Chiang Mai – Phayao - Chiang Khong – Chiang Rai Return

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    End of wet season: 3 nights 4 days
    Dates: Friday 18th September – Tuesday 21st September 2010.

    WHY
    Time to pick off a couple more waterfalls “post wet season” & enjoy some fresh mountain air.

    RIDERS
    The Kiwi Cruiser on his BIG Vulcan & David Unk on Backdoorphil’s trusty F650.

    THE WAY
    1. Chiang Mai – Mae Kachan – Wang Nua – Phayao
    Routes 118 – 120 – 1
    2. Phayao – Dok Kham Thai – Chun – Chiang Kham – Chiang Khong
    Routes 1021 – 1020 - 1093 – 1155 – 1020
    3. Chiang Khong – Chiang Saen – Golden Triangle – Mae Sai – Chiang Rai
    Routes 1129 – 1290 – 1
    4. Chiang Rai – Wiang Pa Pao – Mae Kachan - Chiang Mai
    Routes 1 – 118

    HOW IT WENT

    DAY 1 CHIANG MAI – PHAYAO
    Got away from the super “late” & the Kiwi Cruiser was chaffing at the bit to ride with David Unk once again. (He was also hot & bothered hanging around waiting for me to get organized; & a more likely explanation.)

    1st Stop was the Mae Kachan Hot Saping.
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    2nd Stop was the temple on the hill overlooking the Hot Saping
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    3rd Stop. The Hot Saping surrounded by shops
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    4th Stop. Black Canyon at the Shell gas station in Mae Kachan.
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    of note in Mae Kachan is that the old PTT petrol station re-opened a couple of months ago & has taken most of the business in Mae Kachan, with its supporting 7-11, Amazon Café, plus a bigger Black Canyon & a few other fast food shops.
    I’ve tried both Black Canyon’s & the older one at the Shell still provides the best service in a quieter more restful environment.

    5th Stop. Wang Kaew waterfall, north of Wang Nua on R1303 & then R4015.
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    The Kiwi Cruiser enjoying the scenery & posing for GT Rider.
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    More bigger photos of Wang Kaew waterfall are here
    waterfalls-t8406.html#p50566

    It wasn't all a piece of cake getting to the falls for the KC
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    there was a small landslide just before the waterfall entry.

    But this was better
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    Much better.
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    Enjoying the good life I'd say!

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    Note the moon rising - approaching full moon!

    Tharntong Waterfall R120
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    and late in the day it was
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    We arrived in Phayao late then & were shocked to find no room at the inn; my favourite the Phu Thong or the new Win. Theyt were both FULL. Unbeknown to us ignorant farang there was a concert on in Phayao that night & accommodation was tight. So the Northern Lake it was.
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    and @ 500 baht a night we weren't complaining.
    See more Northern Lake photos & info here
    phayao-accommodation-t8545.html

    Phayao is famous for it's lake & fresh air. There are heaps of delightful restaurants to dine at by by the lake. And the Krua Thep Pub & Restaurant is the GT Rider favourite.
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    Don't miss it when you over night in Phayao. Good food, music & service.

    Departure time from Chiang Mai: 1.30PM
    Arrival time Phayao: 7PM
     
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  3. schackster

    schackster Ol'Timer

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    Ben , are your eyes open or closed ? hehe

    Looks like you had a big lunch and couldnt wait to get to the next hotel for some shuteye ...
     
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    DAY 2 PHAYAO - CHIANG KHAM - CHIANG KHONG

    An “early” David Unk start at 8.30AM & in search of some traditional coffee in Phayao’s market place.
    And not a great success because we could not find it.
    But my pen rai it was fun in the market & there’s no doubt by the number of humorous comments that they don’t get a lot of farang there.
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    we sought solace down by the lake to enjoy a stunning vista
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    but not breakfast
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    the GT Rider “Phayao breakfast” of the day. A cup of cappuccino & some “Crumble cookies.” One bite & they shattered.
    I still can’t find a decent breakfast in Phayao – do any of you regular Phayao overnighters have any suggestions?

