased with myself though still concerned by the sanity of such a crossing. I wished I possessed the engeneering skills to roughly determine how much weight the crossing could truly take. The road on this the northern side of the collapse deteriorates in places into a series of potholes & associated lose gravel but its manageable. Suddenly you burst upon the most scenic of valleys where the buffalo were being readied for the ploughing ahead: In the whole valley all was constructed of natural, locally sourced materials. To witness the ploughing here would be special. I continued along down to the Pang San Khrua checkpoint dreaming of returning once the haze passed & the buffalo were ploughing. I headed right down the 1314 snapping the following shot of the road ahead from the hill-tribe village of Doi Laem. This is truly God's country.