Mae Sai & Return

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by Champasak, Feb 1, 2003.

  1. Champasak

    Champasak Ol'Timer

    Mae Sai & Return
    « on: Oct 29th, 2002, 4:11am » Quote Modify Remove

    THE VISA RUN. 27 - 28 OCTOBER.

    Route 118 & 1 - to Mae Sai & return.

    Got away from the super at 12.30 pm & the weather aint looking good - heavy overcast & generally black, not exactly encouraging for a nice ride.
    Unbelievably though it sort of held off, with intermittent showers all the way to Mae Sai.
    I got caught in heavy rain just south of Mae Suai for a few kms, & ducked into Charin Garden resort for the obligatory coffee & cheesecake, to escape the veay stuff.
    From Charin to Mae Sai the road was pretty much wet all the way, if not raining.

    With just one fuel stop & the Charin "cake shop" break I was in Mae Sai at 3.45 pm, not bad, considering.

    The shyte bit of road on route 118, just north of Doi Saket is not as bad as it was a few months ago, as there seems to be more good asphalt / less shyte, although tit could be that I am just getting used to it now! (If North Comets do the Wiang Pa Pao loop on the Cnx Bike Week, perhaps we can form a possy and lynch the contractor and highways dept. officials responsible for such totally shocking road works?)

    The route 118 "race track" in the undulating twisties just north of Mae Suai is still awesome, and a lot of it is just rolling on and off the throttle in top gear - about as good as it gets. You can't but help enjoy yourself in this section, and at the end of the twisties have a grin on your face a mile wide. I get a real buzz from it every time.

    The concrete 4-lane highway route 1 up to Mae Sai is a-ok. You only have to watch out for the police checkpoints for the old ya & illegals. If you're riding fast, the checkpoints can get obscured behind other vehicles, and you might need to slow down real fast. For the record they are just north an south of Mae Chan.

    The border's open at Mae Sai / Tachilek, and the new customs / immigration center right on the bridge approach is operational at last. They certainly seem to have streamlined the system and it seems easier and more organized crossing the bridge.

    In Tachilek I had my usual music CD splurge and the hot tip is Mr. Guitar shop has the best selection and display of 80 baht music Cds. If you're in Tachilek make sure you check out this shop. The pop / rock / jazz selection is very good. Now, if they can just improve the blues selection I'd be totally happy.

    After a lengthy chat my mate Chad at Chad ghouse I got away from Mae Sai at 6.30 pm.
    The ride into Chiang Rai town back down route 1 was not fun - dark, wet, and somewhat dangerous. What I noticed in the wet is that you suffer from poor visibility and cannot see the road surface clearly. There are 2 reasons for this (1) you get partially blinded a lot of the time by the oncoming headlights, often on high beam. This is complicated by the fact that the trees growing in the road divider cause the lights to flicker on and off all the time. Then the 2nd reason is the poor light reflection when the road is wet. The road surface is very dark black, with almost no light reflecting from your headlights. This is obvious when the road the road is dry, and the road is a light grey colour with good light reflection and nice visibility.

    Anyway I got into Chiang Rai town at 7.30 pm in heavy rain & checked into the old 200 baht favourite, the Boonbundan ghouse. After a break of a few years the place has hardly changed & still represents good value for money. That night I hit the R&B Bar, plus the Sabunnga Pub for some good music & food. Both places are worth checking out if you are in Chiang Rai for the night. Note that the good band at the Sabunnga finishes at midnight, and the one from 12 till closing is a bit more disco pop (diskette) orientated.

    Next morning it was still heavy overcast and basically wet or rainy most of the way home. Just south of Mae Suai, in the hills, I eventually had to put on the waterproofs for the run into Chiang Mai. This was a wise decision, as it did not stop raining until Doi Saket, 14 kms out of Cnx. I had an interesting ride in the wet with another young guy driving a Saha Panich pick up. He was getting away from me in the wet corners, but did not have the accelerating going up the steep sections. It must have taken me a good 15 kms to get past, when I lost him in some traffic. He was a good steady but fast and consistent driver, and that's a real pleasure to meet out on the road, where so many drivers tend to be erratic and inconsistent.

    After stopping only for fuel and to put the rain gear on, travel time from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai was 1 hr 55 mins, leaving at 8.25 am & arriving on the Chiang Mai super at 10.30 am.

    « Last Edit: Oct 29th, 2002, 4:20am by Davidfl »

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  3. Champasak

    Champasak Ol'Timer

    Re: Mae Sai & Return
    « Reply #1 on: Oct 29th, 2002, 8:54am » Quote Modify Remove

    As always, its a pleasure to read your road reports and general info/tips on the GT area. It appears from your post that the Burma border is now open. I assume you must have went there to satisfy the Thai visa requirements. Same thing for us here, when staying in Mexico. Have to leave the country for 24 hours, so we usually spend the weekend in Guatemala or Belize.

    Noted that you like the "blues". I have some pretty good stuff, old style and new. I can throw some cd's in my luggage, and if you want to, you could burn them onto CD-r's for your collection. Got some Stevie Ray Vaughn that I play a lot now. Let me know if you want me to bring a few.
    Still plan on getting up to Cnx the first week of Feb, and taking a GT tour. Do you have need for anthing in the way of tools/test equipment etc. for M/Cs? I have no problem with bringing over anything fairly lightweight. Again, let me know.
    Counting the days now until I'm on my way. Good luck and keep the updates coming to us poor unfortunate souls out here in the other world!


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