    With breakfast out of the way it was time to check out Champathong waterfall. Champathong is about 25 kms North-West of Phayao “around the backside” of the lake. Except for No Admission – the park & waterfall is closed until the end of the month. Open on the 1st October.

    Wat Tum Nam Lom was a consolation with no waterfall
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    Also slightly North of town is Wat Phra That Chomthong, a famous Phayao temple on a hill overlooking town & the lake
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    what you need to know

    but the views are not exactly inspiring
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    a view down the steps

    The temple however is quite pretty
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    a place of worship, renowned amongst Buddhists in northern Thailand
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    Onward to Chiang Kham…..

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    Dok Kham Thai

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    for a quick noodle soup lunch

    Chiang Kham. Wat Chiang Baan
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    on the outskirts of Chiang Kham.

    Chiang Kham is centre of Tai Lue culture & learning.
    Wat Sop Waen has a weaving centre for displaying Tai Lue weaving
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    Wat San Mueng Ma is fantastic temple
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    with superb murals of Tai Lue history, from Sipsongpanna – Chiang Muan – Chiang Kham.
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    The murals are currently being repainted & in excellent condition
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    so it’s well worth checking out. In another 9 months they should all be complete. Drop in if you’re on your way to either Chiang Khong, or Nan.

    Wat Pra Nang Din is another famous temple just out of Chiang Kham
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    what you need yo know
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    The Kiwi Cruiser rested in the shade under a huge tree whilst I was snapping away
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    It was a big tree
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    Then time to move on......chasing rainbows & a pot of gold
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    but the pot of gold was gone by the time I got there.
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    The Kiwi Cruiser by Pu Sang waterfall
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    Chasing rainbows again
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    We lost a bit too much time chasing rainbows & that elusive pot gold, but were rewarded with a glorious sunset over R1155.
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    North Thailand is full of fantastic motorbike roads for touring & many of them are still good riding at night such is their brilliant condition. But sadly not R1155, with no lines on the road or guide posts beside the road. It took us 1 ¼ hrs riding in the dark on R1155 to reach R1020 - under construction.
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    R1020 at night is no fun either.

    We arrived at the Tammila in Chiang Khong after 8PM
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    and somewhat knackered. But it had been a good day.

    By 10.30Pm we’d taken over the Easy Restaurant for the night
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    (It’s awfully quiet in Chiang Khong at night.)

    The pork steak & salad was well earned & worth the long day in the saddle.
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    :thumbup:
     
  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    DAY 3 CHIANG KHONG - CHIANG SAEN - GOLDEN TRIANGLE - MAE SAI - CHIANG RAI

    Rise & shine 9AM & still early for a night owl like me..

    Houei Xai (Laos) & The Mekong from Tammila guesthouse
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    Breakfast & the Tammila & the bread is superb home made.
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    do yourself a favour & give it a try when in Chiang Khong.

    Downstream
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    and all is quiet on the Thai side where the new Mekong Friendship Bridge is being built.

    In the morning the market is a place of activity.
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    Chiang Khong is on the Mekong & they have some big fish for sale in the market.
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    You can also have breakfast in the market
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    and what a cool guy this gentleman was.

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    The Mekong river is high & makes for easy berthing at the Chiang Khong cargo port.
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    But it's still hard "yakka" loading bags of cement.
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    I wonder if these guys would be any good at rugby?

    The river beckoned & away from the cement dust.
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    Huai Sai Mann Viewpoint
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    But the air did not remain fresh & clean for long......
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    riding along we were soon enveloped in a cloud of corn husks!

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    It was almost surreal getting these photos in the corn cloud I can tell you & the Kiwi Cruiser lasted about a minute & quickly fled the scene.

    Cross over the mountain to the Chiang Saen side & you get wonderful views of the Mekong from Wat Saen Muang?
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    This temple was a new one for me & the views are stupendous. 1st gear only on the descent!

    Back on the lowland & the 'Khong at Chiang Saen
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    looking downstream.

    Tea 'n coffee break was at the Mong Doo Nam Cafe.
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    where David Learmonth :thumbup: patiently waited for us to turn up, a trifle behind schedule (at least I was).

    It was hot & the sun was most definitely out, providing super azure blue skies.
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    at the Golden Triangle.
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    The Mekong at the GT
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    looking downstream.

    After the GT R11290 across to Mae Sai is under reconstruction & best avoided if it is wet.
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    Doi Tung was to be our next plan of attack,
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    but the unwelcoming skies caused us to chicken out.

    So Chiang Rai it was for the night & not Mae Sai.

    Isn't North Thailand great with so many good towns for options to stay & all so close by.
    Nothing good is ever more than 1 1/12hrs maximum away. But in the top end 45 minutes is the norm. :thumbup:
     
  6. David Learmonth

    David Learmonth Ol'Timer

    Good to meet up with you both! Thanks for the sms message.
    I didn't even know that cafe was there - its very good & I'll go there again though ChiangSaen is not a place I go to very often.
    Yes, you were a little late but I blame that on you living here for so long that you now "work" to the Thai way of timekeeping! :happy1:
     
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    DAY 4 "HOME" CHIANG RAI - CHIANG MAI

    10.00AM Breakfast at Doi Chaang Coffee
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    and what you need to know about Doi Chaang Coffee
    http://www.doichaangcoffee.com/

    Some of you including Captain Slash (thanks for comments) might have thought it was all plain fair weather sailing with lots of sun & pretty blue skies with white puffies
    BUT a Mae Kachan cloud burst got me yet again....

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    and it was indeed VERY WET after the Mae Kachan Hot "Sapings" going up over the top.

    Departure time from Chiang Rai = 11AM
    Arrival time home in Chiang Mai = 2PM

    I hoped you've enjoyed the ride. The weather will soon be all azure blue skies & white puffies, so make sure you get out & ride plus write it up on GT Rider. :thumbup:
    :lol-sign:
     
  8. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ol'Timer

    Thanks, David! This was a well-earned and much needed break. I've been "constrained by circumstances" over recent months, from a severe back injury that's kept me imprisoned on the sofa and OFF THE BIKE for weeks on end. This ride was good and I don't have much more to add - other than a pointer down the page as to why the GT-Rider might be contemplating going up a shirt size... The night in Phayao was good - if you're checking out the waterfront, don't be put off by the less than up-market external daytime appearances of the Krua Thep restaurant / pub.

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    The lack of gloss is offset by the great music, excellent food, pretty waitresses and good service!

    On to Dok Kam Tai..
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    Thence to Chiang Kham - one of those places most people go straight through on their way to somewhere else... The wily old GT-Rider has a liking for icecreams on a hot day..
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    Which he quickly located on the menu at this cute little cafe in Chiang Kham...
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    The coffee shop is mid-town Chiang Kham, right next to the hotel...
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    A side-trip to Phu Sang National Park / Waterfall,
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    ...and a blast out 1155 in the early evening, with associated sunset;
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    A night at Chiang Khong, and at breakfast next morning, 2 lovely ladies came in selling lemon grass...
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    Followed by a ramble around town... down to the cargo port;
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    Even on a Chinese river freighter, some one has a garden..
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    Panoramas of the Mekong, on the way to Chiang Saen...
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    Those guys shucking corn were working in a snow storm of shredded leaves - mostly bereft of face masks!
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    So all in all, a brilliant multi-day excursion through the rural heartland.
     
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    CHIANG KHONG
    A new discovery..........A lovely old home & handicraft - museum gift shop.
    Run by the delightful Miss Jang

    Jub Jang Lim Shop
    113 Soi 1 Baan Wat Keaw,
    Wiang. Chiang Khong.

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    A classic old kitchen

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    Woven cloth

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    A selection of ethnic clothing

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    from North Thailand, Laos, Vietnam...

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    A shaman's costume from Vietnam

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    from Sapa Vietnam

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  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Just an update from 16 December 2012
    R1020 road works / improvements are now complete

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